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The care encounter: Pondering caring, honest communication and control


  • Anthony G Tuckett RN MA PhD

    1. Senior Clinical Lecturer, School of Nursing, The University of Queensland, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia, and Honorary Fellow, School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Queensland, Australia
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Anthony G. Tuckett, The University of Queensland, Ipswich Campus, 11 Salisbury Rd, Ipswich, QLD 4305, Australia. Email:


The proposition presented in this paper is that caring, underpinned by beneficence and non-maleficence, assumes that nurses will make determinations about another's best interests and act accordingly. With some emphasis on high-level (nursing home) aged care, it is the author's contention that nurses give priority to communication that controls the care encounter rather than acting in another's best interests. This view is supported in the literature, which suggests that nurses perceive honesty and information-sharing as less important in caring than do patients, and nurses’ perception that telling another the truth is harmful and, therefore, contravenes the duties of beneficence and non-maleficence.