Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring

March 28, 2017 September 11th, 2017 Nursing

Dr. Jean Watson’s Theory: The Philosophy and Science of Caring

“Caring is the essence of nursing”~Dr. Jean Watson Major Concepts of Watson’s theory:

  • •Main focus in nursing is on carative factors
  • •For nurses to develop humanistic philosophies and value sytem
  • •The caring stance that nursing has is threatened by the demands of the curative factors ( Sitzman, 2007)
  • •Published 1979 •Includes ten carative factors (Cara, 2003)

The Ten Primary Carative Factors

  • 1. The formation of a humanistic- altruistic system of values.
  • 2. The installation of faith-hope.
  • 3. The cultivation of sensitivity to one’s self and to others.
  • 4. The development of a helping-trust relationship
  • 5. The promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings.
  • 6. The systematic use of the scientific problem-solving method for decision making
  • 7.The promotion of interpersonal teaching-learning.
  • 8. The provision for a supportive, protective and /or corrective mental, physical, socio-cultural and spiritual environment.
  • 9. Assistance with the gratification of human needs.
  • 10. The allowance for existential-phenomenological forces. (Cara, 2003)

Notes: Watson views the carative factors as a guide for the core of nursing.

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The first three carative factors form the philosophical base for the science of caring. The remaining seven carative factors are derived from the foundation laid by the first three. The goal of nursing within Watson’s theory focuses on helping people to gain a higher degree of harmony within the mind, body and soul. She maintains that this goal is achieved through these ten caring interventions. (McCance, 1999)

Notes Cont. :

  • 1. Formation of a humanistic- altruistic system of values: Is formed through one’s own life experiences and the learning one gains. Necessary to the nurse’s individual maturation which in turn promotes altruistic behavior towards others.
  • 2. Faith-hope-When medicine has nothing further to offer the patient, the nurse can continue to use faith-hope to provide a sense of well-being through beliefs meaningful to the individual.
  • 3. Cultivation of sensitivity to one’s self and to others- Development of one’s own feeling is needed to interact genuinely and sensitively with others.
  • 4. Establishing a helping-trust relationship- Strongest tool. Communication includes verbal, nonverbal and listening in a manner which promotes empathetic understanding.
  • 5. The expression of feelings, both positive and negative- Awareness of the feelings helps to understand the behavior it engenders.
  • 6. The systematic use of the scientific problem-solving method for decision making- Watson supports the need to examine all methods of knowing to provide a holistic perspective.
  • 7. Promotion of interpersonal teaching-learning- Understanding the person’s perception of their situation helps the nurse to prepare an appropriate POC.
  • 8. Provision for a supportive, protective and /or corrective mental, physical, socio-cultural and spiritual environment- Nurse provides support and protection for the person’s mental and physical well-being through comfort, privacy, and safety.
  • 9. Assistance with the gratification of human needs- She developed a hierarchy of needs. According to her each need is equally important for quality nursing care and the promotion of optimal health.
  • 10. Allowance for existential-phenomenological forces- A way of understanding people from the way things appear to them, from their frame of view.

Assists the person to find the strength or courage to confront life or death. (McCance, 1999) Conclusion The goal of Watson’s theory is to protect, enhance, and preserve humanity by helping a person find meaning in illness, suffering, pain, and existence. Watson contributes many useful concepts for the practice of nursing. She ties together many theories commonly used in nursing education which is helpful to practitioners of the art and science of nursing. The carative factors can give guidance to those who wish to employ them in practice or research.

Using her theory can add an element to practice that is both satisfying and challenging (Cara, 2003). Cara, C. (2003). A Pragmatic View of Jean Watson’s Caring Theory. International Journal for Human Caring, 7(3), 51. Retrieved from EBSCOhost. McCance T. V. , Mckenna H. P. & Boore J. R. P. (1999). Caring: theoretical perspectives of relevance to nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 30 (6), 1388-1395. Sitzman, K. L. (2007). Teaching-learning professional caring based on Jean Watson’s theory of human caring. International Journal for Human Caring, 11(4), 8-16. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.


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