Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring
Aaron Greer RN
Karen Benjamin RN, MSN
Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring
In this paper the subjects to explore are the background and major concepts of Jean Watson’s theory of caring. Major theory assumptions related to person, health, nursing, and environment will also be discussed as they apply to a nurse patient interaction. Examples of Watson’s carative factors used in the transpersonal relationship of this nurse patient interaction will be highlighted. Finally, personal reflections from the caring moment will be included. The reflections will highlight the things learned from the interaction by the nurse and how the caring is perceived by the patient or family members involved. Background and Major Concepts of Watson’s Theory
Jean Watson’s theory of human caring has been evolving over the last 30 years into what it is today. The major components of Watson’s theory are the carative factors, the transpersonal caring relationship, and the caring occasion/caring moment (Cara, 2003). According to Alligood (2010), Watson had the desire to bring meaning and focus to the emerging discipline of nursing as a distinct health profession with unique values, knowledge, practices, ethics, and mission. She thought that caring was central to nursing and focused her attention on ways to show that caring promotes growth and good health and can be used by all health care professionals. Watson sought to find a common meaning for the discipline of nursing that applied to all work settings (Sitzman, 2007). Early in her work Jean Watson noted 10 carative factors that can be identified and serve as a guide to practicing nursing and these eventually evolved into the 10 clinical caring caritas processes. The caring caritas processes are as follows: 1) Practice of loving kindness and equanimity within context of caring consciousness. 2) Being authentically present, and enabling and sustaining the deep belief system and subjective life world of self and the one-being-cared-for. 3) Cultivation of one’s own spiritual practices and transpersonal self, going beyond ego self, opening to others with sensitivity and compassion. 4) Developing and sustaining a helping trusting, authentic caring relationship. 5) Being present to, and supportive of, the expression of positive and negative feelings as a connection with deeper spirit of self and the one-being-cared-for. 6) Creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process; to engage in artistry of caring-healing practices. 7) Engaging in genuine teaching-learning experience that attends to unity of being and meaning, attempting to stay within others’ frames of reference. 8) Creating healing environment at all levels (physical as well as non-physical), subtle environment of energy and consciousness, whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are potentiated. 9) Assisting with basic needs, with an intentional caring consciousness, administering “human care essentials,” which potentiate alignment of mindbodyspirit, wholeness, and unity of being in all aspects of care; tending to both the embodied spirit and evolving spiritual emergence. 10) Opening and attending to spiritual mysterious and existential dimensions of one’s own life-death; soul care for self and the one-being-cared-for (Cara, 2003). Watson also focuses on the transpersonal caring relationship and the connections that exist in this relationship. In transpersonal caring the nurse consciously focuses on self and other within interpersonal exchanges in the present moment, while going beyond the moment and opening to new possibilities and values the existence of the others inner and outer perspectives (Sitzman, 2007). It is important to point out that the caring occasion/caring moment Watson describes can occur in any setting in which a patient and health care professional interact. According to Rafael (2000), Watson stresses the importance of the lived...
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