The improvements in health care system have placed a burden on the nurse’s workload and responsibilities. Along with this burden, nurses have often disregarded their caring attitude when faced with taxing situations. Jean Watson, famous for her Theory of Human Caring, wants the nurses to learn to cope with the complexities arising in every circumstance and to find ways of preserving their caring practice. The aims of this paper are the following: to utilize the synthesized literature regarding Jean Watson’s theory in order to evaluate its relevance to my personal experience. To utilize the theory to guide client-centered care and provide its implications to my future nursing practice.
Jean Watson views caring as the most valuable attribute nursing has to offer to humanity, yet caring has received less emphasis than other aspects of nursing over time (Watson, 2006). She believes that the disease might be cured but illness would still remain because without caring, health is not fully attained (Watson, 2006). Caring is the essence of nursing and it connotes responsiveness between the nurse and the patient (Watson, 2006). The ten carative factors, transpersonal caring relationship and the caring occasion constitute the elements of the Theory of Human Caring (Watson, 2006). In a study done by Ryan (2005) states that the nurses who were involved in her research have all agreed that they adopted and enact the caring theory in their everyday practice despite the obstacles that envelops them. The common theme found in the articles and was also emphasized in the theory are the use of effective communication and the nurse’s “caring moments” spent with the patients (Watson, 2006). Watson defined “caring moments” contact between patient and the nurse and the impact of the nurse to the patient that can produce a threatening or secure environment (Watson, 2006). Clarke (2009) also believes that these moments transform both the patient and nurse and binds them together. However, Hau (2004) opposed this by stating that the quality time spent in practicing holistic care is often unnecessary and unappreciated by other patients. She further stated that accurate nursing assessments, competent technical skills and abundance of medical resources are the main factors that facilitate the patient’s speedy treatment and discharge (Hau, 2004). However, Christiaens, Abegglen & Rowley (2008) believes that it is a fact that a number of physical symptoms rooted from mental/emotional/spiritual problems and improvements in quality of life are gained from it is through an effective holistic, client-focused caring that will improve their quality of life. To further confirm this belief, a comprehensive meta-analysis of 130 studies done conducted by Kristine Swanson (1999) reported that patients who received an effective holistic care have improved emotional-spiritual well being, decrease hospital costs, and an increase in trust relationships as opposed to those who did not receive quality holistic care who experienced decreased healing, vulnerability and lingering bad memories.
Based on the literature gathered, Sharon, the nurse who was a part of my personal experience demonstrated an exceptional application of Jean Watson’s theory in her practice. According to Watson, health cannot be fully attained without caring and my experience was an example of an excellent holistic care in combination with competent technical nursing skills. Sharon attended to my post-operative state by providing me her presence and prompt responses to my non-verbal cues. Sharon’s caring impact made a huge difference to my emotional well being which resulted to an overall positive impression during my hospital stay. I felt empowered despite my non-verbal condition because I knew my concerns were being responded to and I felt secured while I was under her care. Watson believes that the theory of caring is an endorsement of professional nursing identity and what Sharon demonstrated throughout my care is what embodies the nursing profession. The theory could be used not only by nurses that are working in a hospital setting but also in places faced with oppression, natural disasters, poverty and injustice. Watson’s theory emphasizes the humanistic aspects of nursing in combination with scientific knowledge, so it can be also applied in research by finding ways on how to deliver nursing care efficiently and in means that is acceptable to the patient. It guides the nurse to go beyond the application of technical nursing skills and show more concern towards the subjective and deeper meaning of the patient towards his/her health situation. Integration of the theory in my future nursing practice will assist in managing my priorities in order to spend uninterrupted time with my patients and pay attention to their fears or concerns regarding their care. It will aid in removing my biases and accepting the patient as unique individual regardless of their physical appearance, socioeconomic status, emotional needs or level of compliance. Lastly, it will remind me that every patient needs my unconditional support, positivity and encouragement to facilitate a faster recovery of not only the physical aspect of their stay but also the emotional/spiritual as it is a factor that will improve their quality of life.
The Theory of Human Caring can give language to what was before just thoughts and ideas regarding nursing. It guides nurses so that they can see, learn and express their own unique role in health care. Moreover, this theory shall bring the nurses to a realization that we need to transcend ourselves from a state that views nursing not as a job, but as a gratifying profession-a life-giving, life-receiving career for a lifetime of growth and learning.