At the end of the day the ability to connect with our patients boils down to how we’ve made them feel. For whatever the reason that brings someone to the hospital, doctor’s office or clinic there’s a pretty good chance the person isn’t feeling their best. The whole reason behind the medical field is to correct problems preventing someone from performing at their full ability. As practitioners of medicine, it is our responsibility to provide the best possible treatment for the individuals who have entrusted us with their health. However, there are barriers that can obstruct our ability to help those in need of our services. One of the biggest obstacles that we come up against preventing us from completing the tasks at hand, is ourselves.
How we interact with one another, the way we communicate and our ability to form relationships is completely subjective and on an individual basis. By being able to connect with others and form a relationship that goes beyond pill pushing and checking blood pressures, we as nurses can guarantee a better, more productive and meaningful experience for our patients. Joyce Travelbee’s Human-to-Human Relationships theory is an excellent model for us in doing just that.
Joyce Travelbee was a writer, an educator, with her focus in nursing in the psychiatric field. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in nursing education at Louisiana State University in 1956. She then completed her Master of Science from Yale in 1959. She started working on her doctoral program in 1973 but was unfortunately unable to complete the program due to her unexpected death at the age of 47 (Nursing Theories, 2013). Before her untimely death she published several articles and developed a well-known theory in nursing. She developed the Human-to-Human Relationships model of nursing first presented in her book, Interpersonal Aspects of Nursing, which was originally published in 1963.
Travelbee was passionate about nursing, and felt that it that there needed to be a humanistic revolution with a new focus on caring being a central foundation (Ressugan, 2010). Her theory of Human-to-Human relationships focuses on the interpersonal connection developed between two people. Her study focused on the nurse-patient aspect of the development, but gives an understanding to those relationships formed which are not on a clinical basis as well. The model is very descriptive and gives us a better understanding of how we develop a productive and effective connection between ourselves and our patients.
Travelbee viewed nursing as an interpersonal process between two human beings. One individual who is in need of help because of an illness and the other as someone who is capable of giving the assistance needed. The goal of the assistance is to help a human being cope with an illness, learn from the experience, find meaning in the experience, and grow from the experience (Meleis, 2011, p. 258). She explains that illness is the equivalent...