Deborah D. Garbee, Ph.D., APRN, BC

Relationship Model
Travelbee extended the
interpersonal relationship
theories of:
Unique Focus
 With emphasis on Caring
Travelbee’s theory stresses:
 Empathy
 Sympathy
 Rapport
 The Emotional Aspects of Nursing
The Relationship
 A “mutually significant meaningful
relationship” (p. 125) through which the
nursing needs of the individual (or family
member) are met (Travelbee, 1966)
 Phases of the Relationship
 Original Encounter
 Emerging Identities
 Empathy
 Sympathy
 Rapport
 To Travelbee Empathy is a verb, an action word that is:
 the nurses most valuable method of communicating with patients
 ‘operationalzed’ by the nurse within the nurse-patient relationship
 To empathize is to gain an intellectual understanding of
the mental world and psychological state of another
(Travelbee, 1966)
 HOW:
 Empathetic receivers (of communication form others):
Listen to the message
Use own experiences to feel their way into the sender’s experience
Know their own thoughts about their experience
Use their own thoughts and experiences to become sensitive to the
what the sender is telling them
 Know which boundaries exist between their experiences and
thoughts and those of the sender
 Make a conscious choice to stay with the sender and help them to
bear their experience (Donna, 1979, p. 50)
“…A process wherein an individual is able
to comprehend the distress of another,
be moved or touched by another’s
distress, and desires to alleviate the
cause. One ‘shares’ in the feelings of
another and experiences compassion”.
(Travelbee, 1966, p. 146)
 “The establishment of a nurse-patient relationship,
and the experience that is rapport is the terminus of
all nursing endeavor. Rapport is that which is
experienced when nurse and patent has progressed
through the four interlocking phases preceding
rapport and the establishment of a nurse-patient
relationship, namely:
The original encounter
2. Emerging identities
3. Empathy
Sympathy” (Travelbee, 1966, p. 155)
Travelbee’s View of Nursing
 An interpersonal process between two
 One needs assistance because of an illness
 The other able to give needed assistance
 The Goal of the assistance is to facilitate the
individual to:
Cope with the illness situation
Find meaning in the experience
Grow from the experience
(Travelbee, 1966)
Domain Concepts of Travelbee’s
Theory Defined
 Nursing
 “An interpersonal process whereby the professional nurse… assists an individual… to
prevent or cope with… illness and suffering and… find meaning in these experiences”
(Travelbee, 1966, pp. 5-6).
 Person
 ...“a unique irreplaceable individual-a one-time being in the world-like yet unlike any
person who has ever lived or ever will live”(Travelbee, 1966, p. 26).
 Health
 “…the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard… without distinction” (Travelbee,
1966, p.7).
 “…an individually defined state of well-being in accord with self-appraisal of physicalemotional-spiritual status” (Travelbee, 1971, p.9).
 Environment
 Not defined
Other Major Concepts of
Travelbee’s Theory
 Communication
 Nurse-Patient Relationship
 Human-to-Human Relationship
 Therapeutic Self
 Perception
 Suffering
 Hope
 Transcend Self
 Self-Actualization
A Propositions of
Travelbee’s Theory
“The Nurse’s perception of the
patient is a major factor in
determining the quality and
quantity of nursing care… rendered
to each Patient” (Travelbee, 1966, p. 34).
A Proposition of
Travelbee’s Theory
“The quality of nursing care given
is determined by the nurse’s
beliefs about illness, suffering,
and death” (Travelbee, 1966, p. 55).
A Proposition of
Travelbee’s Theory
“The spiritual values… [and] philosophical
beliefs [of nurses] about illness and suffering
will determine the extent to which they will
be able to help patients find meaning (or no
meaning)in these situations”
(Travelbee, 1966, p. 55).
Travelbee Life Influences
 Education
 Honors
 Experience
 Personal
Travelbee’s Education
 Crossman School (Elementary) 1939
 Joseph Kohn High School 1943
 Charity Hospital School of Nursing 1946
 LSU (B.S.N. Ed.) 1956
 Yale University (M.S.N.) 1959
 Doctoral program enrollment (Florida, 1973)
Travelbee’s Honors
 Kappa Delta Pi
 Who’s Who in American Education
Leaders in Science Edition
 Teacher of the Year
University of Mississippi SON 1968
 Outstanding Alumna Award
Louisiana State University 1970
Travelbee’s Experience
 LSUMC SON Director of Graduate Education 1973
 LSUMC SON 1971 – 1973
 Hotel Dieu SON Project Director 1969 – 1971
 University of Mississippi SON 1966-1969
 New York University 1965-1966
 LSU SON 1956-1965
 Charity Hospital SON 1954-1956
 De Paul Hospital Affiliate School 1952-1954
Travelbee Personal
 Order of Diacalced
Carmelites Secular
 Poetry
Order of Diacalced Carmelites
 16th Century Reform of
Carmalite Nuns
 Reestablish Carmelite
Objectives & Disciplines
 St. Teresa of Avila
 St. John of the Cross
 Known as Contemplative
Carmelites and later Discalced
Order of Diacalced Carmelites Secular
 Pervasive Ideas
 1. The Secular Rule of Life, Plan for
Spiritual Growth
 2. Vocation & Mission
 Evangelical Life & Contemplative Prayer
 Apostolic & Contemplative Witness
 3. Contemplative Prayer
 Uplifting
 Sounds
 New Orleans
 The Dreamer
 Sorrow
 Magnolia
 The wind is White
 So?
 Mental Health Patients
 Hurry
 Inspiration
 Sandra
 Burnt Sienna
 Untitled
 Catholic University of America (1967). Catholic
Encyclopedia. NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Donna, M.K., (1979). Intervention in psychiatric
nursing (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.
LSU Personnel Records (1971). Biographical Data
Form. New Orleans: LSU.
Speziale, H.J. & Carpenter, D.R. (2007). Qualitative
Research in Nursing Advancing the Humanistic
Imperative. (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott.
Travelbee, J. (n.d.) Poetry. New Orleans.
Travelbee, J. (1966). Interpersonal aspects of
nursing. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.
Travelbee, J. (1971). Interpersonal aspects of
nursing (2nd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.

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