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Health Sciences

What is Relational Nursing? Joe’s story (part 1 of 3)

April 23, 2012

Our new curriculum is founded on the relational approach. But what exactly is this?

Joe, age 55, has Type 1 diabetes and is in hospital after having suffered an insulin coma. His primary nurse, Suzette, practices relational nursing. What will this mean for Joe?

Suzette begins by seeking to learn about Joe – not only his medical condition, but also who he is as a unique person, what concerns him most, and what this hospitalization means for him. In relational practice, the nurse seeks to know who the particular person/family is in this particular situation at this moment in time, and what is meaningful to them.

Suzette is authentic and responsive in her interactions with Joe, and takes initiative to make a connection with him. This means that whenever she is in the room to do a nursing task, she is at the same time interacting with Joe to get to know him, what he is experiencing, and what he needs. She invites Joe and his family to be partners in Joe’s recovery by providing information and support. She also collaborates with the interdisciplinary health team. Partnership is the heart of relational practice.