Purpose: To review assumptions inherent in the nurse-patient relationship as historically described and practiced, and to propose an alternate framework for nurse-patient interaction that is congruent with current health care environments.
Organizing Constructs: The theory of human relatedness and the nurse-patient relationship.
Methods: Analysis of assumptions inherent in the current theoretical and empirical literature on nurse-patient relationships and evidence from observation of nurses engaged in practice. Proposal and discussion of the theory of human relatedness as an alternative model for conceptualizing nurse-patient relationships.
Conclusions: The theory of human relatedness framework provides new insights and opportunities for assessment, intervention, and research within the context of nurse-patient relationships.