The theory of human caring refers to the innovative approach to patients care that presupposes paying attention not only to the person’s physical condition but also their mind and spirit. It was introduced by famous American nursing theorist Dr. Jean Watson in the second half of 1970’s. The theory is based on “the 10 carative factors” that promote a “new form of deep, transpersonal caring” (Watson, 2015, p. 323). The key aspects of the theory are “humanistic- altruistic system of values, installation of faith-hope, sensitivity to one’s self and to others” (Watson, 2015, p. 324). Establishment of values system begins with the upbringing process followed by accumulation of personal experience and requires nurses to be altruistic and sympathetic. According to Watson, nurses should be guided not exclusively by the facts and figures but also by faith in miracles and hope for the best in order to share it with patients and raise their moral spirit. Finally, according to the theory, nurses have to develop personal genuine feelings towards patients to provide them with proper care on both physical and spiritual levels.
Through introduction of the caring theory, Dr. Watson initiated a new understanding of the patient’s needs that go beyond the physical ones. It emphasizes the necessity for emotional connection between the caring and the cared as the key component of the healing process. It means that nurses are responsible for more than administration of medication or monitoring and improving the physical condition of the patient, even though these aspects are often viewed as the main functions of the workers of the nursing sphere. In fact, these people are expected to provide emotional support; be ready to listen, understand, and sympathize; as well as provide the patients with warmth, protection, and friendliness. Through establishment of relationships with patients and development of mutual trust, caring process becomes less troublesome and painful. Moreover, it may provide better and faster treatment results.
The application of Dr. Watson’s theory may be quite useful in modern nursing practice. Support and sympathy of nursing personnel is especially needed in the departments with terminally ill patients. It is also important for nurses who help such patients at home. Even though there are practically no chances for them to recover, they are still living in this world. They are often in despair having no opportunity to make plans for future, dream about visiting some exotic countries, or work on self-development. Sometimes, such patients have no hope at all. In cases when doctors cannot cure patient’s body, nurses can save their mind and spirit. Watson’s theory calls for sympathy and sensitivity in order to allow patients to feel that they are not alone in their fight against physical and psychological challenges. Apart from caring about mind and spirit of the terminally ill person, nurses may help their family and close people who also suffer emotionally due to disease of someone they love. For example, a possible scenario that requires application of Dr. Watson’s theory is caring for the patient who diagnosed with cancer on the last stage. Coping with incurable disease is a great challenge for both the patient and their close people; hence, they all require sufficient support. In this case, nurse is obliged not only to provide efficient medical assistance but also prepare the family and patient for the possible challenges, share own experience about the ways people handle such situations, offer psychological support, and organize some meetings to talk about their pain.
To conclude, I consider the analyzed theory of human caring to be rather informative and topical. Dr. Watson suggests the involvement of emotional factor in the healing process that presupposes the establishment of relationships of trust and support between the nurse and the patient. I believe that this theory is great, but is it difficult or even impossible to integrate it completely in the modern nursing. There are some obstacles that can possibly prevent the successful adoption of Dr. Watson’s ideas. First of all, every human being has own type of personality and specific temperament. Thus, not all nurses are able to easily and quickly establish close relationships with patients. Moreover, not all nurses will be willing to spend time and efforts on asking about patient’s mood and to be an attentive and understanding listener. In many cases, they are overloaded with personal problems or excessively tired of continuous exhausting work and have no time even to get acquainted with the theory. In my opinion, it is necessary to enhance nurses’ understanding of the need for emotional support and facilitate their work as much as possible before implementation of the theory so that they can be fully devoted to the patients care.