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Watsons Theory Of Human Caring Essay

Jean Watson’s theory of human caring is about nursing and caring being side by side. According to Watson, a person can not completely heal from a disease/condition if only the disease is treated and the person is not(Watson, 1999). Meaning, nursing should focus on providing more care and connecting on a deeper level with their patient’s to promote faster and more effective healing.

Because of nursing shortages and increased demand on nursing, there is sometimes little time to none to sit down with a patient and have a heart to heart conversation. Watson’s theory, not only helps incorporate care back into nursing, but emphasizes it as a necessity to better allow the patient to heal(Watson, 1999). Dr. Jean Watson is an American nursing scholar. She earned her undergraduate degree in nursing her master’s degree in psychiatric-mental health nursing, and continued to earn her Ph.

D. in educational psychology and counseling from the University of Colorado(Sitzman, 2007). Watson proposed that professional nurses in all areas, have an awareness of the interconnectedness of all beings and share the common, intentional goal of attending to and supporting healing from both scientific and philosophical perspectives(Sitzman, 2007). This common goal is referred to as the caring-healing consciousness(Sitzman, 2007).

Watson’s theory took shape around 1970, as a reaction to wide gap she witnessed in respect of science of medicine, which was technology oriented and merely concentrating on diagnosis and cure of disease overlooking the art of healing recognizing humanity as a whole and scope of personal relation between the suffering person and health care providing person(“Jean Watson’s theory of Human Care”, 2010).

The major concepts of Watson’s theory are organized around ten carative factors that later evolved into the 10 clinical caring caritas processes that form the basis of the theory at the present time and can be applied in any nursing area(Sitzman, 2007). Practice love, kindness, and caring in nursing and be open to treating your patient’s mind and body(Sitzman, 2007). The theory speaks of focusing on the patients as a whole and getting in tune with their inner being.

An article in The Journal for Advanced Nursing Practice, conducted a study of patients with life threatening and terminal illnesses and Watson’s theory was used. The results showed nursing knowledge of palliative care improved significantly and families reported higher levels of satisfaction with the care their loved ones received. The staff reported that palliative care made a positive impact on patient and family outcomes. Conclusion: The structure, processes, and outcomes of care were positively impacted during the implementation of Watson’s theory(Mahler, 2010).

This occurred through activities such as direct consultation, educational initiatives, mentoring, and disseminating assessment and care planning tools and staff taking a whole interest in patients and families, both physically and spiritually(Mahler, 2010). Another study was held at a hospital, where this theory was adopted as the framework to support nursing. As the nurses became more familiar with the theory, deep caring was shown in their day to day interactions with their patients and their narratives(Norman & Rutledge, 2010).

Eighteen clinical narratives were included in this study. These were submitted by nurses across the hospital. The narratives ranged from a breast feeding encounter between and nurse and young mother to a dying mother of 12 whose daughter was not coping well(Norman & Rutledge, 2010). All outcomes showed that once Watson’s theory was used, the nurses took a more active and caring approach in the care they gave each patient. Another study conducted by Fraser Health Renal Program in 2004, incorporated Jean Watson’s theory in their everyday nursing practice with their renal patients.

Because many of the companies nurses were foreign trained, the company felt it necessary to apply the theory in day to day nursing. Human science nursing focuses on life and health as humanly experienced and human beings are viewed as the subjects of their own lives(Scattolon, 2008). Dr. Watson’s theory applied to my own caring moment is as follows: One morning, several years ago when I was an Oncology nurse, I entered a ladies room who had been diagnosed with throat/oral cancer. She had just recently had all of her teeth removed due to her disease and was undergoing radiation and chemo.

The radiation on her throat left her with an extremely raspy voice and on top of that she was no longer able to eat or drink orally and had to have a gastric tube placed. This lady was in her mid 40’s. I told her good morning and introduced myself as her nurse. I asked her how she was feeling and she smiled and said “good”. I could’ve went on about my busy day, but when I looked in her eyes, I could see nothing but fear, pain, and confusion. I pulled up a chair to her bedside, sat down and took her hand and asked her, how she was really feeling. She broke down and cried. She began talking about how alone, scared, and unattractive she felt.

We talked for an hour and she told me that up until now she didn’t know anyone really cared. Together, we came up with plans on how she would take one day at a time and get through this ordeal. We made arrangements for her to be able to obtain dentures, get counseling she needed, start an anti-depressant medication, etc. Several months after she was discharged, I was in Wal-Mart with my youngest daughter who was 11 at the time. As I was shopping I thought I heard someone calling my name. Each time I turned around to look, there was no one there. I went on about my shopping.

