Theorist Identification and Rationale
Nursing theories form the basis of practice, informing nurses about the fundamental aspects of nursing practice and shaping their thoughts and considerations within the field. As such, nurses rely on these theories to determine how they approach certain situations within their practice. Each theory is, however, considered based on its validity and relevance within the situation at hand. Grand theories are particularly general and can be applied within a variety of contexts within nursing practice. The Jean Watsons theory of Human Caring can be considered a grand nursing theory and its value within the field of nursing cannot be overemphasized. Nevertheless, to appreciate the theorys significance, it is important to assess what the theory is all about and how it applies in nursing practice. This report explores the value of the Jean Watsons theory of Human Caring in clinical practice. Similarly, it offers a rationale for the incorporation of the theory in health care practice and evaluation.
The Jean Watson Theory of Human Caring
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The theory of human caring primarily emphasizes the role of the nurse as a human being, reaching out and caring for the patient, who is also a human being, in a holistic and effective manner. Nurses truly care about their patients and thus can show this in their actions (Watson Caring Science Institute, 2010). A nurse is a caregiver by profession; hence, caring for the patient seems like a basic concept within nursing care. However, the theory defines the difference that the nurse should actually care for the patient as a human being and not simply in a scientific context as a medical client. To create this kind of bond or relationship with the patient, nurses have to understand and embrace a number of perspectives and philosophies that underlie the theory. These are a part of the ten primary carative factors that define the role and responsibilities of the nurse. The philosophical foundation of the theory is thus found in altruistic-humanistic values, namely faith, hope, and sensitivity.
An altruistic-humanistic set of values refers to a specified behavioral component that allows the nurse to behave in a certain way towards other people. The theory argues that while the altruistic-humanistic set of values is often developmental and starts forming with nurses interactions with their parents at an early age, it is up to nurses to sharpen these values and embed them into their daily practices as a sign of maturity (Nursing Theory, n.d.). Faith-hope, on the other hand, refers to a combination of beliefs that transcend medical science. To care for the patient, nurses need to be able to accept the situation when there is nothing more to be done for the patient. Within these circumstances, the nurse should be able to have hope and faith in divine intervention or, at least, to believe in a higher power or a better place in the afterlife. These beliefs enable the nurse to be compassionate and support patients in terminal situations. As for the sensitivity, it should be appreciated that nurses are primarily like leaders. Without a high emotional intelligence, the leader may not be able to lead at all. Similarly, without sensitivity to oneself, the nurse cannot be sensitive to others.
Major Concepts of the Theory
This theory is built on four major concepts, namely human being, health, environment, and nursing. Human beings are defined within the theory as valued people who require care, understanding, nurturing, and assistance regardless of their situation (Watson Caring Science Institute, 2010). It means that individuals in this context are respected for simply being people, without considering their physical, emotional, mental, financial, social, or even sexual peculiarities. The theory primarily advocates respecting and valuing human life regardless of the context. Harboring such a value enables the nurse practitioner to appreciate all the patients in various circumstances in which they have to work. Health, on the other hand, is defined as a high level of functioning attained and maintained through the absence of illness. The theory also provides for a definition of health where there is a presence of efforts towards the absence of illness. It means that a healthy person is not only the one who is free from diseases but also the one who is making the right efforts towards eliminating the illness. The environment within this theory refers to how caring the attitude created within the society is. The theory emphasizes the creation and transmission of the caring attitude through learning and practice. As for nursing, this theory focuses on health promotion and human transactions as related to health care. The theorist underlines the role of the nurse as a human being, interacting with other individuals who need care.
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Rationale for Application in Practice
When applied in practice, the theory of care particularly enables the nurse to focus on the needs of the patients beyond the medical scenario based on the core concepts. First, by defining the human being as a valued person who requires care regardless of the circumstances, nurses will be able to forego any differences that they may have with patients, such as religious, political, or even philosophical ones, to provide them with the care they need (Nursing Theory, n.d.). Nurses who can show genuine and sufficient care to a patient are more likely to gain the patients trust compared to those who are superficial in their interactions. Thus, the first concept of this theory helps the nurse to develop a bond with the patient by being genuinely concerned.
Health is defined as a high level of functioning, and the main role of the nurse is to help patients to not only attain but also to maintain their health. On the one hand, it can be appreciated that the primary role of a nurse is to provide patients with medical care services as they deal with an illness (Davies, 2005). Caring, however, goes beyond the efforts to eliminate a disease. Nurses who really care for the patient always work towards ensuring that patients can maintain their health after recovering. The follow-ups and health promotion techniques applied are often aimed at keeping the patient in good health for as long as possible. Without the basic philosophies of this theory, it would be difficult for nurses to consider it their responsibility to follow up with patients after they were treated and discharged. Nevertheless, caring transcends treatment and focuses on health promotion for the benefit of the patient.
The theory emphasizes the need to share the kind of knowledge acquired over time and pertaining to the subject of caring to create a caring attitude which is not really inherited but rather taught. To develop a caring attitude that is positively effective within the environment, there is a need for nurses to understand what it means to care. They have to embrace the entire concept of caring, along with its limitations and challenges. This is in line with the developmental concept that encourages continuous learning in nursing. If nurses believe that they need to learn and teach continuously, they will not have a problem with the idea of continuing education and learning new things every day.
The definition of nursing presented in this theory is rather effective in the treatment of patients in a way that is likely to improve their well-being (Davies, 2005). Dealing with patients in a mechanical context often has no effect on their health. If patients are going through a difficult situation with their health and they cannot reach out to the nurse, it is likely that it will result in emotional, psychological, or even spiritual burdens that they carry with them. However, if patients are capable of trusting the nurse enough to talk about their problems, it is likely that the nurse would be able to offer some comfort depending on the situation at hand. Generally, nurses who can show that they care about the patient as genuinely as possible are more likely to meet the needs of the patient holistically.
All of the concepts in this theory are perfectly aligned with the requirements of nursing in relation to how nurses need to treat and interact with their patients. The theory is specifically constructed to direct nurses thoughts towards positivity for the patient. All the definitions indicate a genuine and deep concern for the patient as well as an intrinsic aspiration to help those in need. If this theory is adapted within a health care facility, the nurses would be able to cultivate care and concern for their patients and indulge the patients as much as they can to form lasting and functioning relationships for easier health promotion. Jean Watsons theory of Human Caring presents an interesting perspective on the role of a nurse within the health care facility, thus ensuring that the patient is fully taken care of at all times. It is one of the most effective nursing theories and is particularly useful in situations where the patient needs psychological or emotional support while at the facility.