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human caring theory
RN, PhD, HNC, FAAN
RN, PhD, HNC, FAAN
Dr. Jean Watson was born and raised in West Virginia, USA.
She moved to Boulder, Colorado and has resided there since 1962
Watson is well recognized worldwide for her theories on Human Caring and The Art and Science of Caring in Nursing (Watson Caring Science Institute, 2009). She has accomplished much in her extensive career, and has profoundly impacted the way nurses give care. Dr. Watson is currently
the Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Colorado and holds an endowed Chair in Caring Science at the University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Center Campus (Watson, 1997).
She devotes her life to spreading her message of care and compassion throughout the world of nursing.
Qualifications and Accomplishments
Dr. Watson has obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and psychiatric-mental health nursing as well as earning her PhD in educational psychology and counseling (Watson, 2007).
She is the creator of the Center for Human Caring and The International Caritas Consortium (Watson Caring Science Institute, 2009).
The center’s goal is to educate nurses on the importance of integrating care and compassion with the science and technology of today’s healthcare systems to better serve patients. She has also written over fourteen books about her caring theories as well as being the nation’s
first “endowed chair in the caring science” in 1999 (Watson Caring Science Institute, 2009). Currently, Dr. Watson is a distinguished Professor of Nursing the University of Colorado working on creating the Watson Caring Institute, which is a non-profit agency that works with nurses and caregivers. She is hoping that by creating this agency, the awareness of the importance of care and compassion in the nursing profession will continue to be spread around the world (Watson Caring Science Institute, 2009).
Jean Watson’s nursing theories take into consideration the mind, body and spirit of the patient.
She believes that it is not the role of the nurse to cure the patient of his or her disease, but rather
“honor the human dimensions of nursing work and the inner life world and subjective experiences of the people [nurses] serve” (Watson, 1997, p. 50).
It is her belief that many nurses today are preoccupied by the tangible, scientific aspects of curing diseases and not placing enough value on in the spiritual, intangible phenomenon’s that take place in life and between two human beings (Watson, 1997).
Her work’s emphasis is on the dynamic between the nurse and the patient. She explores how this dynamic can directly affect how a patient feels about his or her current situation and how they heal
She feels nursing is an art, not a science (Watson, 1997).
Her work illustrates how caring is the lifeblood of the nursing profession and she has developed Ten Carative Factors that can be directly applied by any nurse in a
clinical setting to better
meet the emotional, spiritual and physical need of the patient.
More information on Dr. Waton's 10 Carative Factors and her other work available here:
Effects on Nursing
Today’s nursing practice is very much influenced by the theories created by Dr. Watson. Many institutions are introducing Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring as a guide to patient care. According to Caruso, Cisar and Pipe (2008); applying Watson’s theory not only allows for nurses to better care for patients as a whole, but is also allows for
nurses to better care for themselves as whole beings as well.
By following Watson’s Carative factors, nurses are able to look at the patient as a whole living, breathing, thinking, feeling person- not just a bed number or a lab report value. When Watson’s theories are applied in acute and chronic health care settings it provides a “guide to help articulate what nursing is and does, beyond task orientation”
(Caruso et al, 2008, p. 127).
So many advances in science and technology are being made today, that it is easy for any nurse to become engrossed in the physical components of nursing care. As vital as these advances are in understanding diseases, disorders and infections they are not the only determinants in well being. Dr. Watson’s theories allow for nurses to identify and incorporate the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs of a patient into his or her care.
(Melissa F., Sharon N.)
Enjoy this clip of Dr. Watson speaking at a conference in South America.
Caruso, E., Cisar, N, & Pipe, T. (2008). Creating a Healing Environment: An Innovative Educational Approach for Adopting Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring.
Nursing Administration Quarterly,
Watson, J. (1994). Jean Watson’s Philosophy of Nursing: Current Nursing. Retrieved from
*Watson, J. (1997). The theory of human caring: Retrospective and prospective.
Nursing Science Quarterly
*Watson, J. (2007). Dr Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Retrieved from
*Watson, J. (2009). Watson Caring Science Institute: International Caritas Consortium. Retrieved from
Video clip retrieved from
Caring Science Institute
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