Again, I heard someone calling my name. I turned around to take a closer look and it was my former patient yelling my name. She was in a wheelchair and when I approached her she had a huge smile and hug for me. She looked at my daughter and said, “I want you to know what a wonderful lady your mom is and what a special nurse she is and how lucky you are to blessed with such a mother. ” If I had chosen to simply treat the patient based on signs and symptoms of illness, I would have never connected with her and developed a trusting relationship and I believe our interactions helped her in her healing process.

The carative factors that were used with the patient are development and sustaining helping, trusting authentic caring relationships(Sitzman, 2007). By taking the time to sit and speak with the patient and get to the core of what exactly was worrying her, she and I developed and trusting and caring relationship. The second carative factor is being present to and supportive of the expression of both positive and negative feelings arising in self and others with the understanding that all of these feelings represent wholeness(Sitzman, 2007).

This was achieved by allowing the patient to express the negative feelings she felt concerning her body and the worries she had because she felt she was unattractive to her husband. The third carative factor is creating and sustaining a healing environment at physical/readily observable levels and also at nonphysical, subtle energy, and consciousness levels. By allowing the patient to feel comfortable with me, it allowed the patient to open up more readily and do so with ease. Because I cared enough to ask her how she was really feeling and pulled up a chair to sit and talk to her, this let her know I was interested on all levels.

The fourth carative factor is administering human care essentials with an intentional caring consciousness meant to enable mind, body, spirit wholeness in all aspects of care; tending to spiritual evolution of both other and self. Whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are enabled(Sitzman, 2007). By taking time out of my busy morning and paying attention to my patients facial expressions and her body language, it was easy to see something deeper was bothering her and not just her physical state. This lady needed someone to talk to and understand her and just treat her disease.

I have often heard people who have cancer say, “this disease does not define me. ” True, it does not, but too often we as nurses get so busy and wrapped up in the day to day documentation, medication passes, etc, that we do not take enough time to interact with our patients and talk to them and really bond with them. Sadly, we sometimes see them as the “lady who has lung cancer,” or the “man who has leukemia. ” In reality it is someone’s mom, dad, daughter, son and who has a family that loves them and their world matters.

Dr. Watson defines person as valued in and of him or herself to be cared for, respected, nurtured, understood and assisted. When we as nurses treat out patients wholly and not just treat the disease, we are treating them as a person according to Watson’s theory. Watson believes there are three parts to health such as a high level of overall physical, mental, and social functioning and general level of daily functioning, and absence of illness(“Jean Watson’s Theory of Nursing”, 2010). Environment is part of a caring attitude that must be given to make our patients feel comfortable(“Jean Watson’s Theory of Nursing”, 2010).

Nursing is being concerned with health, promoting wellness and one’s overall health of mind, body, and soul. The most important thing I learned when interacting with the patient was truly making her feel and know someone cared. Having a terminal illness is probably one of the scariest and loneliest moments in a person’s life. To have someone take the time and sit with you makes all the difference in the world. As a nurse, it reminded me of what I am here to do and what my profession really means.


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The caring moment is a critical decision in another person life, as well as your life. It is an act of humanity. In essence, there is more to giving physical treatment; your presence and support shows the connectivity with another person at every given moment. It is a shared journey in this life, we should always take care of our neighbors, and maybe this can be the main agenda why we live. Medical personnel today try their best, in depths of their day’s activity connecting with their patients even if it’s for a short moment (Dossey & Keegan 2013). This touches more in the mind, heart and soul. The paper provides a discussion of caring moments and each aspect of caring touches patients in their wholeness. There is the aspect of healing; in a situation of vulnerability there is someone to sustain them. The noble medical practice becomes more of open love and caregiving to those in need.

Background and Major Concepts

Watson’s theory of human caring focuses on the interconnection between the nurse and his/her patients. Nurses play a critical role in the healing process of the patients as they show support and caring towards them. The theory also outlines vital and powerful therapeutic connections. Watson believed caring was the most important aspect of the patient-nurse relationship (Jesse & Alligood 2013). Nurses undergo training of concepts of love, faith, trust and understanding that help in developing caring relationships and expanding on high-quality healthcare. The theory was developed in 1975 when Jean Watson was teaching the University of Colorado. It developed from his views of nursing and more in bringing attention to the health profession of the caring values and practices to the society at large. She focused more on inner healing of the patients and how the nurses can accomplish this healing by proving unique care (Jesse & Alligood 2013).

