[Caring: a fundamental concept in nursing. A review of literature].
ABSTRACT Nursing is a profession based on the interaction with others therefore caring appears as one of its central concepts. The research around the concept is undervalued by the importance given to the technical and instrumental behaviours in nursing practice. A review of literature was undertaken on 20 articles published on a Portuguese nursing journal over ten years (1995-2005). The main purpose was to identify the conceptualizations underlying the concept of caring present in those articles. Caring appears to be inherent to nursing practice and arises from respect and concern for the patient. It's a skill that evolves with experience and, above all, with the reflection about that experience. Caring implies an intentional activity, and attitudes and feelings that shape the professional interaction established between nurse and patient. We consider that research around the concept of caring is important in order to reveal its patterns and processes and to enhance the knowledge about the caring phenomenon.