Jean Watson

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Jean Watson: 

Jean Watson Philosophy and Science of Caring


Jean Watson has claimed that her caring theory was developed while she was having a personal experience (Husband’s Death) in her life. She molded her professional and personal life in order to develop her theory.


Education Graduated High School in West Virginia Graduated the Lewis Gale School of Nursing in 1961. Baccalaureate degree in Nursing from University of Colorado, Boulder Campus in 1964. Master’s Degree in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing from University of Colorado, Health Sciences Campus in 1966. Doctorate in Educational Psychology and Counseling from the University of Colorado, Graduate School in 1973.


Employment Dr. Jean Watson is Distinguished Professor of Nursing and holds an endowed Chair in Caring Science at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. She is founder of the original Center for Human Caring in Colorado and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing She previously served as Dean of Nursing at the University Health Sciences Center and is a Past President of the National League for Nursing Involved in early planning of the PhD program in Colorado Published Writer Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring (1979, 1985) Nursing: Human Science and Human Care – A Nursing Theory (1985, 1988, 1999) Postmodern Nursing and Beyond (1999)


Achievements Recipient of several awards and honors including: an international Kellogg Fellowship in Australia, a Fulbright Research Award in Sweden and six Honorary Doctoral Degrees, including 3 International Honorary Doctorates (Sweden, United Kingdom, and Quebec) She was the 1993 recipient of the National League for Nursing Martha E. Rogers Award, which recognizes a nurse scholar who has made significant contributions to nursing knowledge that advances the science of caring in nursing and health sciences. New York University recognized her as a Distinguished Nurse Scholar In 1999, the Fetzer Institute honored her with the national Norman Cousins Award in recognition of her commitment to developing; maintaining and exemplifying relationship-centered care practices.

The Caritas Process: 

The Caritas Process Caritas comes from the Latin word meaning to cherish, to appreciate, to give special attention, if not loving, attention to; it connotes something that is very fine, that indeed is precious Both postmodern and traditional Invites nurse to explore the intersection between personal and professional

Overview of the Caring Theory: 

Overview of the Caring Theory The original theory developed in 1979, was organized around 10 carative factors: Formation of a Humanistic-altruistic system of values; Instillation of faith-hope; Cultivation of sensitivity to one's self and to others; Development of a helping-trusting, human caring relationship; Promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings; Systematic use of a creative problem-solving caring process; Promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning; Provision for a supportive, protective, and/or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment; Assistance with gratification of human needs; Allowance for existential-phenomenological-spiritual forces.


As Jean developed her theory over time, she became to change these carative factors into clinical caritas processes. These included: Formation of humanistic-altruistic system of values, becomes: "Practice of loving-kindness and equanimity within context of caring consciousness Instillation of faith-hope, becomes: "Being authentically present, and enabling and sustaining the deep belief system and subjective life world of self and one-being-cared- for"; Cultivation of sensitivity to one's self and to others, becomes: "Cultivation of one's own spiritual practices and transpersonal self, going beyond ego self"; Development of a helping-trusting, human caring relationship, becomes: "Developing and sustaining a helping-trusting, authentic caring relationship";


Promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings, becomes: "Being present to, and supportive of the expression of positive and negative feelings as a connection with deeper spirit of self and the one-being-cared-for"; Systematic use of a creative problem-solving caring process, becomes: "creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process; to engage in artistry of caring-healing practices"; Promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning, becomes: "Engaging in genuine teaching-learning experience that attends to unity of being and meaning attempting to stay within other's frame of reference"; Provision for a supportive, protective, and/or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment, becomes: "Creating healing environment at all levels, (physical as well as non-physical, subtle environment of energy and consciousness, whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are potentiated"; Assistance with gratification of human needs, becomes: "assisting with basic needs, with an intentional caring consciousness, administering ‘human care essentials', which potentiate alignment of mind-body-spirit, wholeness, and unity of being in all aspects of care"; tending to both embodied spirit and evolving spiritual emergence; Allowance for existential-phenomenological-spiritual forces, becomes: "opening and attending to spiritual-mysterious, and existential dimensions of one's own life-death; soul care for self and the one-being-care-for.


The nurse seeks to recognize, accurately detect, and connect with the inner condition of spirit of another through genuine presence and being centered in the caring moment; actions, words, behaviors, cognition, body language, feelings, intuition, thought, senses, the energy field, and so on, all contribute to transpersonal caring connection A caring occasion occurs whenever the nurse and another come together with their unique life histories and phenomenal fields in a human-to-human transaction

Jean Watson’s Definition of the Metaparadigm: 

Jean Watson’s Definition of the Metaparadigm Person A human being has needs (biophysical, psychophysical, psychosocial and intrapersonal) that are to be valued, respected, supported and cared for.


