Establishing positive and trusting therapeutic relationships with patients has long been recognised as an essential component of nursing practice and is important for effective care. There are various challenges in clinical practice that make it increasingly difficult to deliver effective care centred on such relationships. Understanding and addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure a positive experience of care for patients, families, carers and nurses. This article outlines how nurses can use a framework to develop therapeutic relationships with patients and use the best available evidence to deliver effective care. It also explores the challenges in developing effective therapeutic relationships with patients at the healthcare system level, and considers how these challenges can be addressed.