Caring Theory

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Swanson’s Middle Range Nursing Theory of Caring
By: Shari Semelroth RN, BSN
Mennonite College of Nursing

Abstract
Do we honestly make an effort to improve the environment, care, medical treatment, and interactions with those patients who are suffering a loss? Do we adequately provide the care that they need? These questions are answered in Swanson’s Middle Range Theory of Caring. We examine the five caring processes and their applications to one’s daily nursing routines. Many healthcare organizations have adopted the caring theory as their model of care for their philosophy and principles for nursing. Caring theory has also been the focus of many research articles that have concluded that caring is a natural part of nursing and it is based on evidence. All healthcare professionals should be able to achieve the concepts into their daily nursing profession. We care for patients, and what we are currently doing we can always switch to improve for more positive interactions.

What is caring and why is it essential to nursing? What are the perceptions of caregivers, care receivers, and care observers regarding caring? A nurturing way of relating to a valued other person toward whom one has a personal sense of commitment and responsibility. Nursing has traditionally been concerned not only with the caring needs of individuals, but also with caring as a value or principle for nursing action. (Swanson, 1991) The underlying structure of the nursing philosophical system or grand theory of nursing as caring is created by the assumptions of the theory and their interrelationships. (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2001) These assumptions develop the most fundamental belief that all persons are caring by virtue of their humanness, that to be human is to be caring. A deep understanding of the practical meaning of that foundational assumptions also organize the theory that personhood is living grounded in caring; that caring is lived moment to moment in relationships with caring others, and that nursing as a discipline and profession of caring is orientated not towards diagnosing needs nor compensating for deficiencies, but as its focus, nurturing persons living caring and growing in caring. (Boykin, 2003) Swanson suggests that a universal definition or conceptualization of caring does not exist within and outside of nursing as to the role of caring in personal and professional relationships. (Swanson, 1991) Kristen Swanson is a native of Rhode Island, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Rhode Island in 1975. She went on to earn her master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978 and PhD in nursing from the University of Colorado. Swanson worked as a Registered Nurse at the University of Massachusetts, as she was drawn to that institution because the founding nursing administration clearly articulated a vision for professional nursing practice and actively worked with nurses to apply these ideas while working with clients. (Swanson, 1993) As a novice nurse she wanted to become a knowledgeable and technically skillful practitioner with an ultimate goal of teaching these skills to others. She pursued graduate studies. While studying she worked as a clinical instructor on a med surgical unit. Swanson studied psychosocial nursing with an emphasis on exploring the concepts of loss, stress, coping, interpersonal relationships, persons, environment and caring. As a doctoral student, she was able to experience hands on health promotion activity. She was involved in a cesarean birth support group. One historical meeting for her was on miscarriage. Swanson noticed that the discussion was based by the physician more on the pathophysiology and health problems of miscarriage. The women of the group were interested in discussing their personal experiences with pregnancy loss. (Alligood & Tomey, 2010) From that day forth she decided to learn more about the human experience. Caring and miscarriage...
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