Relationship-based nursing practice: Transitioning to a new care delivery model in maternity units

Cathleen C. Hedges, Amy Nichols, Lourdes Filoteo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


In a fast-paced, high-volume maternity unit, the goal for nursing care delivery is to provide care that is perceived by patients as personal and caring, is rewarding to nurses, and is in an environment of maximum patient safety. A care delivery model is the organizing structure that can facilitate this goal. Relationship-Based Nursing Practice is a care delivery model designed to transition nursing care from task-focused to relationship-based. A shared vision of the registered nurse as a professional member of the healthcare team, working in an optimally safe and family-centered care environment, inspired the model design. Three relationships-the nurse with the patient, the nurse with colleagues, and the nurse with self-provided the foundation for the creation of guiding principles. Guiding principles were operationalized to support 1 or more of the 3 relationships, contribute to improved patient safety, and actualize the role of the professional registered nurse, in daily patient care. Outcomes include improvement in patient safety, increased patient satisfaction, and perception of improved teamwork among nurses. The process for sustainability and ongoing evaluation of the model is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • briefing-debriefing
  • care delivery model
  • handoff communication
  • nurse handoff
  • nurse-patient relations
  • relationship-based
  • team attitude

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Critical Care
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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