Jean Watsons Theory of Care & Its Application in Nursing Practice

Academic Program: Nursing
Unit Name: Nursing Theories
Assignment Topic: Nursing Theory: Jean Watson Theory & Its Application in Practice
Education Level: Undergraduate
Referencing Format: APA
Number of Words: 1,015

This paper investigates Jean Watson’s theory of care and its utilization in nursing practice. This subject will be investigated in the following order. Initially, a definition and discussion of Watson’s theory are provided. Second, we’ll go over the significance of a patient-centered care environment. Third, by looking at examples of Watson’s theory in action in the healthcare setting. Eventually, the implications for nursing education will be discussed in this paper. The following search terms were used to complete the paper: ‘Jean Watson,’ ‘CARITAS,’ ‘theory of care patient setting,’ and ‘nursing practice.’ ‘Jean Watson’.

What is Watson’s Theory of Care
Jean Watson is a nursing theorist who developed the theory of human caring and the ‘caritas’ processes to back it up. Watson has a nursing and psychology history. She observed the impact of genuine caring on patients and the resulting health outcomes in her practice. She has written extensively on the “…philosophy and theory of human caring, as well as the art and science of caring in nursing” (Watson Caring Science, 2017). Watson’s theories are taught in nursing schools worldwide. Watson (2006) observes a lack of caring or a separation of caring from the care environment. “Caring and economics, as well as caring and administrative practices, are frequently thought to be at odds” (Watson, 2006, 48). Indeed, Watson emphasizes the “…basic considerations of what it means to be human, to be risky, to be ill, to be cured, to be cared for, to be healthy, and to be healed” (Watson, 2006, 48). While lengthy, the quotations above are worth rereading and considering because the traditional model of healthcare relies heavily on an economic/administrative model of caring, whereas Watson’s theory emphasizes the reasons why nurses were drawn to the profession. That is, nurses are driven to the human side of nursing and believe that human caring has a positive effect on health outcomes (Watson, 2006, 48). “Any career that loses its values becomes heartless; any career that becomes heartless becomes soulless,” Watson says simply. Any profession that loses its heart and soul is [Worthless].” (Watson, 2006, p. 49.)

The Importance of Supportive Care in Promoting Positive Health Outcomes
Relationship management is essential for patient engagement as well as engagement with a patient’s family. With worries about economics and the role that economics plays in all aspects of life, it is often difficult for healthcare providers to justify supporting staff to take the time to develop caring relationships with patients from an economical perspective. According to Qualis (2014), the next step in health interventions is the “bio-psychosocial model” (Qualis, 2014, 1). Scientific evidence indicates that “social relationships affect a variety of health outcomes” (Umberson & Montez, 2010, 11). Watson’s caring theory supports these precepts through her theory’s core concepts. The following are the key concepts to follow: relational caring of self and others; transpersonal relationships; caring instances or moments; appreciation of numerous ways of knowing; a reflective/meditative approach to care; supportive, circular, and expansive caring; and recognition that caring changes the self, others around the individual, as well as the culture of groups and their surroundings (Watson Caring Science, 2017, 1-2).

Uses of Watson’s Theory in Care Background
Watson’s theory is put into practice using what are known as carative factors or caratas processes. There are ten causative factors, which are as follows. In summary, the theory’s application is illustrated as the practice of loving-kindness, equanimity, authenticity, enabling, developing a spiritual practice; establishing a helping-trusting relationship; allowing the interpretation of both positive and negative feelings; having a caring-healing practice; being ready to participate in a genuine teaching-learning experience; enabling and creating healing environments surroundings (Watson Caring Science, 2017, 2)In practice, this refers to a nurse practitioner who involves his or her own emotions in the caring relationship, not closing himself or herself off to new spiritual and emotional experiences while caring for the patient’s physical and health needs.

Uses of Watson’s Theory in Nursing Education
Nurses may face disrespect, anger, frustration, and apathy from different fields of the healthcare workplace, which can be disappointing and morally destroying. To counteract this experience, cultivating caring in nursing practice appears to be a pre-requisite for the nurse practitioner’s basic reassurance. This can be cultivated if the ability to cultivate caring is taught as part of the nursing education system. According to Dyess, Boykin, and Rigg (2010), when practice is driven by “values and beliefs” (Dyess, Boykin, & Rigg, 2010, 498), nurses use these values and beliefs as a lens to “visualize their practice… communicate… and build an environment for nursing care to be delivered” (Dyess, Boykin, & Rigg, 2010, 498). In other words, nurses can choose the lens through which they will view their work. The researchers looked at the impact of a dedicated education unit in a Southeast Florida setting that was “…grounded in a theoretical framework of caring to both nursing practice and education” (Dyess, Boykin, & Rigg, 2010, 498). According to the findings, the project enabled the strengthening and reinforcing of an interpretation of living the theory of caring through practice. Another study discovered that when caring theory was incorporated into nurses’ daily practice, they realized their critical value to the healthcare environment (Ryan, n.d., 7).

To summarize, Jean Watson’s caring theory promotes traditional caring and empathy practices while also encouraging a more emotional and open approach to patient care in a healthcare setting. Nurses are motivated to involve authentically and spiritually with their patients and their patients’ families in order to provide a more positive experience for all parties in the healthcare environment. According to research, when patients are engaged in this way, both the nurses and the patients benefit from the shared experience. When the caring theory is introduced into the nursing course, nursing students learn to incorporate the theory into their own practice from the start, allowing for a more genuine nursing experience for themselves and their patients.

Dyess, S., Boykin, A., & Rigg, C. (2010). Integrating Caring Theory With Nursing Practice and Education: Connecting With What Matters. Journal of Nursing Administration , 40 (11), Volume 40, Number 11.

Qualis, S. (2014, March 1-4). What Social Relationships Can Do for Health. Jouranl of the American Society on Aging .

Ryan, L. (n.d.). The Journey to Integrate Watson’s Caring Theory with Clinical Practice. Retrieved August 25, 2017, from Watson Caring Science:

Umberson, D., & Montez, J. (2010). Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy. Journal of Health Social Behaviour , 51, S54–S66.

Watson Caring Science. (2017). JEAN WATSON, PHD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, (LL -AAN). Retrieved August 25, 2017, from Watson Caring Science:

Watson, J. (2006). Caring Theory as an Ethical Guide to Administrative and Clinical Practices. Nursing Administration Quarterly , 30 (1), 48-55.