Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring
Since its establishment as a profession more than a century ago, Nursing has been a source for numerous debates related to its course, methods and development of nursing knowledge. Many nursing definitions and theories have evolved over time. Furthermore it is in a constant process of being redefined.
The purpose of this paper is an overview of Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring. This theory can be taken into account as one of the most philosophicaly complicated of existent nursing theories. The Theory of Human Caring, which also has been reffered to as the Theory of Transpersonal Caring, is middle – range explanatory theory. (Fawccett, 2000) The central ...view middle of the document...
The purpose of this research was to evaluate different points of view, expressed by both the clients and registered nurses. In addition to this data, Watson’s theory uses broadly recognized work from other disciplines. Specific philosophers cited by Watson, as sources are Rogers, Whitehead, Gadow, Yalom etc. Furthermore, she also recognises the contribution of the eastern philosophy in her work.
According toWatson (1985), her philosophical orientation is existential – phemenological, spiritual and methaphysical. She is the first nursing theorist to support the idea of soul and to accentuate the spiritual dimension of human existence. Watson describes nursing as an art and a human science with the major focus being the process of a human care for individuals, families and groups. According to her beliefs, body, mind and soul are distinquished from each other. Nevertheless, Watson also states that harmony is required among the three to be the highest form of health and that it is the nursing goal to help people to reach this equanimity. This goal can be accomplished through transpersonal relationship.
Within the Theory of Human Caring, during transpersonal caring moment, the nurse and the patient gain entry into the lived knowledge of each other. In order for transpersonal contact to occur both the caregiver and the one being cared for should experience a process of being and becoming, both are influenced by the nature of transaction. (Watson, 1985) Watson defines human caring as a moral ideal, that the nurse should carry during every transaction. According to her theory, that ideal will assure a certain needed behaviour at the time of the caring occasion.
Another concepts in Watson’s theory are person, health, illness and environment. Watson defines person not only as a spiritual being, but also as a material physical being that is also a part of nature and the physical world. “A person is experiencing and perceiving physiological individual that is able to find meaning and harmony in existence” (Watson, 1979, p.55). Watson beliefs that that the person is not limited by time and space and able to control his physical world. Consequently she refers to environment as “ the universal or cosmic level of existence” and perceives person and environment as “ a field of connectedness”. (Watson, 1985)
Furthermore, Watson (1985) defined a connection between health and illness. As it was stated previously, health, according to the Theory of Human Caring is unity and harmony within the mind, body and soul. Moreover, health is also associated with the degree of congruence between the experienced and perceived self. Consequently illness is a disharmony within a person’s mind, body and soul, which can lead to disease. Thus, nursing as a discipline has a role of helping a person to find meaning in illness and existence in general. According to Jean Watson, everything in the universe is connected. Humans cannot be separated from self, other, nature...