Jean Watson’s Philosophy of Nursing
NUR/403-Theories and Models of Nursing Practice
August 9th, 2010
Jean Watson’s theories of nursing are instrumental in today’s structure of nursing. Watson’s theories are being practiced in various health care setting all over the world. One of these theories in the nursing process. This entails first assessing patient, planning, intervention and evaluation. There is multitude of research proving these theories to be effective in treating and caring for patients with this consistent approach. In this paper I will dissect her different carative factors learned and that is being practiced. I will discuss different examples of Watson’s theories of caring and its application. This will depict the level of importance and how valuable this approach certainly is. Nursing is also being based on more scientific approaches that Watson’s bases some of her theories. This is consistent with the changing nature of the philosophy of science and history, and the numerous methods for the advancing knowledge of nursing. Watson (1999)
Watson’s research is more focused on the caring aspect of it all. Caring is viewed as the moral ideal of nursing where there is utmost concern for human dignity and preservation of humanity as stated by Watson (1999). This focal point of her theory is the foundation in the science of nursing. Watson believed the center idea for nursing are based on various carative factors. These factors include humanistic- altruistic values, systematic use of the scientific problem-solving method for decision making, gratification of human needs, promotion of interpersonal teaching and learning. They also include qualities such as sensitivity to self and others, the need to instill faith and hope, creating trusting relationships, and promoting acceptance, positive feelings, making provisions for a supportive, protective and corrective mental, physical, socio-cultural and spiritual environment. Watson, J., & Foster, R. (2003).
One imperative factor is the development of different transpersonal caring relationship. This is the concept of professional involvement with the participation of one’s entire self, using every dimension of a person as a resource in the professional relationship, This depicts a special kind of human caring relationship, a connection with another person, in high regard for the whole person and their sense of being. Human care begins when the nurse enters the space or field of another person, and is able to detect the other person’s condition, spiritually and emotionally, and can feel this condition within themselves, and responds in a way which the recipient feels open enough to convey and share those feelings longing or needed to be shared. (Watson, 1999). She believed that nurses should have and also further develop an approach of humanism, simply being able to convey common human feelings.
Her teachings proves that effective caring promotes health in each individual and their well being. Conducive to health is also what a person’s perception of health is, as states by Watson, (1999). Watson believed that everything around us should be conducive to our wellbeing, whether it being creating a wholesome environment or nursing to our specific needs. For example just simply being in a clean environment can improve a person’s overall mood and thus enhancing chances for recovery. The act showing compassion and empathy is also pertinent to for one to achieve wellness. In experience, just the simple act of smiling conveys the feeling of caring. Cara (2003). For example, upon assessing a patient, just greeting them with a warm smile with direct eye contact can be a comforting feeling. It conveys sincerity and starts the process of a trusting nurse-patient relationship.
Cultivating sensitivity to oneself and to others.
This carative factor explores one’s ability to self assess as well assessing others. This explores the need of the nurse to feel or to begin to feel an emotion as it presents itself. If one’s own feelings aren’t properly developed or one does not know how to channel their own feelings, showing sensitivity to others may not be very successful. These feelings should be developed for one to interact with others on a genuinely sensitive level. Showing sensitivity among one another creates a higher level of functioning within transpersonal relationships. Watson (2009). An experience I had with a patient comes to mind. A young man admitted to the hospital with multiple infections. He is observed to be very rude, sarcastic and shows a very negative attitude towards himself and his care providers. Upon receiving report about the patient, I felt reluctant in caring for him.
The nurse stated he was unappreciative, obnoxious, demanding, and seemed very bitter. Upon greeting him and physically assessing him, I was cautious to thet kinds of questions I asked him. I was especially cautioushow I asked any questions and also my tone of voice. Upon making sure he had all his comforts and all requests were met I offered to share with him some details about my life. He listened keenly and I felt his interest. Soon after, he started sharing with me very personal details of his life as well. As Watson (1999) explained, nurses should spend uninterrupted time with your patients, commonly referred to as “caring moments.” He was depressed from being in and out of the hospital every other week. He was newly married and had a newborn baby, which he never got to spend time with or was able to help take care of. That quickly gave me insight to why he had such a negative disposition and also enlightened me to the sensitive manner in which he needed to cared with.
Self awareness and actualization is an important component in having meaningful intrapersonal relationships. We should all strive to become more sensitive. This makes us as nurses, more authentic, evoking self growth and awareness to others.
The nurse promotes health along with a higher level of functioning when meaningful person to person relationships are created.
