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Jean Watson Nursing Theory

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Jean Watson nursing theory is also known as the Theory of Human Caring. This theory was developed by nurse Jean Watson, a highly respected professor at the University of Colorado. Ms. Watson's theory focuses on the idea of bringing basic love and caring back into healthcare.

What Should I Know About Jean Watson's Nursing Theory?

Jean Watson introduced her Theory of Human Caring in 1979. Jean Watson's nursing theory focuses on relationships and an integrated understanding of body and spirit. The Theory of Human Caring looks at healthcare from a different angle than some healthcare modalities, in which care providers focus more on the illness than the human patient. The Theory of Human Caring defines itself as a philosophical and ethical foundation for nursing. Nurses can apply caring theory to every aspect of clinical nursing practice.

Watson's theory was radical in that it stated that caring should come before curing. Caring is a choice nurses make in their clinical interactions, and caring should be the bedrock of nursing practice. To care for patients, nurses must respect their value as a human being and the sensitivity of their situation. In Watson's theory, caring preserves human dignity in healthcare.

What Important Parts of Caring Theory Can I Apply in Healthcare?

If you are a nurse or other healthcare professional, you may be interested in how the idea of caring theory applies in a clinical setting. The following are some aspects of caring theory that you may be able to use in your daily practice:

  • Caring Occasions: The caring occasion is a particular moment in time when the patient and nurse connect. During the caring occasion, the two share life experiences and a connection on the spiritual level. In person-to-person encounters nurses can use touch, eye contact, body language, a positive attitude, and listening skills to foster a caring occasion.
  • Healing Consciousness: Healing consciousness is also referred to as caring consciousness. Caring consciousness is the mindset the nurse brings to healing. A nurse with a caring, healing, and loving consciousness can transcend a physical moment of clinical care, to make a connection with a patient. To develop a healing consciousness, nurses must find a balance between their own belief systems and the belief systems of others.[1]
  • Transpersonal Caring: Transpersonal caring refers to caring for another person's spirit and well-being, on a nonphysical level. Nurses practicing transpersonal caring are respectful of their patients' life space and condition of being. During transpersonal caring, nurses focus on healing and wholeness of the patient, rather than a disease to be cured. Nurses provide an emotionally and physically calming presence for patients.

How Can I Get Training in Caring Theory?

If the idea of integrating loving care into nursing appeals to you, there are many ways to become more familiar with this theory. Many nursing schools base their philosophy on Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring. All nursing schools have a philosophy and guidelines for professional practice. New nurses can choose an associate or bachelor's degree from a college that uses Jean Watson's theory.

The Watson Caring Science Institute (WCSI) is another option for training. WCSI is Jean Watson's nonprofit organization, dedicated to raising awareness about caring science. The organization offers both online and on-site educational programs in caring science.

If you are a registered nurse, another option is to take holistic nursing classes or to pursue a higher degree with an emphasis in holistic nursing. Holistic nursing overlaps with caring science in many ways. Holistic nursing looks at relationships between nurse and patient and emphasizes ways to nurture the patient's whole being. The American Holistic Nurses Association has more information about this nursing area. The American Holistic Nurses' Credentialing Corporation offers professional credentials to nurses who have training in holistic principles.

References

  1. ^Caring Science (Definitions, Processes, Theory). Watson Caring Science Institute. Accessed December 28, 2012. http://watsoncaringscience.org/about-us/caring-science-definitions-processes-theory/.
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