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Jean Watson's caring theory and nursing Featured

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Jean Watson’s theory of caring was originally developed in 1970’s and has been amended several times to the postmodern transpersonal caring-healing paradigm, which is applicable to nursing practice and other disciplines.  The major conceptual elements of the theory include carative factors, transpersonal caring and caring moment.    

This model of caring can be described using nursing metaparadigm.  While describing nursing, Jean states that caring is “moral ideal.” She expound that the contact between two humans can help the sick discover new knowledge essential in recovery and harmony. Nurses are involved in partnerships with patients in the caring process where the goal is intersubjectivity.  Nurses are affect and are affected by the patient. The two are fully present in the moment and feel a sense of union (they share a phenomenal field). According to the theory, nursing is a human science that involves moral, spiritual and metaphysical components and nurses can use spirit to relate with patients. Human being should be valued and cared for, respected, understood and assisted.  The value system set in the theory regarding a theory of human care consists values associated with profound respect for life, the acknowledgement of a spiritual aspect to life and internal power of the care process (Watson, 2009). Watson conceptualizes humans as made of mind, soul and body). These elements influence each other. The congruent of self and person occur when the three elements are in harmony.  The harmony of these elements can be used to describe health.  According to Fitzpatrick and Whall (2005), health encompasses the unity of self (body, mind and soul).  Although Watson describes the environment in abstract, nurses play a crucial role in creating and regulating care environment that support and protect spirituality.

 The ten carative factors described by Watson correlates with ideas of nursing. The major elements of the carative factors include love, trust, spirituality, and altruism.  These factors can be used as entry to the theory and to understand complex philosophical themes.  Nursing is a core human science where illness experiences are mediated by professionals, scientific, personal and ethical human transactions.  Caring as the central component of nursing is oriented to health promotion and growth. These carative factors are essential characteristics, attitudes, and processes that nurses can use to promote health care and growth in individuals. In addition, Watson expanded her model by embracing the existential ethics of Lavinas and logsrtup, and specifies caring for self and others through caritas and communitas (Hesook & Kollak,2010). Caring involves actions and choices made by nurses and the patient.  The moment of interacting during the caring process presents the nurse and the patient an opportunity to decide the nature of the relationship (what to do with the moment).

It is no doubt that Watson provides useful concepts for nursing practice. She combines theories that are commonly used in nursing education.


Fitzpatrick, J. J., Whall, A. L. (2005). Conceptual models of nursing: analysis and application.

Hesook K & Kollak I (2006). Nursing theories.  Springer Publishing Company. New York.

Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Gina G (2010). Nursing Model: Jean Watson’s caring Theory. Accessed from on 3/20/2014.

Watson J (1999). Nursing: Human science and Human care. Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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