This critical ethnography explores the concept of relationality from the perspective of nurses working in long term care. The existing literature on this concept, in this context, has mostly focussed on allied health professionals. Data was collected through field observations, solicited diaries, and semi-structured interviews conducted with seven nurses working in long term care. A theory of relational work was used to inform a reading of, and thinking through the research process, data collection and analysis. The findings from this study indicate that nurses privilege the relational in their work, seek out opportunities to cultivate family-like relationships with residents, and see hands-on care as an opportunity to strengthen feelings of connection with the people they care for and with. These findings have potential implications when considering appropriate skill-mix in long term care and for re-evaluating the meaning of nursing work to nurses who work in these settings.
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