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Keywords:

  • nurse-patient relationship;
  • theory of human relatedness

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.