Nursing Profession: The Theory of Human Caring

The relationship between a nurse and patient is more than professional since a nurse has to be a friend of the patient. It is imperative for the nurse to encourage the patient at all times so as to enable the patient to recuperate faster (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2008). This study analyzes the theory of human caring in the nursing profession based on the theories of Jean Watson. Furthermore, it also provides the background of Jean Watson as well as my own personal experience with a patient while offering care.

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A caring moment refers to the situation when the nurse and the patient conscientiously connect with one another in a friendly and comforting manner and through different nursing actions (Watson, 2009). This is achievable through many nursing actions that ensure that at the end of the day both the patient and the nurse are nourished. The nurse should be able to soothe the patient if he/she is agitated in any way, either because they are unable to come to terms with their new condition or they do not understand the condition. Furthermore, the nurse has to act in the best interest of the patient at all times (Kim, 2010).

Watson’s background as a nurse and a theorist is well described by her academic achievements as an author and formulator of the basic theories of human care. Her theories have been developed due to many years of research and analysis and are currently being applied worldwide in hospitals and schools of medicine and nursing (Alligood, 2014). More so, Watson insists that the nurse should nurture respect and be attentive to the patient at all times (Kim & Kollak, 2006). A caring moment is of utmost importance to the recovery process of any patient.

Jean Watson’s theory of human caring consists of several carative factors which are a caring relationship between the nurse and patient and a caring moment (Meleis, 2011). In addition, other elements comprising Jean Watson’s theory are more elaborate opinions of self and individuality which include a caring spirit that enhances the healing process, the energetic aspect of a caring consciousness and a uniformity of consciousness (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2011). Carative factors focus more on the specific needs of the patient and are completely different in medicine and nursing (Alligood, 2014). In most cases, the doctor will only write a prescription and it is the duty of the nurse to monitor and ascertain the safety of the patient. Furthermore, in most cases the doctor is not even present. The role of the nurse is very vital in cases whereby a specific nurse neglects a patient the effects become detrimental.

The interaction between a nurse and a patient should be very phenomenal and the nurse should always befriend a patient (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2008). The nurse should be able to encourage patients going through tough situations.

In my experience while taking care of a patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was able to engage in prayers with a patient and even connect spiritually. I held the patient’s hand and we prayed together since this patient had just discovered that she had acquired breast cancer. The patient had not fully accepted the diagnosis and she was extremely agitated, thus I had to sit with her and listen to what the patient was saying. Furthermore, I was affectionate to the patient and at no instance did I let go the patient’s hand. It was during this whole experience that I found out that I had extraordinary qualities in human caring that I was not aware of previously. In addition, I learnt that a positive interaction between us was enough nourishment to her soul since I was a big encouragement to the patient. More so, a healthy and stressed individual needs someone to talk to, and when considering the case of a stressed patient, the care and affection need becomes even greater (Kim, 2010).

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The effect of this interaction with the patient is very positive and ensures that the patient gains hope, something that hastens the recovery process, since recovery is not only physical, but also emotional and spiritual (Kim & Kollak, 2006). In cases whereby the patient is agitated, recovery might even be impossible. Secondly, the patient regards the nurse as a friend and is able to tell the nurse anything. Some nurses are very hostile to patients and this makes patients have a tendency to endure a lot of pain, as they are scared of being scolded by the nurses. At the end of the day the patient might end up dead or in a worse condition. The interaction enables the patient to have a positive perception of the nurse (Meleis, 2011). The patient recognizes the nurse’s care and this enables a speedy recovery.

The caring moment or interaction between the nurse and the patient can be enhanced in many ways by the nurse. The first thing the nurse can do is to nurture the patient. The nurse should not focus on the negative aspects of the patient’s illness and should be able to have a motivating conversation with the patient. For example, in my case a patient had breast cancer and I had the ability to encourage this patient until she was hopeful again by applying my caring techniques which I never knew I possessed, and in the end we both grew together in faith and hope. Secondly, the nurse should comfort the patient at all times (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2011). Furthermore, when a patient is comforted, the recuperation process becomes faster.

In addition, the nurse should be generous with the patient by investing her time in the patient care. In some cases, nurses on duty do not devote enough time to their patients, causing them to recover slowly (Kim, 2010). The nurses should also be attentive to the patient, in some cases the patient may nag. The nurse should not get angry with the patient because of this nagging, but should exercise tolerance with the patient (Watson, 2009). Some patients will tend to pester nurses at all times and the nurse should be able to tirelessly attend to the needs of the patient. In cases where a patient’s request is impossible, the nurse should be able to calmly explain the situation to the patient and calm him/her down (De Chesnay &Anderson, 2008).

The nursing model, as it relates to the caring moment and interaction, consists of various aspects. The concept of the caring moment is applicable in many instances in the nursing field. Firstly, the caring moment concept acts as a guideline for the nursing course work. The training to become a nurse involves a full understanding of the process of interaction with a patient (Sitzman &Eichelberger, 2011). This enables a nurse to attend to a patient in an appropriate way. Secondly, the caring moment is used as an aid in conducting research and inquiry (Kim, 2010). A standard is set on the appropriate interactions between the nurse and the patient, hence, when a nursing research is being done, the caring moment acts as a guideline to the research (Meleis, 2011). In addition, the caring moment is an administrative tool in nursing and the health care system. It acts as a regulator in the nursing profession and a specific nurse can be held accountable based on the principles of the caring moment.