Environment The environment should be conducive to holistic healing (mentally, physically, socially, spiritually) as it is critical to the patients well being. Health Health is viewed in a holistic approach; it is being able to function mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially to your full capacity.


Nursing The contact and the bond between two individuals is the foundation of nursing. Providing professional, caring, and thoughtful interactions in order to promote holistic health and prevent illness.

Image of Nursing : 

Image of Nursing The time period in which Jean Watson created her caring theory was in the late 70’s to early 80’s. During this period, even though there were men in nursing, the image and identity problems was still focused on females. Across time the image of nursing in art, literature, movies and the media has been negative.


In 1983, Playboy ran the first face of a woman on the cover. Instead of a nude body, the face was that of a nurse. This was identified by her nurse’s cap.

Stereotypes of Nurses during this Time: 

Stereotypes of Nurses during this Time Angel of Mercy Handmaiden to the Physician Woman in White Sex Symbol Battle-Ax Torturer


Nursing is also known to the public as a woman giving sponge baths and cleaning bed pans These negative images of the nurse have been instilled in the public’s consciousness and to present we still face many of these stereotypes. Ex. Many people still dress up for Halloween as a “sexy nurse”.


In Watson’s words, nurses “are searching for the way to care in a society that refuses to value caring, and the way to serve without being subservient”.

A view from Outside the Nursing Profession: 

A view from Outside the Nursing Profession Muff (1988, p.200) in her research has found something that we believe as a group most students believe to be true. This is that, each instructor believes that his/her way is the right way. However, our profession is supposed to be about being autonomous nurses; people who can change and lead. Faculty and hospitals tend to reward this compliance and use of traditional values In essence, this underrates our profession because it suppresses our creative, inquisitive and risk taking behaviours, which could all push our profession to the next level.

Caring in Action: The Patient Care Facilitator Role: 

Caring in Action: The Patient Care Facilitator Role Summer of 2001 the Nurse Governance Council at the Baptist Hospital in Miami adopted Jean Watson’s philosophy and theory of caring. The nurses there felt that there were cracks in the health care system for patients, nurses and health care providers They researched the impact of the role of continuity of care for patients and caring behaviors of nurses


To heal these fractures they developed the Patient Care Facilitator Purpose of PCF is to enact professional nursing practice that exemplify both caring and continuity of care Caring was identified as a primary need of the patient PCF is an experienced nurse who provides leadership Control of only small group of patients (12-16)


Primary role is to know each patient in that area and serve as an advocate for the course of their stay They act as a liaison PCF becomes a consistent person that the patient and family see daily While other health care members are concentrating elsewhere the PCF is working always on care activities


As they developed the role of PCF they researched strategies on how to evaluate the effectiveness of the model Determined that the purpose was to look at the impact of the nursing care delivery model changes on continuity of care since the PCF role Jean Watson’s philosophy and theory of caring guided their research


Compared those patients who had contact with a PCF and those who did not They used a questionnaire for those in the health care team who had worked with a PCF Interviewed 27 patients and staff Questionnaire for approx. 559 patients


The PCF role increased the continuity of care for the patients Patients who had a PCF for their care said that they felt ready to go home earlier that those who did not have a PCF

Our Philosophy of Nursing: 

Our Philosophy of Nursing Nursing Nursing is a holistic practice that should incorporate physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental and psychological wellness. Person When looking at the idea of person, it is important to consider all parts of a person including: physical and psychological, socio-cultural, developmental, and spiritual. This is a very important concept to discuss because nursing is centered on client care and caring for a person, so it is important to understand all aspects of a person.


Environment Anything internal or external that may affect the holistic well-being of the client. Health Health is being in a state of wellness. The idea of being “healthy” involves being active and fit, eating properly, and being able to cope with stressors within your environment.


Comparison Our philosophy of nursing is very similar in all aspects of the metaparadigms as Jean Watson’s. We both incorporate all aspects of person and environment into nursing in order to provide holistic care


A “good” nurse cannot be defined only by her skills but also by how well she interacts with the client and family while providing care.


References Frisch, N. (2001). Nursing as a context for alternative/complementary modalities. Online Journal of Issues in nursing. Retrieved on October 27, 2006 from Muff, J. (1988). Of Images and Ideals: a look at socialization and sexism in nursing. Tomey, A.M., Alligood, M.R. (2006). Nursing Theorists and Their Work: 6th Edition. St.Louis: Mosby. University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center, School of Nursing. (2006). Watson’s Caring Theory. Retrieved October 27,2006 from

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