Concepts in Professional Nursing
Ms. Joyce Rogers, RN MSN
Who is Jean Watson and what is her contribution to the nursing profession? Jean Watson is a Distinguished Professor of Nursing and holds the Murchinson-Scoville Endowed Chair in Caring Science at the University of Colorado, Denver College of Nursing and Anschutz Medical Center Campus. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and psychiatric-mental health nursing, and a Ph.D. in educational psychology and counseling. She has received several national and international honors and honorary doctoral degrees. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and is Founder and Director of the Watson Caring Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado (www.watsoncaringscience.org a non-profit foundation established to further the work of Caring Science in the world. Dr. Watson has published numerous works on her philosophy and theory of human caring. Her theory is used to guide transformative models of caring and healing practices around the world (Cara 2003). This paper will explore the elements of Jean Watson’s theory of caring. It will explain how her theory can be applied in the clinical setting, and how it has impacted the nursing profession and influenced healthcare. Nurses define caring in various ways depending on their level of education, professional experience, personal values and professional focus. The concept of caring is central to the nursing profession. As Jean Watson proposed, regardless of their specialty area, nurses have awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings and share the common goal in supporting healing from both scientific and philosophical perspectives. This goal is referred to as the caring-healing consciousness (Sitzman, 2007 p. 9). Jean Watson’s theory of Transpersonal Caring (or Theory of Human Caring) was originally developed in 1979 but has continued to evolve over the years. The three major conceptual elements are: 1) transpersonal caring relationships 2) ten carative factors 3) caring occasion/caring moment. Through a transpersonal caring relationship, nurses help patients to achieve a higher degree of harmony within the mind, body, and soul. Transpersonal reaches beyond one’s ego and the present moment, and allows one to connect spiritually and promote patient comfort and healing. The transpersonal caring relationship depends on the nurse’s moral commitment in protecting human dignity and the nurse’s caring consciousness in preserving and honoring the embodied spirit. This caring consciousness is essential for the mutual relationship between nurse and patient (Cara 2003). “The goal of a transpersonal caring relationship corresponds to protecting, enhancing, and preserving the person’s dignity, humanity, wholeness, and inner harmony” (Cara, 2003, p. 53). The ten carative factors developed by Watson in 1979 serve as a guide for the core of nursing. These factors later evolved into ten clinical “caritas” (meaning to cherish and give special loving attention) processes. While acknowledging medicine’s curative factors and nursing’s legitimate place in that process, Watson’s theory identifies nursing’s carative orientation in healthcare (Sitzman, 2007 p. 9). The ten carative factors are comprised of ten elements:
* Formation of a Humanistic-altruistic system of values
* Instillation of faith-hope
* Cultivation of sensitivity to self and others
* Development of a helping-trusting, human caring relationship * Promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings and emotions * Creative, individualized problem-solving caring process * Promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning
* Provision for a supportive, protective, and/or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environments * Assistance with gratification of basic human needs...