Watson’s carative factors have been utilized in the caring moment. These carative factors are: humane system of value, faith, being hopeful, provision of help, being frank with positive and negative views and problem solving in a caring manner (Watson, 2009). Other carative factors include transpersonal relationships in the teaching-learning process, aiding the needs of humanity, existential and phenomelogical forces that are spiritual in nature (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2008). The caring moment applies all the carative factors in various ways.

Faith and hope become applicable in the caring moment in several situations. An ailing patient undergoes a very trying time, without faith the patient develops a negative attitude. Lack of faith in the patient by the nurse will cause the nurse to serve the patient poorly (Kim & Kollak, 2006). In cases where the nurse has lost faith in the patient, the effects become adverse instantly. Hope is of utmost importance, both the patient and the nurse should be hopeful. If the patient despairs, the recovery process slows down, and if the nurse despairs, the patient’s environment stops being conducive, because the efficiency of the nurse in carrying out her duties is significantly reduced (De Chesnay & Anderson, 2008).

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Provision of help or human care relationship is imperative in the concept of caring moment. The main obligation of the nurse is to monitor the patient’s condition and provide appropriate help (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2011). If a nurse does not have the goodwill to assist the patient, the effects become detrimental to the patient. The nursing profession is a calling and a nurse has to go an extra mile so as to ensure the patient’s recuperation (Kim, 2010). A nurse should be able to provide help to the patient at all times.

The ability to express positive and negative views is applicable in the caring moment in an enormous way. If a patient is agitated, he/she should be able to tell the nurse where the problem is (Watson, 2009). On the other hand, a nurse may also feel annoyed with the patient. A patient might pester a nurse all the time, and in a case like that, the nurse should be able to calm the patient and correct him/her (Kim, 2010). Positive views should also be expressed; the nurse should complement the patient. For example, if the patient had lost appetite and later on the patient clears his/her plate of food, the nurse should congratulate the patient so as to motivate him/her.

Problems will always be there in life and the nursing profession is not an exception. The important thing is to solve these problems in an appropriate way which is applicable in the caring moment (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2011). For example, if an admitted patient has problems with his/her bladder and is unable to walk to the bathroom, he will keep on calling the nurse because he/she needs help. It is human nature to get tired of disturbance, but the nurse has to have an extra layer of perseverance. The nurse has to be able to provide the patient with an appropriate means of relieving themselves (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2011).

Analyzing the factors that have driven nursing theory development, the first factor is the ability to bring meaning and focus to the nursing profession (Kim & Kollak, 2006). The nursing profession has to be different and unique; in order to achieve this, many nursing theories had to be developed. The nursing profession has to play a specific role in society, the development of theories acts as an aid in the definition of these roles (De & Anderson, 2008). Setting of professional standards becomes really difficult in cases where there are no theories.

Secondly, the access to an integrated nursing curriculum also acts as a drive to the development of nursing theories (Meleis, 2011). An individual who is not conversant with the nursing profession and curriculum cannot formulate a nursing theory. For example, Jean Watson had engaged in doctoral studies and was familiar with the nursing curriculum in many universities (Meleis, 2011). This motivated her to formulate the theory of human caring. Access to different curriculums of nursing also acted as a drive to the development of nursing theories (Kim, 2010). Another factor, that contributed to the development of nursing theories, is the aspect of universality. There was need for a common benchmark to be set in the nursing profession. This made the development of nursing theories become rampant (Alligood, 2014).

Technology has become a current trend in the whole world and future nursing theories will have to integrate the aspect of technology. Nursing theories that focus more on technology may come into play (Sitzman &Eichelberger, 2011). In addition, developments in other professions may also drive future nursing theories. The nursing profession does not exist in isolation and changes in other professions like law, medicine, pharmacy and engineering will also affect the nursing profession (Alligood, 2014). The changes in the nursing curriculums over time will also affect future development of nursing theories as well as research findings from other nursing scholars (Kim & Kollack, 2006). The curriculum that was used before is not sufficient to formulate the nursing theories that will be used in future.

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The nursing practice might change due to technological advancements and increased demand for the nursing service (Kim, 2010). Changes in technology will affect the nursing profession in a massive way. For example, surveillance cameras are placed in the hospital rooms and the management is able to monitor what a specific nurse is doing (Kim & Kollack, 2006). In future the surveillance of the nurses in hospitals might become stricter, hence the nurses will have to adapt to these conditions (Meleis, 2011). Moreover, many individuals might even have private nurses. The current trend, especially among the rich in society, to have a private doctor and a private nurse will lead to the significantly increased demand for the nursing service.


Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theory Utilization & application (4th ed) Maryland Heights, (MO): Mosby-Elsevier.

De Chesnay, C. M., & Anderson, B. A. (2008). Caring for the vulnerable: Perspectives in nursing theory, practice, and research. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Kim, H. S., & Kollak, I. (2006). Nursing theories: Conceptual & philosophical foundations. New York, NY: Springer Pub. Co.

Kim, H. S. (2010). The nature of theoretical thinking in nursing. New York: Springer Pub. Co.

Meleis, A. I. (2011). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Sitzman, K., & Eichelberger, L. W. (2011). Understanding the work of nurse theorists: A creative beginning. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

Watson, J (2009). Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring. New York, NY: Brown and Co.

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