Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring
The caring theory can be described as a philosophical and moral basis for professional nursing and the disciplinary level which is the central focus. This theory offers a framework that will embrace art, science, humanities and nursing which is growing as a central to human phenomenon of nursing practice. Watson (1997) notes that in the current evolving phase and the ideas that were originally developed offer others a chance to evaluate and review how one may find self within the framework or the developing ideas relating to their own theories of caring practice.
Describing the role of nurses involves an understanding of what caring is about. The idea of nursing cannot be argued without understanding the role that nurses play in the healthcare system. According to Orem (1991), the emphasis of caring is best understood as returning the patients to self-care rather than founding a joint relationship between the nurses and the patients. Therefore, the nurse must be committed to caring in a constant and continuous manner whenever the patient needs it. And to do this the nurse must have the knowledge and skills required for the provision of patient care.
Watson (1997) states that when caring is used in nursing, it signifies all factors that nurses must meet to provide patient care. Various researchers have pointed out the several factors which are related to the dynamics of the patient-nurse relationship. Those factors include: trust and respect which is useful in interactive communication and comfort measures like empathy, compassion, helping and coping measures, stress alleviation measures, and health maintenance. From these factors, components of caring are more decentralized and play an important supportive role to the therapeutic interventions administered by doctors.
Brief description of theorist(s) work
Jean Watson developed human caring theory between 1975- 1979, while he involved in teaching at the University of Colorado. Watson notes that it occurred to him from his own views of nursing, combined and informed by my doctoral studies in educational, clinical and social psychology. He stated that it was his first attempt to bring sense and emphasis to nursing as a developing field and a different health profession with its own exceptional values, knowledge and practices, with its own ethic and mission to society. He says that the work was also inclined by his involvement with a joined academic nursing curriculum and efforts to find common meaning and order to nursing that transcended settings, populations, specialty, subspecialty areas, and so forth (Watson, 1994).
Major concepts of caring
Transpersonal caring relationship
Transpersonal expresses a concern for the inner life world and subjective meaning of another who is fully embodied, but goes beyond ego self and the given moment getting to the deeper connections with the broader universe. This theory seeks to connect with and embrace the spirit or soul of the other through the processes of caring and healing at that moment. Transpersonal relation is inclined by the caring awareness of the nurse as he enters into the life space or field of a patient, and is able to detect the patient’s state of being (at the soul, spirit level). It suggests an emphasis on the individuality of self and other and the individuality of the moment, in which the coming together is reciprocated and equal.
This theory requests for a genuineness of existence which is the ability to present to self and other in a thoughtful setting. The transpersonal nurse has the skill to focus on awareness on caring, healing, and wholeness, rather than on disease, illness and pathology. Transpersonal caring capabilities stay related to ontological development of the nurse’s human capabilities and ways of existence (Watson, 1988).
Caring occasions arise when a nurse and another come together with their single life outstanding fields in a human-to-human transaction. It becomes transcendent whereby experience and perception take place, but the actual caring occasion has a greater field of its own in a given moment. Watson (1996) sates that this process goes beyond itself but arises from the aspects of it that becomes part of life history for each person. This involves a choice by both the nurse and the other. The moment of coming together offers them with the opportunity to decide how to be in the moment and in the relationship well as what to do at the moment.
Relationship between the concepts
If the moment of coming together is transpersonal, both the nurse will feel a connection with the other at the spirit level, surpassing time and space, therefore, opening up new possibilities for healing and human connection at a deeper level than physical interaction. It is then acknowledged that the process is relational and connected; it transcends time, space and physicality.
Uses of the theory in nursing
The theory has been defined as a science that encompasses a humanitarian orientation, human experiences, caring and phenomena. Due to this, the theory has been used in nursing to support the relational ontology that views beings as being in interconnectedness and unity with the world. The theory has helped in nursing and it has been used to ensure that the transpersonal concept of caring is used to extend care from the nurses to the community as a whole.
The caring theory has also been included in the recruitment and selection process by nurses. New prospective nurses are being informed during the recruitment process that the caring theory is part of the nursing profession. Candidates are being asked during the interviews to describe any caring moment from their past. New graduates can describe moments when they had to care for a friend or a family member, or even when they had to receive care from another person. Season nurses may describe moments when they cared for other people during their clinical practice. These questions are important in the recruitment process as they help the recruiter and the management team select professionals who fit best within the culture of caring.
The caring theory has also been woven into the clinical ladder and the job description. When one looks at the nursing job description, they will realize that the statement requires one to be competent in both carative factors of the caring theory and technological skills (Watson, 1994).
Another use of the theory in the nursing profession is the accommodation of the theory on the educational offerings of the nurses. Nurses have grand rounds presentations every month and they have used this opportunity to incorporate the theory in these rounds. Specific carative factors of the theory or components of the theory have been referenced as the theoretic frameworks for these offerings. These offering focused only on the physical nature of a medical condition, but in the present, they have incorporated the holistic approach that addresses the body-mind-spirit components.
The theory has also been used as a moral/ethical and philosophical foundation for the nursing profession. The theory is also the central focus for the nursing profession at the disciplinary level. Due to the new dimensions of the mind-body-spirit and the evolving of nursing to a central part of the human phenomena in nursing practice, the theory has also been very useful. Reason for this is the fact that the theory includes both science and art. The theory offers a frame work that intersects and embraces art, humanities, science and spirituality.
Use of theory in my area of expertise
My main area in nursing is practice. Watson’s theory states that caring are the core area of nursing. The theory also states most of the nurses are driven by the need to provide care for their patients. The theory is of good use in my area as I can learn the many ways and levels of caring that I can provide for my patients. The theory has helped in giving me a deeper understanding on why caring for patients is good for the emotional and physical recovery (Watson, 2002).
Using the Transpersonal caring relationship and caring occasion concepts, what are the effects on the terminally ill patients when these concepts are applied?
Hypothesis and model
A model case is a real world example that uses the concept in a way that incorporates all the core attributes of the theory and its concepts without including attributes that are not part of the concept (Walker & Avant, 1995). In a more specific manner, a model case can be described as an accurate example of the concept. Discussed below is an example of a model case that is in line with theory of caring:
The model above depicts the theory of caring. Although the unit was quite busy at that particular moment, the nurse showed concern and support for her patient who was away from his family and alone, even at the critical moment of his life. Though the model case depicts the concern of the nurse, it also sheds some light on the measures taken by the nurse to ensure that the patient is provided with comfort. The nurse has provided comfort for the patient by being attentive. Through this, we can say that the nurse is at a better position to provide love, equanimity and kindness for the patient.
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National League for Nursing, New York, NY in conjunction with the University of
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