Christie M. Ishman RN
NUR/403 Theories and Models of Nursing Practice
April 4, 2011
Stephanie Merck, APRN, MS, CS
Background of theory
The caring theorist, Jean Watson, first developed her theory and published the philosophy and science of caring in 1979 (Current Nursing, 2011). She describes nursing as a process of caring not curing, and that it is effectively practiced and demonstrated interpersonally only. Her theory also “suggests that caring is a different way of being human, present, attentive, conscious, and intentional” (Wafika, Welmann, Omer, & Thomas, December 2009, p. 293). Watson believed that “caring is central to nursing and the unifying focus for [our] practice (Blais, Hayes, Kozier, & Erb, 2006, p. 107). She developed ten carative factors, the first three being philosophically based, around the main concepts of person, health, environment, and nursing. My caring moment
Whenever I think about nursing, caring and the fundamental reasons I became a nurse, I always think of “Gary.” I was in nursing school and working as a nurse’s aid in a nursing home. I tried daily to apply the new knowledge I was learning to my interactions with the residents. Gary was very tall, had suffered a stroke, and a total care resident who had limited use of his arms and legs, and unable to speak. He had crystal blue eyes that seemed to speak for him. Every time I took care of Gary I always talked to him like there was nothing wrong with him. He would smile and try to help me more than any other aids. One particular afternoon I was sitting at the nurses’ station and could not do any lifting because of an injury, Gary was sitting there in front of me. He started to tap his fingers intently staring at me with those eyes. I looked at him and said “Hi” to him. The nurses told him to stop the tapping as they seemed irritated by it. I touched his hand after the third request to stop, he just kept tapping. I was told to take him away from the desk and when I came around the desk I finally saw what was wrong. He had slid down so far in his wheelchair he was close to falling out. I alerted the nurse that he needed to be pulled up in his chair, in which she replied that it would have to wait until another aid came to help her. I offered to help because he would be on the floor by then. She argued with me for a couple of quick minutes until I decided to do it myself. At that time she reluctantly decided to assist me. I smiled, pinched his cheek, and went back to my seat behind the nurses’ desk. He still watched me and I told him as I smiled and winked at him that I was sorry it took me so long to answer him. He touched my hand and smiled as a tear rolled down his face. Watson’s major concepts
Person, health, environment, and nursing have been the four central major concepts of Watson’s theory and can be applied in every interpersonal human caring moment. She defines person as a living three sphered being of mind, body, and soul (Watson, 1999) who needs to be nurtured, respected, understood, and assisted (Current Nursing, 2011). This not only means Gary, but also myself as the healthcare provider. I need to share my genuine self with my patients as a way to form a helping trusting relationship. My job was to assist Gary in achieving a higher level of physical, mental, emotional, and social function (Current Nursing, 2011). Watson’s definition of health “refers to unity and harmony with in [the] mind, body, and soul” (Watson, 1999, p. 48). Although Gary could not physically do many basic needs for himself, his emotional, spiritual aspects needed to be nurtured in this environment. A caring environment should create and maintain supportive human caring aspects while recognizing and providing for Gary’s primary human needs (Chitty & Black, 2011). As the nurse’s aid I am concerned with the promotion of health, prevent injury, caring for sick and restoring as much health as possible to Gary...