Jenessa M. Kofford
June 4, 2012
Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring
Jean Watson researched and developed her Theory of Human Caring in 1979. Her theory has expanded since 1979, but the principles of the theory have remained the same. Watson created this theory to promote the heart of nursing, the central act of caring that is an integral part of the health care system; caring is the heart of nursing, the elemental act that personifies nursing. Caring is the key to the “essence” of nursing. It is a common human bond or connection that a nurse has with a patient. Caring is only effective when practiced interpersonally. Cultivating and nourishing a caring demeanor and approach in nursing is encouraged. Watson believes that caring is the signature of a true nurse’s identity. According to Health Systems (2011), Watson believes that Florence Nightingale appeared to agree in her statement, “It is the surgeon who saves a person’s life …….it is the nurse who helps this person live” (Overview of Jean Watson's Theory). According to Norred (2000), “Conventional medicine has become increasingly technological, centering on treatment to cure disease with medications and surgery. In contrast, the caring approaches of nursing focuses on conscious compassionate skills that help patients achieve a healthy state of mind, body, and spirit” (p. 838). Finding opportunities for quality nurse/patient teaching moments is an essential task in nursing. When given a chance, a nurse should spend uninterrupted time with patients. Making contact is not just attending to the physical needs of the patient; it is listening, holding a patient’s hand, showing the patient through actions that you are there to help. Many times when a nurse enters a patient’s room, there is an immediate expectation. With health care needs so complex today it is imperative that nurses take the time when possible to show patients we care about them. Nurses promote health through knowledge and intervention. It is essential that through the nurse’s attitude and competence that a patient feels nurtured, respected, and safe. Watson also believes these moments transform both the patient and the nurse because the shared moments are an integral part of the transpersonal relationship ("Watson Caring Science Institute," 2012). Jean Watson’s focus in research has been in the study of human caring and loss. Jean is a pioneer in nursing research. She dedicated her life to the study of caring for patients. Jean Watson obtained her many degrees at the University of Colorado; BSN in 1964, MS in 1966, and PhD in 1973. She became a distinguished professor of nursing, chairperson in caring science, and later Dean at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She has graduate degrees in mental-health and psychiatric nursing with a PhD in both psychology and counseling. Her dedication to research is admirable. She has received six additional honorary doctorate degrees ("Watson Caring Science Institute," 2012). This paper applies theory to nurse/patient interaction. Effective nurse/patient interaction requires caring and respect. The 10 carative factors are important in nurse/patient interactions. Nurses must put aside our own needs to attend to the needs of others, without losing a sense of self in the process. According to McNamara (1995); 1) Human-altruistic system of values.
2) Faith and hope.
3) Sensitivity to self and others.
4) Helping-trusting human relationships.
5) Expressing positive and negative feelings.
6) Create problem-solving caring process.
7) Transpersonal teaching-learning.
8) Supportive protective and/or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment. 9) Human needs assistance.
10) Existential/phenomenological/spiritual forces (p. 377-378)
It is often difficult to describe how Dr. Watson’s 10 carative factors are used in these transpersonal nurse/patient relationships. The...