Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring
Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring Since its establishment as a profession more than a century ago, Nursing has been a source for numerous debates related to its course, methods and development of nursing knowledge. Many nursing definitions and theories have evolved over time. Furthermore it is in a constant process of being redefined. The purpose of this paper is an overview of Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring. This theory can be taken into account as one of the most philosophicaly complicated of existent nursing theories. The Theory of Human Caring, which also has been reffered to as the Theory of Transpersonal Caring, is middle – range explanatory theory.
Based on the literature gathered, Sharon, the nurse who was a part of my personal experience demonstrated an exceptional application of Jean Watson’s theory in her practice. According to Watson, health cannot be fully attained without caring and my experience was an example of an excellent holistic care in combination with competent technical nursing skills. Sharon attended to my post-operative state by providing me her presence and prompt responses to my non-verbal cues. Sharon’s caring impact made a huge difference to my emotional well being which resulted to an overall positive impression during my hospital stay. I felt empowered despite my non-verbal condition because I knew my concerns were being responded to and I felt secured while I was under her care. Watson believes that the theory of caring is an endorsement of professional nursing identity and what Sharon demonstrated throughout my care is what embodies the nursing profession. The theory could be used not only by nurses that are working in a hospital setting but also in places faced with oppression, natural disasters, poverty and injustice. Watson’s theory emphasizes the humanistic aspects of nursing in combination with scientific knowledge, so it can be also applied in research by finding ways on how to deliver nursing care efficiently and in means that is acceptable to the patient. It guides the nurse to go beyond the application of technical nursing skills and show more concern towards the subjective and deeper meaning of the patient towards his/her health situation. Integration of the theory in my future nursing practice will assist in managing my priorities in order to spend uninterrupted time with my patients and pay attention to their fears or concerns regarding their care. It will aid in removing my biases and accepting the patient as unique individual regardless of their physical appearance, socioeconomic status, emotional needs or level of compliance. Lastly, it will remind me that every patient needs my unconditional support, positivity and encouragement to facilitate a faster recovery of not only the physical aspect of their stay but also the emotional/spiritual as it is a factor that will improve their quality of life. The Theory of Human Caring can give language to what was before just thoughts and ideas regarding nursing. It guides nurses so that they can see, learn and express their own unique role in health care. Moreover, this theory shall bring the nurses to a realization that we need to transcend ourselves from a state that views nursing not as a job, but as a gratifying profession-a life-giving, life-receiving career for a lifetime of growth and learning.
Jean Watson’s universal concept of caring encompasses wider aspects of nursing, support, and treatment. It entails a number of philosophical and psychological principles, such individual-centered approach to a patient, nurses’ focus on clients’ needs, assessment of patients’ background, and application of knowledge and expertise to a healthcare environment. Additionally, caring is based on a health perspective rather than on treatment approaches. Therefore, curing should be a part of caring, but not vice versa. Using this model as a basis for a new framework, the new system of care has been developed and combined with collaborative approach to treatment. Specifically, this model focuses on successful methods of communication and transparent exchange of information, which contributes to sharing common goals and experience.Nurses should also be committed to science of healing from philosophical and scientific perspectives. At this point, Sitzman (2006) has singled out several important aspects of Watson’s theory that involve practicing kindness in terms of intentional caring consciousness, awareness of subjective life of individuals, cultivating individual’s spirituality and background, and engaging in teaching-learning experiences that premise on interconnectedness. Similar to Sitman (2007), Cara (2003) also examines the concept of caring as a pivotal factor in nursing profession and defines its major characteristics through carative factors that consider humanistic perspectives of nursing professional, as well as subjective experience combined with inner life world. Additionally, carative factors refer to altruistic systems of faith, value, and hope in which nurses should be sensitive to individuals and develop trustful relationships with patients. The role of nurses is confined to expressing positive regard and practice creative decision making during the caring process. Watson & Foster (2003) explores the Human Theory of Caring as an integral part of other theoretical and practical domains.
Definitely, on the other hand, nurse and patient interact in an environment that is controlled by forces outside of human understanding. If I can live that same experience again, I think I would provide more information to the family before death is approaching. Unfortunately, health care professionals do not provide enough teaching and guidance to patients and families about what to expect during this difficult time, leaving hospice nurses with a huge amount of information to teach at the end of life. This creates an extra burden for the family and nurse at a time when a vulnerable interaction is taking place. I will always remember Mr. A and his family because I could connect with them in a special way.
Cara, C. (2003). A pragmatic view of Jean Watson’s caring theory. International Journal For Human Caring, 7(3), 51-61.
Sitzman, K. (2007). Teaching-learning professional caring based on Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. International Journal for Human Caring, 11(4), 8-16.
Suliman, W. A., Welmann, E., Omer, T., & Thomas, L. (2009). Applying Watson’s Nursing Theory to Assess Patient Perceptions of Being Cared for in a Multicultural Environment. Journal Of Nursing Research (Taiwan Nurses Association), 17(4), 293-300.
Wade, G., & Kasper, N. (2006). Nursing students’ perceptions of instructor caring: an instrument based on Watson’s theory of transpersonal caring. Journal of Nursing Education, 45(5), 162-168.
Watson, J., & Foster, R. (2003). The Attending Nurse Caring Model: integrating theory, evidence and advanced caring–healing therapeutics for transforming professional practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12(3), 360-365.