Jean Watson

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Jean Watson's Caring Theory
Evelyn Corda
Saint Joseph's College

February 02, 2013

Jean Watson's Caring Theory

Changes in health care delivery have increased nursing workloads and responsibility. Patients have increased acuity levels and nurse patient ratios have increased partly due to the shortage of professional nurses. There has been a shift from the medical model to a patient centered or family centered care model. This shift has been influenced by hospitals needs to increase patient satisfaction and patient safety. The goal is to involve patients and families in the decision making of all aspects of care and to empower patients. This requires communication and collaboration with all disciplines and embodies Watson’s caring theory and the concepts of Holistic nursing and wholeness.

1. What concepts and definitions does this nurse theorist describe that support a holistic paradigm? Holistic health has been defined as the health and harmony of the body, mind, and spirit that create a higher, richer state of health that would be achieved with attention to just one part instead of health directed at achieving holism (Eliopoulos, 2010). Watson believes the person has three elements which are mind, body, and soul. Her theory is about maintaining harmony in the mind, body and soul so that the person is congruent with the “real self” (Watson, 2009). The following components of Jean Watsons Caring Theory support the holistic nursing paradigm: She believes care of emotional and spiritual needs should be meshed with clinical care. Her theory promotes a transpersonal caring relationship where the nurse and patient mutually search for meaning and wholeness. Watson caring theory acknowledges the importance of caring moments where uninterrupted time is spent with the patient to make a human to human connection. 2. Are the hypotheses of the selected theories consonant with wholeness? The definition of wholeness related to nursing concepts basically states we need to treat the whole patient, body, soul and mind. When all parts are in harmony the effect is greater than just addressing one part. I take that to mean if a patient is ill we can not only treat the illness. To achieve wholeness we need to address the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and how that relates to self, family and environment. Watson Theory follows ten primary carative factors which are consonant with wholeness including the provision for a supportive, protective, and corrective mental, physical, socio-cultural and spiritual environment. This addresses the concept of holism in that a richer state of health can exist when all components of self are involved in care. Watson’s theory revisits Nightingales concept of environment and discusses how the environment can expand a person consciousness and promote wholeness and healing (Fitzpatrick &Whall, 2005). 3. Are there elements of theory that are prescriptive? There are elements of the Caring theory that go back to Florence Nightingales theory of the environmental influences on outcomes. The theory has been criticized for abstract and vague language. Watson borrowed components form philosophy which makes it difficult for some people to understand her work. She also referenced metaphysical and epistemological concepts from psychology and philosophy that make it difficult for total comprehension of her theory (Fitzpatrick &Whall, 2005). 4. Does the theorist draw on quantum science and/or systems theory to develop her theory? Watson’s theory draws from many disciplines in science and also from arts. By adopting a caring model nursing can get a way for the medical and behavioral models. This approach lets nurse practice the art of nursing and have greater appreciation for the profession of nursing. 5. In Nightingales case how does her nursing philosophy convey the elements of systems theory? Systems theory is related to holistic or holism in its belief that the system...
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