Therapeutic relationship: Is it still heart of nursing?

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Amir Mirhaghi *
Simin Sharafi
Ali Bazzi
Farzaneh Hasanzadeh
(*) Corresponding Author:
Amir Mirhaghi |


Relationship was introduced as an essential element of care since the beginning of theorizing in nursing. However therapeutic relationship has been conceptualized by different theorists, an integrated approach is not provided. This study aimed to perform a systematic review to explain the therapeutic relationship in the contemporary nursing practice. Electronic databases were searched from conception to October 2015 using keywords including therapeutic, relationship, communication, nurse, and patient. We used PRISMA guideline to report data. Original studies relevant to the therapeutic relationship were included. Exclusion criteria include abstracts that were irrelevant to the concept of study, grey literature and review and commentary articles. Disagreements between researchers were solved by consensus. Twenty studies were finally included into the review process. Data were organized into three categories including composition of therapeutic relationship, context of therapeutic relationship and confirmation of therapeutic relationship. The therapeutic relationship is composed of significant knowing and meaningful connecting with patients. Few studies confirmed applicability of therapeutic relationship in nursing practice. Therapeutic relationship ensures humanity to be preserved during nursing care and patients’ hospital stay; it faces with strong barriers such as nursing shortage. The nursing shortage seriously threatens the heart of nursing. Therapeutic relationship needs to be investigated further in order to be supported by evidence-based nursing in order to confirm the applicability of relationshipbased caring theories.

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