• art of nursing;
  • ethics;
  • nurse–patient relationship;
  • nurses;
  • nursing home care;
  • palliative care

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to focus on the abilities needed to create the caring relation in palliative home care and to find ways to describe these abilities and skills from an esthetic perspective.

Background.  Nurses in Palliative home care have to create a functioning relationship between themselves the patient and the patient's next of kin, this puts special demands on the nurse. A number of abilities, such as creativity, intuition, empathy and self-knowledge are mentioned in literature related to the caring relation. Many nursing theorists have referred to the art and esthetic of nursing when trying to describe these abilities.

Methods.  Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with eight expert nurses in palliative home care. The transcribed interviews were analysed using qualitative content analyses.

Findings.  Three main categories where found: The will to do good, Knowledge and Perceptiveness. Subcategories that can be seen as abilities where found in the main categories knowledge and perceptiveness.

Conclusions.  The main categories can be seen as expressions for abilities, personal qualities and skills needed to create the caring relation in palliative home care. We found interesting connections between the three main categories and the concepts of esthetics, ethics and science. We also found that nurses develop in a way, i.e. similar to an artist.

Relevance to clinical practice.  The concepts brought forward in this paper could be used in clinical supervision and education as well as in clinical practice. If nurses think about the three aspects: Knowledge, the will to do good and perceptiveness, the chance for a positive relation between the nurse and the patient, and the patient's next of kin might increase. One could speculate that perceptiveness is a vital ability in order to achieve the expert level of nursing and that this perspective should be taken in consideration when recruiting nurses and in curriculum development.