Jean Watson is a nurse theorist who developed many crucial nursing theories throughout her career in America. Based on her education, she is a retired psychiatric mental health nurse with a doctorate in counseling. In this article, we will explore one of the most significant works by Jean Watson, the “Theory of Human Caring”. This is a theory that all aspiring nurses should be familiar with, as learning about her perspective on patient care will help to enhance the nursing skills of future nurses.
Jean Watsons’s theory of human caring
In her book Nursing: Philosophy and Science of Caring, Watson discusses how nurses demonstrate their care for their patients. Care giving is at the core of nursing practice since it improves health more than a simple medical treatment. She believes that a diversified approach to healthcare is at the heart of the profession of nursing.
Watson claims that care, which has long been present in all communities, is manifested in nursing. However, a caring mindset does not permeate from generation to generation. Instead, it is a particular way of interacting with the surroundings that have been passed down via nursing field traditions.
According to her, nurses are able to show and engage in compassion. A caring environment accepts a person for who they are and anticipates what they could become.
The basis of the theory of human caring
The theory of human caring is based on seven assumptions, which are highlighted below:
- Only when care is practiced and exhibited interpersonally can it be successful.
- The fulfillment of human wants is the consequence of caring, which is founded on caring principles.
- Effective care giving supports the advancement of people and societal development.
- Caring involves accepting a person for who they are now and for who they will become in the future.
- A nurturing atmosphere is one that promotes potential growth while enabling the individual to decide for themselves what is best for them at the time.
- The science of caring is complementary to the science of healing and is more “healthogenic” than curative.
- Nursing is centered on the act of caring.
Factors of caring
Jean Watson’s theory of caring is based on 10 primary factors of caring which are as follows:
- The development of a humanistic and charitable set of ideals
- The implementation of hope and trust
- Development of empathy for oneself and other people
- Supporting a cooperative, trustworthy partnership
- The encouragement and acceptance of the expression of both good and negative emotions
- Implementing scientific problem-solving to make decisions
- Promoting interpersonal learning and teaching
- The creation of a physical, mental, social, cultural and spiritual environment that is positive, guarded and/or corrective
- Supporting the satisfaction of human needs
- Giving consideration to existential-phenomenological factors
Jean Watson’s nursing process
Watson’s nursing procedure is analogous to the method of scientific investigation. The first step in her nursing process is assessment, which involves observing the patient subjectively and objectively to determine the issue. This is followed by the application of nursing knowledge and skills to formulate a framework based on hypotheses and variables, which must be applied to the patient.
The next step of the theory focuses on planning to evaluate the efficacy of the framework created and how success will be measured. During this step, a nurse must also determine what kind of data will be collected. Who will collect it and how frequently?
The third step is implementing the framework according to the plan. During this step, the nurse must also focus on data collection from the patient for analysis.
The final step in Watson’s nursing theory is evaluation. During this step, the nurse needs to gather all the data and analyze it based on her knowledge and skills to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention that has been implemented. They must determine the degree to which the treatment was beneficial for the patient.
How does Jean Watson’s theory promote a holistic approach to patient care?
After reviewing the basics of the human caring theory, we can identify how Jean Watson’s ideas promote a holistic way of providing patient care. These include:
Jean Watson’s idea of human care
According to her theory, Watson believes that caring for patients is and should be the primary goal of nursing. She alleges that if a patient is cared for appropriately and kindly, they are bound to heal quickly. It is important to highlight here that Watson’s idea of providing care was not limited to fulfilling the physical needs of the patient but also their emotional and psychological needs.
Her concept of transpersonal care
While Jean Watson’s idea of providing care includes addressing both physical and emotional needs, there is another additional element that she indicates must be acknowledged, and that is fulfilling a patient’s spiritual needs. Watson advises fulfilling this need through transpersonal care. She suggests nurses learn to acknowledge patient’s spiritual beliefs and share their inner experiences with them.
Watson’s method of holistic assessment
All nurses who wish to follow in Watson’s footsteps must perform comprehensive and holistic patient evaluations. This entails evaluating the patient’s bodily symptoms in addition to their emotional and spiritual requirements. Developing a comprehensive understanding of the patient aids in creating care plans that address all facets of their wellbeing.
