Watson's Theory of Caring
Dr. Ethel Jones
Watson's Theory of Caring
Watson’s philosophy of caring can be traced back thirty years; it started as a textbook for a nursing curriculum at the University of Colorado. It started with a question of the relationship between human caring and nursing, this was the foundation for her book The Theory Of Human Caring: Retrospective an Prospective (1997), Nursing: Human Science and Human Care (1988), Caring Science as Sacred Science (2005), and the current book Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring (2008). According to Watson caring is the “ethical and moral idea of nursing that has interpersonal and humanistic qualities.” She defines caring science as “an evolving philosophical-ethical-epistemic field of study grounded in the discipline of nursing and informed by related fields” (Watson 2008).
Watson’s work was meant to bring meaning to nursing as an emerging discipline and health profession that has a mission with values, ethics and knowledge. The core of nursing, according to Watson is the aspects that promote the healing process and relationships with patients. Using the caring theory, interventions that are aimed at curing are reframed as sacred acts that are conducted in a caring fashion and completed in a way that honors the person as an embodied spirit. She describes caring and curing as complementary and compatible in nursing (Watson 2005). Watson embraces mind, soul, the emergence of Yin, holism, energy, healing artistry, and evolution along with proven theory and the physical material world of nursing practice. She also addresses beauty, truth, goodness, nurturing, suffering, pain, hope, compassion, peace, and the sacred feminine. According to Watson a person possesses three spheres; mind, body, and soul which are influenced by the concept of self. The self is ones identity that is the center of the whole body, thoughts, sensations, desires, memories, and life history. She states that a person is not simply an organism nor spiritual, a person has the ability to change his or her world by taking control of it or living in harmony with it (Watson 1989). She believes the soul is the essence of a person and which possesses self awareness, inner strength and the power to rise above the usual self. The soul has the ability to participate in the healing process toward wholeness. The body is a living spirit and shows how one views himself in the world; it reflects how a person holds himself with relation to self consciously and unconsciously. According to Watson, health is described as a subjective experience and is an adaptive process of coping and growing throughout life. Health is associated with how one perceives self through experience. Each person has their own individual view of health. Health focuses on physical, social, esthetic, and moral realms; it reflects how he or she strives to develop the spiritual essence of self. Health and wellness work together as a way to balance life. Illness will occur when there is disharmony or turmoil with the inner self or soul. According to Watson, illness is as an invitation to understand, gain new meaning and an opportunity for healing (Watson 2008) Within the transpersonal caring relationship between the patient and the nurse there is a caring moment that has a potential for healing. For healing to begin the person’s internal, mental-spiritual consciousness has to allow healing. This view holds a commitment from the patient to look beyond disease, to a moral idea that embraces inner power of self and inner healing potential and preservation of harmony (Watson, 1989). To engage in Watson’s philosophy and theory there must be rational and non-rational self reflection. The nurse must experiment in conscious caring and consciousness in patient relationships and then compare them with Watson’s theory. Watson’s theory involves healing through “being, knowing, doing, and seeing that move the personal...
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