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Many fundamental values underpin the practice of nursing and, in an inaugural address to nurses and those in other disciplines, it seemed appropriate to explore values which have special relevance to nursing. If future research and practice are to exploit these values, they must be explained and understood. To that end the concept of holistic care, individualized care and practical care are discussed. Nursing research, which demonstrates their relevance to patients' needs during recovery, is then briefly reviewed. Throughout this paper differences in focus between nursing and medicine are highlighted in order to promote complementarity between the professions.