Topics: Nursing, Nursing theory, Nursing practice Pages: 8 (1644 words) Published: September 7, 2014

Nursing Theory and Caring
Nursing Theory and Caring
Caring is a simple yet strong and powerful word, an abstract concept commonly found in nursing theory. Caring implies responsibilities, connections, and trust. Nurses take on the role with pride and honor. Nurses are caregivers. Many nursing theorists looked and still do look at caring as a core concept for nursing practice. Three main theorists come to mind, Jean Watson, Patricia Benner, and Kristen Swanson, when thinking about nursing and caring, although many of theorists highlight the importance of caring in the nursing profession. Each theorist has an independent definition of what caring is, ways to use it in nursing, and what it means in the nursing world. The purpose of this paper is to examine the definition of caring through nursing and nursing theorists, compare different definitions based on the core concept of caring, analyze Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring, and examine the current relevance in nursing practice, research, and development. Definition of Caring

The Oxford English Dictionary defines caring as “to take thought for, provide for, look after” (“Care,” 2011, para. 3). Theorists look at the concept of caring and break it down to discover the exact meaning behind the abstract concept. Kristen Swanson developed a middle-range theory of caring based on maternity and early loss of pregnancy. Middle-range theories “have a high explanatory value” (Andershed & Olsson, 2009, p. 598). Swanson’s researches lead her to the discovery of what caring means. Swanson described caring as an accountability and connection to another person (Andershed & Olsson, 2009).Patricia Benner is more well-known for theory of Novice to Expert Nursing. Through her research she began to look at the common phenomena surrounding nursing. Patricia Benner worked with Judith Wruble on the theory Primacy of Caring, an attempt to unveil certain factors such as nursing practice, stress, coping, and the outcome of illness (George, 2011). One of the core phenomena surrounding nursing practice is the concept of caring. Benner defined caring as “an essential skill of nurses; a basic way of being in the world” (George, 2011, p. 662). Benner’s definition offers little in respect a more concrete understanding. Other theorists who attempt to define the abstract concept include Boykin and Schoenhofer, Florence Nightingale, and Virginia Henderson. The leading lady in theory on caring is Jean Watson. The ethics of caring is the foundation for Jean Watson’s theory. Watson defines caring as “the coming together of a nurse and another in human-to-human transaction” (George, 2011, p. 662). Her theory offers more definition to the concept of caring and what caring within nursing entails. Comparing Definitions

All of the aforementioned definitions have a similarity in the way humans are part of the caring. Each looks at the value placed on an individual and the holistic approach to that individual (Bailey, 2009). The concept of caring does not look at one specific attribute of humans, but the person. Each theorist took the concept of caring and established the caring as a fundamental and integral part of nursing. Watson looked at caring as a relation-ship between two humans. Swanson’s approach was the effect caring had on a certain population. Swanson’s efforts were to bring back to nursing practice the care that originally attracted most nurses (Watson, 2009). Benner’s concept derived from the skills necessary for nursing. Benner’s previous theory of novice to expert goal was to explain the progress of a novice nurse to an expert nurse using knowledge and experience to provide care. Bailey (2009) broke down the variety of caring definitions and discovered the essentialness of caring for the 21st century nurse. Each theorist takes caring and applies it to how nursing functions with a person in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Watson’s Theory

Jean Watson, born in 1940,...

References: Andershed, B., & Olsson, K. (2009, September). Review of research related to Kristen Swanson 's middle-range theory of caring. Scandinavian Journal of Caring of Caring Sciences, 23(3), 598-610. doi:10.1111/j.1471-6712.2008.00647.x
Bailey, D. N. (2009, March). Caring defined: A comparison and anlysis. International Journal of Human Caring, 13(1), 16-31. Retrieved from
Fights, S. D. (2010). from AMSN, Commitment, compassion, connection. MEDSURG Nursing, 19(6), 313-316. Retrieved from
George, J. (2011). Nursing Theories: The base for professional nursing practice (6th ed.). Boston, AK: Pearson.
Johanna Briggs Institute. (2009). The psychosocial spiritual experience of elderly. Retrieved from
Nursing Theories. (2011, June 21). Jean Watson 's philosophy of nursing. Retrieved from
Watson, J. (2009, March). Caring science and human caring theory: transforming personal and professional practices of nursing and health care. Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 31(4), 466-482. Retrieved from
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