Jean Watson's Theory of Caring a Total Essay

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  • Subject: Health - Nursing
  • Type: Essay
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Jean Watson's Theory Of Caring

A TOTAL HEALING EXPERIENCE

Jean Watson's Theory of Caring

Every person or patient has needs, which must be uniquely recognized, respected, and filled in the quest for healing and wholeness. Caring for the patient not only enhances recovery in any mysterious way. It can also be demonstrated and practiced by those who care for patients, especially nurses. Caring occurs in an environment, which accepts the patient as a distinct being with distinct and unique potentials (Al-Sharmi, 2010; Conway et al., 2011). Caring promotes health better than simply curing an illness. It promotes growth through the patient's potentials. Caring is also central to nursing (Al-Sharmi). These basic principles form the core of Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring.

Watson conceived her Theory of Human Caring while she was teaching at the University of Colorado in 1975 to 1979 (Conway et al., 2011). It evolved from her personal views on nursing and merged with her learning and experience from her doctoral studies in education, clinical and social psychology. With the publication of her first book, Jean Watson developed the initial ideas of her theory and came up with 10 "carative" factors. Her actual theory was published in 1985, after which she further developed the corresponding nursing curriculum. In those years, Watson also extensively traveled in Asia and Australia while practiced. The prevailing influences in the nursing field at the time were those of Carl Rogers, Florence Nightingale and Leininger. Main psychological influences emanated from Maslow, Giorgi, Johnson and Koch. The major thought influences in the 70s were feminism, quantum physics, wisdom tradition, Eastern philosophy, the New Ate and metaphysics (Conway et al.).

II.Concepts

Its main concept is transpersonal human caring, best understood within the ancillary concepts of life, illness and health (Fawcett, 2002). It defines human life as "spiritual-mental-physical being-in-the-world," traversing continuously in time and space. Illness is not always a disease, but can also be a state of turbulence or disharmony in a person's inner self, whether in the conscious or unconscious level. And health is the unity and harmony of the mind, body and the soul. Transpersonal human caring and caring transactions refer to scientific, professional, ethical, aesthetic, creative and personalized giving and receiving behaviors and responses between nurse and patient. These interactions allow them to experience each other via physical, mental and spiritual paths or a combination of these paths. From these, it can be gleaned that the precise goal of nursing is to help the patient gain a higher degree of harmony in mind, body and soul. That harmony produces self-knowledge, self-respect, self-healing, and self-care processes (Fawcett).

Jean Watson sees caring as a science, characterized by a humanitarian and human science orientation with human caring processes, phenomena and experiences (Vance 2010). A caring science, in turn, draws from a relationship between beings and a world-view of connectedness among all beings. Watson promotes transpersonal caring. This caring acknowledges uniformity among all of life and the connections of caring from the individual, to others, to the community, to the country, to the world, the planet. Using her theory, investigations take on a reflective, subjective, interpretative and objective-empirical route. It probes into the situation in an ontological, philosophical, ethical, and historical manner. It goes further into the aesthetic, poetic, narrative, personal, intuitive, and metaphysical and spiritual-moral realms. It continually proves to have relevance in all health, education, human service fields and professions (Watson, 2003 as qtd in Vance).

The top 10 caring behaviors introduced by Watson are attentive listening, comforting, honesty, patience, responsibility, sensitivity, respect, calling the patient by name and providing information for informed decision (Vance, 2010). These are exercised by nurses in their practice. These behaviors help the patient achieve a higher degree of harmony within his person. This harmony is achieved through caring transactions, which form transpersonal caring relationships. This transpersonal caring shows up in an actual caring event or occasion. It views the patient or person as a whole and complete entity, independent of illness and other circumstances. Through these behaviors, the nurse endeavors to connect with the patient's inner self through the caring and healing processes (Watson, 2003 as qtd in Vance).