These values begin at a very early age in human beings. These are from shared experiences and lessons taught by ones parents or the environment. Altruism is a selfless concern for the wellness of others. If one is truly selfless in a humanistic manner, it comes from a place of sincerity. Individuals sometimes give of themselves hoping to get in return but the true approach which Watson teaches wishes nothing in return. Watson, J., & Foster, R. (2003). One’s ability to be altruistic is also dependent on the level of selflessness. For example, working with ill and sometimes demanding patients day in and day out, one can become weary and can feel no need to go the extra mile for the small comfort of an individual’s need. For example, a individual comes in the hospital newly diagnosed with a fatal illness.
The patient comes into the hospital alone, he is poorly dressed and does not seem to take very good care of himself hygienically. He does not requests much help. Even when in pain he did not ask for any pain medication. Upon doing my general assessment, it was easy to assess him emotionally as well. He had no family members with him for any support needed. He was weak from the disease process, he just could no longer take care of himself as he normally does. I thoughtlessly help him to get shaved and washed up before getting comfortable in bed. I also lent a listening ear as I asked him necessary questions about his health. I knew having someone help me out in this manner would make a difference in how I felt, so automatically and selflessly I did the same for him. If there is anything I am able to do for others that takes nothing but a simple effort, then I think the gratitude should be from bringing comfort and satisfaction where needed. This philosophy of offering selflessness to others is pivotal in the nursing role.
Establishing a helping and trusting relationship.
This factor in nursing has been in use for decades. The element of nursing and trust cannot be divided. Watson believed that different modes of communication establishes rapport and brings forth a caring relationship. She believed in the dynamics associated with a helping trust relationship, congruence, empathy and warmth. This means coming together in agreement, being able to put yourself in ones shoes and showing compassion.
Communication varies from verbal to nonverbal ways of conveying messages and feelings. This includes actively listening in a warm manner that connotes empathetic understanding. As nurses we must especially listen to the demands of our patients no matter how big or small the need is. It is especially important to deliver on promises to patients. As it is often stated, it is better to under promise and over deliver. As simple as promising a patient to get them a meal and delivering it in a timely manner is a key example for building and maintaining a trusting relationship.
The faith and hope factor can be a sensitive area when providing care. To many, It essential for patients to maintain a level of faith and hope. When a patient has nothing else to hold on to in the recovering process, having faith and being hopeful helps them to hold on to life. This is based on each individual’s belief and their perception of faith and hope, as well as the nurse’s understanding. I believe one has to properly assess the individual to whom this advice is being offered. This is imperative to know how well it will be accepted. It also depends on one’s cultural background. We should all be aware and be respectful of each individual’s beliefs and limitations.
As stated by Suliman, Welmann, Omer & Thomas (2009), respect is easily acquired until there is a disagreement with what is recommended, at this point respecting the opposing persons choice becomes complex. In the instance that a patient or an individual can no longer rely on modern science for comfort it help to be able to hold on to your thoughts and beliefs otherwise known as hope. When a patient is given a death sentence from a disease process this may be the only thing that brings some peace of mind. For someone to look to you for your opinion at such a vulnerable moment in life means to me that my job is important to say the least. I have had different opportunities to carefully assess my patient and their life situations. This gave me the chance to divulge my opinions in the best acceptable manner suitable to my patients understanding.
Watsons’s theories has personally broadened my horizons personally and professionally. Researching her theories and concepts of nursing has given me immense insight on how to view and treat my patients in various situations. I find that her concept of caring is truly what the core element of nursing should be, or as she states it is the” true essence of nursing.”Watson, J. (1999).
The nursing concepts developed by Watson have been tried and proven both professionally and personally. She provides many useful concepts for the overall practice of nursing and the overall element of proving care for any individual. Watson ties together common theories in nursing education and thus the caring approach entity emerged. These carative factors can be implemented in any level of health care settings. It gives simple guidance to nursing and provides for better and more quality patient outcomes. Her approach unites all humanistic entities of the mind, body, and spirits for this caring, unique realm of nursing. Watson, J., & Foster, R. (2003).
* Cara, C. (2003). A pragmatic view of Jean Watson’s caring theory. International Journal for Human Caring, 7(3), 51-61. * * Suliman, W., Welmann, E., Omer, T., & Thomas, L. (2009). Applying Watson’s NursingTheory to Assess Patient Perceptions of Being Cared for in a Multicultural Environment. Journal of Nursing Research (Taiwan Nurses Association), 17(4), 293-300. *
* Watson, J. (1999). Nursing: Human science and human care, a theory of nursing. Sunbury, MA: NLN Press, Jones and Bartlett * * Watson, J., & Foster, R. (2003). The Attending Nurse Caring Model: integrating theory, evidence and advanced caring–healing
therapeutics for transforming professional practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 12(3), 360-365. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2702.2003.00774.x.