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Watson’s Theory of Human Caring in Nursing

Nursing is caring and improvement of the quality of life. Caring, therefore, brings about a positive energy that rewards the patient positively concerning healing and the quality of life. Inspired by Florence Nightingale's vision which states, "the role of a nurse is to put her patient in the best position to be the heart of healing" (Watson & Woodward, 2020). Caring, therefore, can be done by actively engaging through authentic presence, caring, and intentionality, hence increasing the potential and the ability for patients to heal. Theories in nursing help to concreate the development of nursing practices which may influence the zeal for professionalism. Unlike any career, nursing plays a cardinal role in the scope of humanity. Areas where nursing theories have been influential, are; nursing education and leadership. Generally, the application of nursing theories has a great impact on the overall practice of a nurse. Watson’s caring theory can be successfully be applied in understanding the holistic manner of taking care of a patient. 

           Jean Watson’s Caring theory has been very important in many nursing fields and beyond. Watson's theory asserts that "caring is at the center of nursing practice" (Watson & Woodward, 2020). The concept of caring considers patients' account of physical, psychological, and spiritual values. By understanding such important aspects of a patient, a nurse can react, ensuring that the patient is stable and satisfied. The theory, therefore, portrays a nurse as a leader, a moral person who promotes wellness to patients who expects nothing but care and monitoring. Significantly the theory gives credence to a nurses’ moral ability and responsibility to care and create the much-needed trust that steers positive results because of the attitude and the patient’s perspective towards health practitioners. Integration of the concept of Watson's theory of care in nursing very important as it offers patients with constructive nurse’s presence fostering health and promotion of wellness regardless of the situation. 

           The theory critically embraces the humanistic aspects of nursing and their relationship with science, especially nursing practices. The theory states, “nursing is concerned with promoting health, preventing illness, caring for the sick, and restoring health” (Watson & Woodward, 2020). Therefore, besides health promotion, it is also associated with the treatment of diseases. Watson was inspired by the primary knowledge that caring is cardinal in any nursing practice. 

Application of Watson’s Theory of caring

           The theory identifies three meta paradigms that shape its execution: human beings, health, and nursing. According to Watson, human beings are valuable people who should receive care, respect, nurture, among other humanistic natures. Accordingly, a patient's philosophical view is part of a caregiver's self; therefore, human life overrides anything and should be regarded as important anywhere and in any circumstances.  Health is another aspect that Watson considered in caring. Social, mental, and physical attributes must be balanced for effective health promotion. The knowledge associated with nursing knowledge is science and the relation to health-illness experiences. Nursing knowledge brings out the professional, personal, scientific, and ethical care attributes of a caregiver. 

           According to Watson & Woodward (2020), the application also is embedded in curative factors. These processes involve ten factors that are important and act as principal standpoints towards care in patients. According to the carative processes, nurses can well demonstrate nursing when they use a formulated humanistic-altruistic value system. A nurse should show unselfish concerns for the patient's welfare (Rosa, Estes & Watson, 2017). To achieve such nursing practices, a nurse must follow the code of conduct that ensures and attribute unselfish nature to putting a patient's life over anything. 

           The second factor asks caregivers to instill faith or hope in the patient to keep a positive attitude towards the patient, which is very important for promoting health (Watson & Woodward, 2020). Hope also can alleviate the pain associated with the disease or condition. Pain can be traced back from mental activities which, when directed into the perspective of hope, pain can be reduced significantly; additionally, hope can be used to reassure the patient on the disease status, for example, HIV or cancer patients; hence generally, faith or hope is cardinal in prolonging patients’ life. 

           The third factor is; cultivation of sensitivity for both self and others (Watson & Woodward, 2020). In caregiving, nothing should be taken for granted; hence, embracing sensitivity for self and others is important; sensitivity also resides in caregiving's passion and motivation. The first three carative factors form their basis from a philosophical foundation. Fourth, nurses are responsible for developing trust to help patients' minds of getting well (Watson & Woodward, 2020). Trust is very important in creating a healing attitude to patients, which is key in promoting good health. As Watson & Woodward (2020) assert, the fifth factor is; nurses understand how to express their feelings towards patients; patients should be shown a positive feeling, hence creating positive attitudes towards patients. 


           Six, nurses encounter lots of practice dilemmas in decision-making and solving problems (Watson & Woodward, 2020); hence, they should develop a work culture that embraces better methods of solving problems in the nursing environment and swift decision-making situations e along when nursing a patient. Seven, nursing is a career that is merited in learning new things daily (Watson & Woodward, 2020); therefore, caring should promote teaching and learn to both patients and colleagues. Eight, nurses are expected to promote a supportive environment towards patients to make them have a speedy recovery. Nine, nurses should assist patients with gratitude, especially with basic human needs, and finally, acknowledging phenomenological forces. 

           Watson's theory is logical because tes and the theoretical assumption are practical and can be integrated into caregiving practices. Additionally, they are relatively simple, generalizable which makes them applicable anywhere and in any situation.  The theory is characterized as question-based, based on phenomenological studies; it does not state hypotheses but answers them, making the theory easily understood (Wei, Fazzone, Sitzman & Hardin, 2019). Hence, it has been useful in guiding and improving nursing practices. Its characteristics and attributes have been fully recognized by famous humanists' scholars, philosophers, psychologists, and developmentalists as a legit source of making nursing practices better. 

           As a strength, the theory acknowledges the patient like family, community, or culture. It also makes the patient the focus point for nursing practices rather than making technology the focus of practices. However, it is limited because the patients' biophysical needs are not given considered as important (Pajnkihar, McKenna, Štiglic & Vrbnjak, 2017). Additionally, the ten carative factors refute the psychosocial needs of a person. To sum, Watson's theory has been a great achievement in promoting health in nursing practices by addressing epistemological factors associated with caring (Constantinides, 2019). The theory also reveals that the relationship between patients and caregivers is important and a special facet that must be considered when making important nursing decisions. For proper caregiving, one can apply the carative factors to develop excellent caregiving to the patient promoting health and attitudes towards faster healing.


Constantinides, S. M. (2019). Compassionate knowing: Building a concept grounded in Watson’s theory of caring science. Nursing science quarterly, 32(3), 219-225. 

Pajnkihar, M., McKenna, H. P., Štiglic, G., & Vrbnjak, D. (2017). Fit for practice: Analysis and evaluation of Watson’s theory of human caring. Nursing science quarterly, 30(3), 243-252. 

Rosa, W., Estes, T., & Watson, J. (2017). Caring science conscious dying: an emerging metaparadigm. Nursing science quarterly, 30(1), 58-64. 

Watson, J., & Woodward, T. K. (2020). Jean Watson's theory of human caring. SAGE Publications Limited. 

Wei, H., Fazzone, P. A., Sitzman, K., & Hardin, S. R. (2019). The Current Intervention Studies Based on Watson's Theory of Human Caring: A Systematic Review. International Journal for Human Caring, 23(1).