Gratitude between patients and their families and health professionals: A scoping review

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Abstract

Aim:

To synthesize existing evidence regarding gratitude in health care relationships, with a specific focus on expressions of gratitude from patients and their families to health professionals, including their meaning and impact.

Background:

Studying expressions of gratitude by patients and their families within the scope of health care is an innovative way of identifying the most valuable elements of care.

Evaluation:

A scoping review of three data bases was conducted using the terms gratitude and health professionals (1984–2016). Data were extracted, analysed thematically and synthesized.

Key Issues:

A total of 32 publications were identified, around half being opinions or reflections. Thematic analysis resulted in the identification of three themes: the characteristics of expressions of gratitude, the focus of expressions of gratitude and the effect of gratitude on health professionals.

Conclusions:

Expressions of gratitude by patients and their families may have an important personal and professional effect on health professionals that is long lasting. A systematic study of its effect is needed.

Implications for Nursing Management:

Gratitude from patients and their families may contribute to motivation and retention among health professionals. Gratitude can be nurtured and is associated with a healthy work environment.

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