“Caring is the essence of nursing” (Chantal, 2003, p.57). Caring is the essence and core of my nursing background and why I chose to take the path towards a career as a professional nurse. The model of caring was developed around 1970, and established with the publication of the “postmodern transpersonal caring-healing paradigm, and has transformed the original caring model into one that is useful to practitioners from nursing and other disciplines to guide clinical practice” (Fitzpatrick & Whall, 2005, p. 297). In the following discussion Watson’s caring model will be critically reviewed for evidence to further knowledge development and the application of her theory into clinical practice; utilizing the criteria for evaluating a middle-range theory by metatheorist Whall.
The theory of caring is best defined within the nursing metaparadigm. According to Chantal (2003), “Watson defines nursing as a human science of persons and human health illness experiences that are mediated by professional, personal, scientific, esthetic, and ethical human care transactions” ( p. 57). Watson describes the person as one being composed of three elements the mind, body, and spirit. The person is not viewed as an emanate object, rather a holistic being, one who has value and meaning. In describing health, Watson views health holistically. Health is being able to function mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially to one’s full capacity. Lastly Watson defines the environment in terms of being conducive to holistic healing. The environment of one is composed of …noise, privacy, light, access to nature, color, space and smells that can have and impact on the caring-healing process (Watson, 1999). “Metatheoretical assumptions are premises and prepositional statements that conceptualize the foundation of the caring-healing paradigm” (Fitzpatrick & Whall, 2005, p. 302). According to Watson, the following seven assumptions provide the framework for the caring model: Caring is based on an ontology and ethic of relationship and connectedness, and of relationship and consciousness. Caring consciousness, in-relation, becomes primary. Caring can be most effectively demonstrated and practiced interpersonally and transpersonally. Caring consists of “caritas” consciousness, values, and motives. It is guided by carative components [carative factors]. A caring relationship and a caring environment attend to “soul care”: the spiritual growth of both the one-caring and the one-being-cared-for. A caring relationship and a caring environment attend to “soul care”: the spiritual growth of both the one-caring and the one-being-cared-for. A caring relationship and a caring environment preserve human dignity, wholeness, and integrity; they offer an authentic presencing and choice. Caring promotes self-growth, self-knowledge, self-control, and self-healing processes and possibilities. Caring accepts and holds safe space (sacred space) for people to seek their own wholeness of being and becoming, not only now but also in the future, evolving toward wholeness, greater complexity and connectedness with the deep self, the soul and the higher self. Each caring act seeks to hold an intentional consciousness of caring. This energetic, focused consciousness of caring and authentic presencing has the potential to change the “field of caring,” thereby potentiating healing and wholeness. Caring, as ontology and consciousness, calls for ontological authenticity and advanced ontological competencies and skills. These, in turn, can be translated into professional ontologically based caring-healing modalities. The practice of transpersonal caring-healing requires an expanding epistemology and transformative science and art model for further advancement. This practice integrates all ways of knowing. The art and science of a postmodern model of transpersonal caring-healing is...