As noted, although Abdellah's theory was patient-centered and involved the care of the patient, it was clinically based and emphasized the science of nursing. Such findings fit well with Jean Watson's theory of nursing, or caring science, which encompasses a humanitarian, human science orientation to the human caring processes and experiences. However, Watson's theoretical frame comes from a metaphysical basis rather than a scientific one. Caring science consists of the arts and humanities in addition to science. Watson states that "A caring science perspective is grounded in a relational ontology of being-in-relation, and a world view of unity and connectedness of all." The concept of Ttranspersonal Caring recognizes unity of life and interrelationships that move in concentric circles of caring -- from individuals, to the community, to the world, to the planet Earth, and to the universe (Watson School).
Watson (Intervarsity, 2005) emphasizes that due to the rise of bureaucratic practices, the foundation of medicine and hospitalized care has appeared to strip nursing of its heart and soul as well as its language, knowledge, and voice. "Yet, the irony is that the Self of nurses, the Self of systems and even society can no longer survive," she warns. "This is the time, if nursing is to survive, to bring forth its voice, heart and soul and informed moral actions to attend to sustaining and flourishing of human caring work in our world."
Caring science studies include concerns that are reflective, subjective and interpretative in addition to objective-empirical. Its science inquiry consists of ontological, philosophical, ethical, and historical issues. Multiple epistemological approaches to inquiry, including clinical and empirical, are also considered, but caring science is moving into new realms of study to discover other areas of knowledge, such as aesthetic, poetic, narrative, intuitive, kinesthetic, intentionality, metaphysical and moral-ethical knowing. To do so, caring science is beginning to work with other disciplines, such as general education, women/feminist studies, ecology, peace studies, philosophy and ethics, arts and humanities, and mind/body/spirit medicine.
Caring science is thus becoming an interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary field of study that is relevant to all of the health, education, and human service disciplines and professions. Clinical nurses and academic programs worldwide use Watson's theoretical approach on the philosophy of human caring and the art and science of caring in nursing. Her caring philosophy acts as the foundation of new models of caring and healing practices in different types of global settings. She states: "We are becoming more god like and divine as we move towards the light of our divinity, a level of connectedness, the oneness of all, attending to the implicate spiritual unfolding and evolving." Watson is attempting to direct nursing toward a new level of care but recognizes that "nursing, and indeed society, may simply not yet have the practical, religious, ethical, and professional knowledge and sophisticated research methods to professionally, safely, and ethically explore these assertions" (Intervarsity, 2005).
For example, she takes issue with the way that students are presently taught nursing by filling out worksheets and reading texts. This approach, she believes, closes "our mind and hearts...as we read lists of quotes from nursing theorists of the 1960's and 70's compared with those from the 1980's and 90's. She views the future of nursing, if it does survive, will depend upon nursing maturing as a distinct health, healing and caring profession, which it always was throughout history but has not yet actualized. Nursing has the challenge to develop in its own paradigm and share with others at the same time. All healthcare practitioners must work within a shared framework of caring relationships, together embracing healing arts, caring practices, and processes (Watson School). Thus, nursing stands at its own intersection of unknown possibilities and has the unique opportunity to build upon its rich heritage that was furthered by individuals such as Faye Abdellah with the evolution of science and technology.
Dodds, V. (2002). Nursing Spectrum. Career Management Magazine. Retrieved November 3, 2007. http://community.nursingspectrum.com/MagazineArticles/article.cfm?AID=7936
Haase, P.T. (1990) the origins and rise of associate degree nursing education. New York: Duke University Press
Intervarsity (2005). Discussion of nursing theories and underlying world views.
Website retrieved November 4, 2007. http://ncf.intervarsity.org/facgrad/forum/nsgtheories.html
Watson School of Nurse Caring. Jean Watson and the theory of caring. Website retrieved November 3, 2007.…