Jean Watson sees caring as a science, characterized by a humanitarian and human science orientation with human caring processes, phenomena and experiences (Vance 2010). A caring science, in turn, draws from a relationship between beings and a world-view of connectedness among all beings. Watson promotes transpersonal caring. This caring acknowledges uniformity among all of life and the connections of caring from the individual, to others, to the community, to the country, to the world, the planet. Using her theory, investigations take on a reflective, subjective, interpretative and objective-empirical route. It probes into the situation in an ontological, philosophical, ethical, and historical manner. It goes further into the aesthetic, poetic, narrative, personal, intuitive, and metaphysical and spiritual-moral realms. It continually proves to have relevance in all health, education, human service fields and professions (Watson, 2003 as qtd in Vance).

III. Application

One role a nurse can play in her caring and healing function in relation to Watson's theory of caring is to cultivate or strengthen hope in inmates. The nurse herself performs her duties from the same hope that she can contribute to the inmate's cure or well-being (Vance, 2010). By hoping, she commits herself to the inmate's cure or improvement. Hope is not just a wish but an awareness of the actual moment and all its possibilities (Schoenhofer, 2002 as qtd in Vance). It may be that all the help needed by the inmate is precisely for someone to stimulate that hope. If the nurse or another person cares enough to honor his hope and expresses genuine support for him as a person, the inmate may be encouraged to believe in himself again and reboot his damaged life. The nurse guides him to do that through hope. She does this with an awareness of preconceived beliefs and morals pertaining to the culture of the individual inmate. She is, however, trained to sublimate these preconceived beliefs and morals and to perceive the individual independently of these (Vance).

Latest statistics say that approximately 2 million persons are kept in jails and prisons in the U.S. (Vance, 2010). Many of them also suffer from medical conditions, mostly because of age, and as a result of incarceration. Jean Watson introduced a caring and healing theory, which views a person as an integrated entity with its own value. It says that caring may not always cure but curing cannot occur without caring. Many nurses apply Watson's theory in their health care practices. But studies showed a number of barriers encountered by these nurses in actual jail and prison settings, which hamper or negate their caring practice, such as the custodian officers' attitude and the inexperience of prison health staff. Alternative strategies have been established to ensure that their culturally competent programs may produce desired effects or maintain them. These are effective treatment for medical conditions and remedies in cases when imprisonment is not imposed. These remedies directly repair damage inflicted on society by the crime (Vance).

IV. Analysis of Assumptions

The theory of human caring by Jean Watson involves caring actions by nurses in iheir interaction with others (Fawcett, 2002). Its values and assumptions have a metaphysical, phenomenological-existential and spiritual slant, based on Eastern philosophy. Its values include a deep respect for the wonder and mysteries of life and the power of the human being to change; high regard and respect for the spiritual or subjective nature of each person to grow and to change; and a non-paternalistic scheme to help the person or patient acquire greater self-knowledge, self-control and self-healing, whatever his or her illness. Its assumptions relate with human life, nursing science and nursing processes. Jean Watson's concept of human life draws from the belief that the soul possesses a body that is not limited by physical or concrete space and time. Experiencing a person is not subjected or limited to either external or internal perceptions of time or space. Rather, it determines its own time and space, which have no constraints. Watson also perceives nursing as a human science dealing with persons and health-illness experiences of human beings. These experiences are mediated by professional, personal, scientific, aesthetic, and ethical human care transactions. Human care is the process of nursing (Fawcett).

V. Jean Watson's Carative Factors

In her original work, these 10 carative factors are the formation of a humanistic-altruistic system of values; instillation of faith and hope; cultivation of sensitivity to one's self and to others; the development of a helping and trusting, human caring relationship; promotion and acceptance of the expression of either positive or negative feelings; a systematic use of a creative problem-solving caring process; the promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning; the provision for a specifically needed environment; assistance in the satisfaction of human needs; and allowance for existential-phenomenal-spiritual forces (Watson, 2006 as qtd in Current Nursing, 2010). Her intention was to transform carative factors into clinical caritas processes. Her…

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