Jean Watson's Theory of Caring
Jean Watson's Theory of Caring
Dr. Jean Watson developed a theory of human caring that has become essential in nursing. Caring is at the core of nursing and is vital in providing positive patient outcomes. Watson’s theory of caring can be applied to patient situation and his or her environment. She based her theory upon human caring relationships and experiences of human life. She acknowledges a caring relationship and a caring environment preserve human dignity, wholeness, and integrity and to restore the person’s harmony it is the nurse’s responsibility to assist an individual to establish meaning in illness and suffering (Cara, 2003). Nurses have a responsibility to evaluate the patient’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Watson developed her theory in 1979 and revised it in 1985 and 1988. The majority of the revisions was made to her carative factors that she believes is the concept for the core of nursing (Cara, 2003, p. 52). According to Sulimann, Welmann, Omer, and Thomas, (2009), Watson’s theory suggests that, “Caring is a different way of being human, present, attentive, conscious, and intentional. Nursing is centered on helping the patient achieve a higher degree of harmony within mind, body, and soul, and this harmony is achieved through caring transactions involving a transpersonal caring relationship” (p. 294). The major parts of Watson’s theory are the carative factors, the transpersonal caring relationship, and the caring occasion caring moment (Cara, 2003, p. 51). Watson has 10 carative factors, and she uses the word carative to contrast the word curative used in conventional medicine (Cara, 2003, p. 52). Watson believed that caring and curing were independent of each other (Bailey, 2009, p. 18). Cara (2003) indicates carative factors attempt to, “Honor the human dimensions of nursing’s work and the inner life world and subjective experiences of the people we serve (p. 52). The 10 carative factors are the formation of a humanistic-altruistic value system, instillation of faith and hope, cultivation of sensitivity to self and others, development of helping-trusting relationships, expression of positive and negative feelings, creative problem-solving caring process, promotion of transpersonal teaching and learning, supportive, protective, and corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment, assistance with human needs, and allowance for existential-phenomenological-spiritual forces (Cohen, 1991, p. 906). Looking at these carative factors, I can see how Watson sought to address aspects of the patient to make it more of a holistic approach with the concept of caring at the core. These carative factors was used by Watson to develop her transpersonal caring relationship, this relationship describes how the nurse goes beyond an objective assessment, showing concern toward the person’s subjective and deeper meaning regarding his or her own health care situation (Cara, 2003, p. 53). The nurse’s caring consciousness becomes essential to connect and establish a relationship with the cared-for to promote health and healing. The nurse has a moral commitment to the patient to protect and enhance his or her human dignity as well as his or her deeper self. One of the carative factors of developing a trusting relationship has to be in a place for a transpersonal relationship to occur. In the transpersonal relationship, a mutual instilling of faith and hope are present as described in one of Watson’s carative factors. Developing a transpersonal relationship with the patient’s has to involve a cultivation of sensitivity toward the patient’s and being able to support and protect him or her in the environment is essential for this kind of relationship to occur. I do not believe in the ability with patient care to have a transpersonal relationship with patients if the nurse cannot first use the carative factors with patients. Watson...
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