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Application of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring
Nursing theories play a critical role in shaping the nursing practice. They form the framework through which nurse practitioners predict the outcomes of their nursing activities. Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is one of the approaches that focus on the psychosocial aspects of a patient’s life. The theory is based on the acknowledgement that despite the influence of scientific research on the progress of treatment, the psychological issues of a patient plays an equally important role. In this approach, Watson advocates for transpersonal care that fosters the protection of human dignity along with the establishment of human to human connection and exploration of one’s potential among others. This paper summarizes the Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. It also examines the application of the theory by family nurse practitioners particularly in caring for a child with a chronic condition. It highlights strategies based on the methodology used and also explores the areas for future research.
Nursing theories are an essential part of the nursing practice. The arguments provide a framework that guides the nursing profession and helps nurses predict health outcomes of their actions. By applying the nursing theories in practice and research, nursing professionals develop knowledge that helps them offer better health care services to patients (Josefina, 2017). There is a wide range of nursing theories with some of them being generalized while others being specific to the particular areas of nursing practice. