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.