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Nurs Ethics. 2002 May;9(3):291-300.

'Tender loving care' as a relational ethic in nursing practice.

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  • 1Emmanuel Institute, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK.


In the West, the term 'tender, loving care' (TLC) has traditionally been used as a defining term that characterizes nursing. When this expression informs practice, it can comfort the human spirit at times of fear and vulnerability. Such notions offer meaning and resonance to the 'lived experience' of giving and receiving care. This suggests that, in a nursing context, TLC is rooted firmly in relationship, that is, the dynamic that exists between carer and cared for. Despite this emphasis on relationship, there is a scarcity of literature that draws a connection between TLC and the moral challenge that is so much a part of human interaction. In this article we will address this deficit and present a narrative that places TLC at the centre of moral engagement between nurse and patient; in essence, we offer an alternative means of viewing relational ethics.

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