Caring Theory

Topics: Nursing, Nursing theory, Nurse Pages: 7 (1775 words) Published: February 5, 2013
Running head: NURSING AS CARING1

Boykin and Schoenhofer: Theory of Nursing as Caring



The theory of Nursing as Caring was developed by Anne Boykin and Sarvina Schoenhofer. In the late 1980’s, the two were involved in research involving elements of caring and the practical implications of caring elements when they discovered there was little to no research or literature in this area. Caring and its varying definitions made it difficult to define in research terms. What caring means, how it is demonstrated, how it is measured, and how it is received are complex multi-dimensional concepts. Caring is the central and unifying focus of the nursing profession (Welch & Leininger, 2002). Through their work, Boykin and Schoenhofer created a grand nursing theory that is intended to be used as a framework to guide practice at all levels of nursing. Both women have similar backgrounds. They are from large families. Boykin from Wisconsin was the eldest of six, and Schoenhofer from Kansas was one of nine children. Both theorists have credited their close knit families and small town upbringings as significant determinants in their overall personhood and character development. Both served in various academic positions throughout their careers. Together and individually they have published books, articles, and research projects surrounding the Nursing as Caring theory.


The Nursing as Caring theory is designed around six key assumptions:

1. Persons are caring by virtue of their humanness.

2. Persons live their caring moment to moment.

3. Persons are whole or complete in the moment.

4. Personhood is living life grounded in caring.


5. Personhood is enhanced through participating in nurturing relationships with caring others.

6. Nursing is both a discipline and a profession (Boykin &Schoenhofer, 2001).

Boykin and Schoenhofer intended for the theory to show that caring is an element of being human, that all humans are caring by nature, and caring is a growth process. Developing the full potential of expressing caring is an ideal and for practical purposes, is a lifelong process (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 1993). Both espouse that caring enhances personhood for all of the participants in the relationship. Enhanced personhood directly links to the theory by specifying that the nursing situation is a shared lived experience in which the caring between the nurse and the ones nursed enhances personhood ( Boykin &Schoenhofer, 2001). The theory asks nurses to embrace caring not simply as a task or professional obligation, but as the focus of their own being and nursing identity ( Brunton & Beaman, 2000). This identity can only be created in concert with developing a relationship with the nursed. The nurse endeavors to know the other as a caring person and seeks to understand how that person might be sustained, supported, and strengthened in their unique process of living caring and growing caring (Boykin and Schoenhofer, 1993).

Aside from the relationship between the one being nursed, the nurse’s relationship with self is critical to the implementation and practicality of the theory. In order to be fully utilized, the nurse needs to recognize and demonstrate caring at each moment. For this to happen, the nurse must make a commitment to recognizing and actualizing caring. The nurse must believe that caring has real meaning and value to each individual and relationship .A distinctiveness of NP practice resides in the tendency to dialogue with, and really come to know, their patients (the


nursed) and then tailor treatment regimens, including appropriate teaching and health promotion activities that match the patient preferences and lifestyle...
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