Empathy appears to be an important concept in the interpersonal repertoire of the nurse. There are a number of definitions and models of empathy available in the literature. These definitions and models are explored and analysed using Walker & Avant's (1983) approach to concept analysis. A model case of the concept is described and the relevant defining attributes identified. A borderline case and an example of 'not the case' are also examined. This concept analysis may assist practitioners to develop the behavioural skills of empathy and to recognize and coach it in their students and colleagues.