Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring

Jean Watson wrote her first book on human caring in 1985. Since then, she has gone ahead to publish many articles concerning nursing care. In Watson’s works, she articulates the idea that nurses should be caring in their interactions with patients. Watson views human beings as unitary, subjective, and unique; and that human beings possess strengths and inner resources, which are useful and very significant in their efforts to meet different health challenges. According to Watson’s observations, caring is essential and primary to cure. She also asserts that the main goal of nursing is to gain unity and harmony in a person’s mind and soul (Schroeder & Neil, 1992). Further, Watson refers to the transpersonal relationship whereby both the nurse and client are involved. She describes ten caring factors in nursing some of which include instilling faith and hope, being sensitive to oneself and other people, helping in providing human needs to clients, helping to build trust in human care relationships, and expressing positive and negative feelings among others (McCance, McKena, & Boore, 1999).

Schroeder and Neil (1992) used Watson’s theory of human caring to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a nurse-directed HIV/AIDS setup. The study involved many people living with HIV/AIDS whereby they told their real-life stories, which were moving and touching. The researchers recruited 48 informants from different groups (for example, acutely ill, long-term survivors among others) into the study. These informants responded to the set questions related to their life experiences in the HIV/AIDS facility. All respondents from different client groups were males. Data from this research shows that most patients spoke highly of the caring given by the nurses in the facility. Moreover, the research findings show that theory-based nursing practice is a reality in the facility under review.

This research uses Watson’s theory fully and even the HIV/AIDs center’s mission captures Watson’s ideology by emphasizing “Respect for the uniqueness and individuality of each person and belief that health and well-being are multidimensional” (Schroeder & Neil, 1992, p. 105). This research has far-reaching implications for nursing practice because it shows the significance of implementing Watson’s theory in real-life situations whereby human caring is a priority. Most importantly, the study demonstrates that Watson’s model is particularly useful for nurses who are taking care of HIV/AIDS positive patients or those with chronic illnesses.

In another study, Pipe (2007) uses theory-driven evidence-based practice to optimize nursing care. Pipe (2007) reckons that it is a challenge in the nursing profession to blend both theory-based care and evidence-based practice (EBP). As a result, the study shows the importance of Watson’s theory of human caring and emphasizes the need to prioritize the nursing profession and patient safety as the major aspects that play a central role in choosing a theory to show EBP. According to pipe (2007), nurses are particularly enthusiastic when the theory helps them to link the caring attributes with the wellbeing of their patients.

From a personal perspective, Watson’s model of human caring is useful and appropriate in the nursing profession because it focuses on the plight of nurses as well as the patients’ needs. This theory also recognizes the uniqueness of each person as well as the wellbeing of the patients under the care of nurses. Furthermore, many studies have evaluated and documented the effectiveness of Watson’s theory in nursing care (Schroeder & Neil, 1992). Finally, this model shows the significance of nurses in meeting the needs and preferences of their clients.


McCance, V., McKena, H. P., & Boore, J. R. (1999). Caring: Theoretical perspectives of relevance to nursing. Journal of advanced nursing, 30(6), 1388-1395.

Pipe, T. B. (2007). Optimizing nursing care by integrating theory-driven evidence based practice. Journal of nursing care quality, 22(3), 234-238.

Schroeder, C., & Neil R. M. (1992). Focus groups: A humanistic means of evaluating an HIV/AIDS programme based on caring theory. Journal of clinical nursing, 1, 265 274.

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