Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring
Nursing is a profession that has been synonymous with the word caring. I decided to choose nursing as my profession because I felt I had a calling to help others in need, knowing I am able to make a difference in my patient’s lives. The broad definition of caring has been theorized by the philosophy of Jean Watson and has been the primary character of the nursing role model. Caring has been the core of all nursing actions and is defined by Watson as “the ethical and moral ideal of nursing that has interpersonal and humanistic and humanistic qualities” (Alligood, 2010, p. 111). In order to follow Watson’s theory nurses must view the patient holistically and possess a wide range of knowledge, empathy, communication, interpersonal skills, and competence. Watson believes that nurses should implement her ten carative factors, or caritas, into their everyday practice. These caring processes are suggested to be the underlying sacred and spiritual elements of caring (Alligood, 2010). This paper will capture a detailed look at Jean Watson’s philosophy and theory of human caring by describing one caring moment that I have encountered with one of my patients. I will then describe how I integrated the carative factors into the transpersonal relationship that occurred between me and the patient. Watson developed the theory of human caring in the late 1970’s during her employment as a professor at the University of Colorado School for Nursing (Fitzpatrick & Whall, 2005). It was there where she received her doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling. Watson wrote several books on her theory of human caring that suggest nurses to focus on the paradigm of healing and caring. Her theory was developed on the basis of deep human life experiences and human caring relationships suggesting nurses to be focused on helping the patient achieve harmony within the body, mind, and soul through a transpersonal caring relationship (Suliman, Welmann, Omer, & Thomas, 2009). Watson suggests that through these caring interactions the nurse has a primary focus on one element of the nursing metaparadigm; to assist the person as a whole. This is achieved by having the patient explore the significance of their personal health-related experience to gain a higher degree of inner harmony to promote knowledge and healing (Fitzpatrick & Whall, 2005). Watson described the subjective concept and experience of health to be “the unity and harmony within the body, mind, and soul and a harmony between self and others and between self and nature and openness to increased possibility” (Alligood, 2010, p. 122). When a patient focuses on health, it reflects their motivation to develop their spiritual self, develop deeper meaning, and balance one’s life to promote healing (Alligood, 2010). The concept of environment was viewed by Watson to create an energetic environment conducive to healing and to create a “sacred space” for patients to endure while in the health care facility. Nurses promote wholeness of the mind, body, and spirit by assisting the patient to acknowledge stress factors and emotional setbacks through these sacred spaces to assist with healing. As nurses, we are responsible to make significant changes by altering the environment making it conducive to the patient’s comfort level and promote healing. Watson views the nursing element of the metaparadigm as being both an art and science, with caring to be the essence of the nursing profession (Alligood, 2010). There are 3 major elements of Watson’s caring theory; the carative factors (caritas), the transpersonal caring relationship, and the caring moment. The carative factors are created for the intent for “developing and sustaining a helping-trusting, authentic caring relationship” between the nurse and the patient (Lachman, 2012, p. 112). Watson’s clinical caritas provide a framework that merges spirituality with the sacred dimensions of human...
References: Alligood, M.R. (2010). Nursing theory: utilization and application (4th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Cara, C. (2003). A pragmatic view of Jean Watson 's caring theory. International Journal for Human Caring, 7(3), 51-61.
Fitzpatrick, J., & Whall, A. (2005). Conceptual models of nursing: analysis and application (4th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
Lachman, V.D. (2012). Applying the ethics of care to your nursing practice. Ethics, Law, and Policy, 21(2), 112-116.
Suliman, W. A., Welmann, E., Omer, T., & Thomas, L. (2009). Applying Watson 's nursing theory to assess patient perceptions of being cared for in a multicultural environment. Journal of Nursing Research (Taiwan Nurses Association), 17(4), 293-300.
Watson, J. (2009). Caring science and human caring theory: transforming personal and professional practices of nursing and health care. Journal of Health & Human Services Administration, 31(4), 466-482.
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