Watson’s theory of human caring contains four major concepts. These are a clinical Caritas process that shows love and outlines the inspiring love all individuals share with one another. Caritas is the way human being connect support and care in their wholeness. This entails their body mind and the soul. Watson’s used 10 Caritas concepts to show the caregiving manifesto in the daily functions of the nurses (Jesse & Alligood 2013). This would eventually promote trust, hope, and understanding in the work environment. The Caritas processes should give directions to practice the theory. They include showing love and kindness, faith and hope, taking care of each person spiritual beliefs values and practices, maintaining healthy and trusting relationships and accepting positive and negative feelings portrayed by each party. Others are embracing the scientific method of decision-making and solving the problems, all teaching and learning should address each person’s needs. The physical environment should be fit for human dignity. The body, mind, and souls needs should be addressed and finally allow an opportunity for miracles to be performed (Nelson & Watson 2013).

These above 10 processes addresses caregiving results in both the patient-nurse relationship and interactions. In addition, the caring environment should exist to help improve, stabilize, and enhance healing. The second major conceptual elements of Watson theory is a transpersonal caring relationship. A lot of emphasizes is laid on the humanist concept of nursing aligned with scientific advancements (Vandenhouten, Kubsch, Murdock & Lehrer 2012). Nursing is taken as an act of professionalism, scientific human care transactions. Caring emphasizes more holistically with an idea that wholeness is more than combined sum of parts (MSherry & Watson 2012). Everyone is highly valued, and a lot of care should be given to him/her. A sense of unity is more emphasized when it comes to health, and an enabling environment should be created. The vital role of the nurse is to demonstrate an intimate and trustworthy relationship with the patient and be able to understand the sufferings of the client.

The caring situations according to Watson occur when patient and nurses join hands and interact to bring a transformational change. The nurse has a mandate to protect the clients and never treat them as objects but with a positive regard (McSherry & Watson 2012). The third one is caring moment/caring occasions authentically shows the moment the nurses experience situations greater than they are experiencing. They explore and avail themselves to give optimal care, and ensure the needs of the patients are met. The nurses become connected and interact freely with the patients; their presence in the patients becomes their responsibility.

The relation may also go deeper and make nurses make connections to the whole society at large to extend on the helping hand (Jesse & Alligood 2013). The fourth is the function of caring and healing consciousness. In this case, the nurse must adhere to the changes in human life and phenomena. Watson demonstrates that human beings react the end results achieved eventually. It takes the care and focus of the nurse to achieve desired and successful healing. The motivation and energy the nurse uses determines how a patient heals. Caring –healing and loving consciousness occurs when time, space, and energy are administered optimally (Dossey, & Keegan 2013).

Patient-Nurse Interaction

Patient-nurse relationship is a caring moment; the nurse connects with the patient and develops an in-depth understanding of the patient’s problems. It involves pausing and be fully present to show compassion beyond what has been practiced in the past. The nurse experiences the patient’s problems as their and tries in all means possible to solve the problems. In a caring moment, the nurse can engage in dialogue with the patients, connect with them and extract information beyond the outer appearance of the patient. A lot is learnt of the behavior of the patients and in the end the nurse learns how to co-relate with the patient (Dossey & Keegan 2013). The human-to-human open relationship expands out caring and keeps alive our humanity. These deepen and sustain the relationship and eliminate the notion of reducing the patients to the status of the object (Smith, Turkel & Wolf 2012). Nurses create a comfortable and enabling environment and Patients feel at ease, and more loved in the society and this increases their healing processes. As a nurse, I feel obliged to work for the society and unconditional love for my patients.

This is simply by engaging in a healthy nurse-patient relationship where both patient and the nurse benefits. Concept of Caring The concept of caring is greatly emphasized by Watson theory. As a nurse, I can understand more about human caring. During this interaction, I am more informed about the way to handle my patients, and how to engage them in dialogues. I can also share crucial information about their health at ease and create an enabling environment for a quick healing process. I learn human caring is an evolving work in progress, it transcends and adapt to our rapidness and the energy we exude to the patients. The nurse practice should change in line with the changes in the society. Patients respond well when all their physical emotional and spiritual needs are addressed (Dossey & Keegan 2013).

Watsons appreciates the needs for the nurse to understand that they must find their inner and self-help to extend ego self as a way of opening and pouring their hearts to others with love, sensitivity, understanding, and compassion. The patients perceived my caring moment as another dimension of nurse practice that is hidden and never explored. They believe more in me and have confidence when laying out their problems to me. They believe they are in for a helping hand and that all their sufferings will come to an end, and their problems solved. They seek comfort in nurses, and their emotions are stable. And this leads to a profound healing process. Patients perceive the nurses as warriors to relieve the anxiety and fear, to identify these symptoms and help them resolve them. The patients believed the nurses are more likely to identify and manage their needs. Watson portrays an intensely deep connection developed by the nurse to his/her patients (Smith, Turkel & Wolf 2012).

