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Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring

Nursing is defined by caring. At Redlands Community Hospital, nursing has embraced the theory of Jean Watson’s Caring Science. Caring Science helps us to embrace the positive energy that flows from an integrated mind, body and spirit and is mutually rewarding to both the patient and the nurse. Forged by the vision of Florence Nightingale who asserted that the “role of a nurse is to put her patient in the best position to be able to self-heal”, nurses are optimally positioned to be the heart of healing. By actively engaging in caring through authentic presence and intentionality, the nurse is able to optimize her patient’s ability to heal from within.

How do we as nurses maintain emotional sensitivity and caring attitudes in an over-stressed and demanding workplace? Jean Watson contends that caring regenerates life energies and potentiates our capabilities. The benefits are immeasurable and promote self-actualization on both a personal and professional level. Caring is a mutually beneficial experience for both the patient and the nurse, as well as between all health team members. In addition, it is important to remember that Watson emphasizes that we must care for ourselves to be able to care for others; self-healing is a necessary process for rejuvenating our energy reserves and replenishing our spiritual bank.

Be the difference that makes the difference. It’s what you say and do, and how you say and do it. Caring, safeguards and affirms our humanity. It unveils our true thoughts, feelings, and attitudes and allows us to live more authentically in our relationships. Caring improves patient outcomes and customer satisfaction. It is contagious and infuses caring-energy into others. It invokes awareness and intuition. It is positive and inspirational. It is the wonder-glue of enduring relationships and human connectedness. Caring is what makes Redlands Community Hospital a special place!

- Excerpt from 2011 Nurses’ Day Celebration
Lauren Spilsbury, RN, MSN

Nurses at Redlands Community Hospital have selected Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring (Theory of Transpersonal Caring) as the foundation for their nursing practice.

According to Watson (1997), the core of the Theory of Caring is that “humans cannot be treated as objects and that humans cannot be separated from self, other, nature, and the larger workforce.” Her theory encompasses the whole world of nursing; with the emphasis placed on the interpersonal process between the care giver and care recipient. The theory is focused on “the centrality of human caring and on the caring-to-caring transpersonal relationship and its healing potential for both the one who is caring and the one who is being cared for” (Watson, 1996).

The structure for the science of caring is built upon ten carative factors. These are:

  1. Embrace: Altruistic Values and Practice Loving Kindness with Self and Others
  2. Inspire: Faith and Hope and Honor Others
  3. Trust: Self and Others by Nurturing Individual Beliefs, Personal Growth and Practices
  4. Nurture: Helping, Trusting, Caring Relationships
  5. Forgive: and Accept Positive and Negative Feelings – Authentically Listen to Another’s Story
  6. Deepen: Scientific Problem Solving Methods for Caring Decision Making
  7. Balance: Teaching and Learning to Address the Individual Needs, Readiness and Learning Styles
  8. Co-Create: a Healing Environment for the Physical and Spiritual Self which Respects Human Dignity
  9. Minister: To Basic Physical, Emotional and Spiritual Human Needs
  10. Open: to Mystery and Allow Miracles to Enter