A focus on the healing environment of the patient
Through her theories and teachings, Watson encourages nurses to ensure that the environment of the patient promotes healing. This includes ensuring that the environment of the patient is free from any physical or psychological harm. The patient must feel comfortable at all times. Nurses must also treat the patient with kindness, empathy and compassion, as all of these will ultimately result in a quicker recovery for the patient.
A therapeutic nurse-patient relationship
Watson also believes that the relationship between a nurse and a patient should be a strong one. This is necessary because a nurse will be in constant contact with the patient, so if the patient feels uncomfortable around a nurse for any reason, it can have a negative impact on their recovery process. It is important to highlight that a nurse-patient relationship is a two-way relationship in which both parties must be respectful of each other’s feelings and treat each other with empathy and trust.
Recognizing the importance of the mind-spirit-body connection
Watson emphasizes the important interconnection between an individual’s mind, body and spirit. She underlines the need to consider a person as a whole along with their spiritual, mental and physical being. She highlights that all three aspects of the human being must be taken into consideration when caring for them as each aspect can be equally important. It is not for nurses to decide which aspects to acknowledge and which to ignore. To achieve overall progress, Watson advises nurses to include relaxation and meditation techniques in their practice. In addition to conventional medical care, the incorporation of these techniques is believed to increase the rate of patient recovery.
Addressing cultural sensitivity
Much like spiritual and religious beliefs, nurses must also make the effort to understand a patient’s cultural background. Watson wants all nurses to provide culturally competent care for all patients regardless of their cultural differences. Nurses must learn to put the patient first and then themselves. This can be very challenging, but a skilled nurse can achieve this skill over time.
Emphasizing personal growth and self-care
Watson’s final expectation is that nurses allot time to themselves and care for themselves just as well as they care for others.
Pursuing a successful career in the field of nursing
Nursing is a great career path that offers both competitive pay and steady employment development. It is a fulfilling profession that has a daily influence on the lives and wellbeing of people. However, there are a few tasks that you must complete before you are ready to become a competent nurse.
Enrolling in a nursing school
Getting certified is the first step in the nursing profession. Finding a school that works well with your finances, learning preferences and chosen specialty is necessary to achieve this. Consider your preferred learning method and establish a budget, then look for colleges that fit your needs. Examine the teaching approach to see whether it fits with how you learn best.
Most essentially, confirm that the university you plan to attend is accredited. Finding employment without a recognized degree will be quite difficult. Schools may provide several accreditation levels. When you begin your job search, certain degrees will be recognized nationwide while others will only be applicable at the local or state level. The ability to live and work anywhere is a huge advantage for nurses. To avoid your credentials becoming a barrier to accepting a position, it is best to do your homework in advance.
For those looking to transition into a career in nursing from another field, reputable institutions such as the University of Indianapolis offer a distance accelerated BSN online. This online accelerated Bachelor of Science in nursing is open to aspiring nurses who already hold a Bachelors in another field. With 100% online coursework coupled with a one-on-one model for clinical placement, students can earn their nursing credentials in as little as 15 months.
Finding a mentor
The next step revolves around finding a mentor. Any sort of assistance from a person who understands the position you are in can be really helpful in any field. Nurses choose this profession because they have a desire to help others and make their lives better.
In this capacity, having a mentor in your life to assist you can be extremely beneficial. If you have someone to guide you through the process, then choosing schools, courses and the interview process itself will be a lot simpler. Although training to become a nurse is straightforward, having someone to hold you accountable and motivate you when the going gets tough is always beneficial.
Defining your career goals
This is an important step. Defining your career goals will help you determine the level of education you wish to achieve and the salary you wish to earn. Generally, nurses who have an advanced education are able to work with increased autonomy and earn a higher income. On the other hand, nurses who have only completed their BSN and work as registered nurses are required to work under the supervision of a physician. It is important for aspiring nurses to evaluate where they wish to see themselves in the future.
As you advance along the nursing career path, Watson’s theory of human caring can play an essential part in shaping the care you provide. As a pioneer of caring science and a nursing professor, Jean Watson’s theories have been incorporated into the curriculum of hundreds of nursing schools. Thanks to her research efforts, patient care outcomes can be improved significantly.