Caring Moment, Interaction, or Relationship What is required to enhance a caring moment interaction is to practice self-care on the side of the nurses. Self-care brings closer nurses spirits, consciousness and allows them to feel connected with the surroundings and have a feeling of the cosmic love (Sitzman, & Watson 2013). Nurses are supposed to take care of themselves so as to be able to take care of the patients. They should ensure strong love exist amongst themselves then spread it to the patients. Nurses should be more disciplined and hardworking. More research should also be done to enhance the use of scientific knowledge in treating the patients. This would ensure patients have complete trust in the nurses. Metaparadigm Metaparadigm in Watson’s theory is a person, health, nursing and the environment (Sitzman, & Watson 2013). They are important in human caring. To effectively treat a patient it is a must a nurse take care of these four factors.

For instance, the person is most important, without the human being the nurse has no purpose, thus a person is the one to be treated, nurtured and cared for hence the aspect of human caring. The attitude of the nurse can affect the recovery of the patients. Nurses should always portray positive attitude toward the patients. The health of the patients should be an obligation to be carried out by the nurses. Different patients have different health conditions, which should be addressed differently. To maintain good interaction nurses need to range each person based on their health issues (Sitzman and Watson, 2013). A healthy environment should be created for all patients; they should be less depressed by their illness for a speedy recovery. Nurses should be present at all times to comfort and nurse the patients. In nursing, part of meta-paradigm shows compassion and the responsibility of nurturing care to the patients.

There is the essence of compassionate and caring (Vandenhouten, Rubsch, Murdock and Lehrer 2012). Carative Factors Watson theory of human caring was utilized in the caring moment, first by the practice of love, and kindness to self and others. He emphasized the need to be open with others, care for one’s self and others, validating the uniqueness of others and appreciating them. A strong relationship is built on accepting one another, honoring individual gifts and treating each other with loving kindness. In addition, demonstrate respect and recognize strengths and weaknesses in self and other (Sitzman & Watson 2013). The second carative factor is the instilling of faith and hope. One is needed to be authentically present and sustaining the system of one being nurtured and cared for.

By listening I was able to honor the patient’s beliefs and enable them to feel a sense of hope and faith. Human caring needs connection, interaction and encouraging others in the ability to go on with life, as well as viewing person as a human being and not an object. It makes it easier for self and others to believe in themselves and create an opportunity for silence and reflection (Smith, Turkel & Wolf 2012). The third one is the cultivation of sensitivity. It involves being sensitive to self and others by nurturing individual beliefs and religious practices. This ensures patient’s needs and feelings are adhered to, and a more trusting, caring and helpful relationship is created.

Healthy interactions are maintained by the ability to forgive self and others and more genuine interest in others (Sitzman, & Watson 2013). Perform responsibilities of giving care leading to healing processes and healing interactions. The fourth factor is promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings. This factor was highly emphasized in human caring. Being present and supportive of positive and negative feelings is a connection of inner self and the patients (Dossey, & Keegan 2013). I co-create a caring relationship with the support of caring environments to promote spiritual, emotional and physical growth. I was able to help others see good aspects of their situation by accepting and helping them deal with their negative feelings.


Watson’s theory of human caring gives nurses a platform to perform and demonstrate caring behaviors. The theory lays out an open act of caring, which is of major importance in the healing process. Human caring aspects have the ability to overpass the dynamics of human occurrences. The patient-nurse relationship holds the key to recovery. Watson in his school of thought said one has to take care of himself in order to take care of others and provide care and immense love.


Dossey, B. M, & Keegan, L. (2013). Holistic nursing: A handbook for practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning) Jesse, D. E., & Alligood, M. R. (2013). Watson’s philosophy and theory of transpersonal caring. Nursing theorists and their work, 79. McSherry. W, MSherry, R, & Watson, R. (Eds.). (2012). Care in Nursing: Principles, Values, and Skills. Oxford University Press. Sitzman, K., & Watson J. (2013). Caring Science, Mindful Practice: Implementing Watson’s Human Caring Theory. Springer Publishing Company. Smith, M. C., Turkel, M. C. & Wolf, Z. R. (Eds.). (2012). Caring in nursing classics: An essential resource. Springer Publishing Company. Vandenhouten, C., Kubsch, S. Peterson. M, Murdock. J, & Lehrer, L (2012). Watson’s Theory of Transpersonal Caring: Factors Impacting Nurses Professional Caring. Holistic nursing practice, 26(6), 326-334.

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