This nursing best practice guideline will address the therapeutic relationship and its central importance to nursing practice. Effective nursing practice is dependent on an effective therapeutic relationship between the nurse and the client. The guideline addresses the qualities and capacities of an effective therapeutic relationship, the state of knowledge, and the knowledge needed to be effective in a therapeutic relationship. To implement a therapeutic relationship successfully, an organization’s characteristics and workplace values must be supportive and in place (see Recommendations 5 to 14). The recommendations in this guideline, therefore, focus on practice, education, organization and policy.
The therapeutic relationship is central to all nursing practice. For example, in mental health and community nursing, the therapeutic relationship may be the primary intervention to promote awareness and growth and/or to work through difficulties. In other areas of nursing practice, for example ICU, the therapeutic relationship may be more in the background, serving as the intervention through which comfort, support, and provision of care are facilitated. Regardless off setting and clinical situation, the therapeutic relationship always needs to be established.