Beyond empathy: expanding expressions of caring

J Adv Nurs. 1992 Jul;17(7):809-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.1992.tb02002.x.


In this paper, a model describing nurses' responses to patients who are suffering is presented. The nurse's level of engagement with the patient is affected by whether the caregiver is focused on him-/herself or on the sufferer (i.e. embodied with the patient) and whether the caregiver is responding reflexively or with a learned response. Four types of communication patterns are identified: engaged responses (first-level) are used in a connected relationship; when the nurse responses reflexively and is focused on him-/herself, the response is reflected; when the caregiver is patient-focused, a learned response is labelled a professional response; and a self-focused, learned response is labelled detached. Examples of each type of response are provided.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Empathy*
  • Humans
  • Learning
  • Models, Nursing*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations*
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Professional Practice / standards