Last Updated 15 Feb 2021

Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring

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Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring focuses on holistic care of the patient and understanding the power of a meaningful therapeutic relationship. The theory is a middle-range theory and is based on the role of care and the influence of caring on healing. Caring is a moral ideal of nursing that involves mind, body, and soul engagement with another, which can be expressed through nursing interventions (Chinn & Kramer, 2011).

Many nurses have adopted Jean Watson’s Caring Theory in their own practice. Nursing has a commitment to protect, enhance, and preserve their client’s humanity by helping them restore harmony. Caring moments should transform both the patient and nurse, as they are linked together. Educational History Jean Watson earned her BSN, MS, and PhD degrees all at University of Colorado. She was also the former dean in the College of Nursing and founded the Center for Human Caring (Parker & Smith, 2010). Watson’s undergraduate and graduate degrees are in nursing and mental health nursing.

Her PhD is in educational psychology and counseling. Jean Watson also serves as director of the Watson Caring Science Institute, which is a nonprofit company she founded and is dedicated to promoting the work of caring, science, and heart-centered nursing (Parker & Smith, 2010). Overview of Theory of Human Caring Major Elements There are four major elements in Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. The four elements are the ten carative factors/clinical caritas processes, transpersonal caring relationships, caring moment/occasion, and caring-healing modalities.

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Carative factors are a guide and process in which a person cares for another and does all they can to protect, support, enhance, and maintain his or her quality of life. Transpersonal caring is a time when the nurse and patient come together and has an influence on each other. Caring should not be done as a chore as an assignment as it is an ethical deliberate action. Caring moments occur when two people come together with one person being the care recipient. Watson also developed the concept of clinical caritas that evolved from carative factors.

The theory is based on phenomenological studies that ask questions rather than state hypotheses and can be used to guide and improve practice. Supported by the theoretical work of numerous humanists, philosophers, developmentalists and psychologists. This theory places the client in the context of the family, the community and the culture and places the client as the focus on practice rather than the technology. Limitations of Dr. Watson’s theory are few, but the main limitation is that the carative factors primarily address the psychosocial needs.

The physical and biological needs appear secondary. Conclusion Watson’s theory provides many useful concepts for nursing practice. She also ties together other theories used in nursing education. The ten carative factors and caritas processes provide guidance to nurses wishing to improve their nursing practice.

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