Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring
University of Phoenix
Theories and Models of Nursing
Regina Marks, RN, MSN, PHN
March 01, 2010
Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring
The purpose of this paper is to describe Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Dr. Jean Watson is a highly distinguished individual in the field of nursing who advocates a philosophy and theory of human caring. She was born in West Virginia. She obtained her BSN in 1964, finished her MSN in 1966 and her PhD in 1973 at the University of Colorado. As a respected professional, being a distinguished Professor of Nursing and the Murchinson-Scoville chair in caring Science at the University of Colorado, School of Nursing and the founder of the Center for Human Caring in Colorado, her theory of human caring has gained respect and admiration throughout the world (Cara, 2003). Jean Watson’s caring theory has been used as a guide and model in caring and healing practices for the nursing profession throughout the world. Watson indicates that this is her initial attempt “to bring focus to nursing as an emerging discipline and distinct health profession with its own unique values, knowledge, and practices, with its own ethics and mission to society.” (Watson, 1990). Watson wants to stress that nursing is a special calling and not just a job in which one simply works for wages. She points out that those in the nursing profession need to be deeply committed to care, to love, and to serve. She compares nursing to teaching because both professions are life-giving and life- receiving careers which span to a lifetime (Foster, 2006). Watson’s caring philosophy or model requires one to “get it” to personally experience it. It is not just a theory that you have to read, study, learn about and research and you have it. One has to experiment doing it. One has to live it out in one’s personal and professional lives. Watson’s caring theory is a model intended to transform oneself and one’s nursing practice. For a nurse to acquire this philosophy, she needs congruence between the belief in caring and herself, her group, the system she is in, and the setting she works in. She also has to understand what it means to be human, caring, healing, and transforming. The nurse has to seek authentic connections and establish the caring-healing relationships with herself and others. Watson’s caring theory has evolved to become “caritas process.” Although the basic philosophy of caring still holds and is used, the original carative factors have transposed into “clinical caritas processes.” I believe this process is the extension and expansion of Watson’s original caring theory. Dr. Jean Watson’s caring theory is characterized by three major elements namely; the carative factors, the transpersonal relationship and the caring occasion or caring moment. The carative factors as distinguished from curative factors refer to those subjective elements that consider not only the physical condition but also affective aspect of the human being. Curative factors, on the other hand are those medical practices and cures that basically treat the physical condition of a patient. Carative factors include 10 basic tenets namely: Formation of a humanistic-altruistic system of values; Instillation of faith-hope; Cultivation of sensitivity to one’s self and others; Development of a helping-trusting, human caring relationship; Promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings; systematic use of a creative problem-solving process; Promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning; Provision for a supportive, protective, and/or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment; Assistance with gratification of human needs; Allowance for existential-phenomenological –spiritual forces (Watson, 1999). Transpersonal caring considers the...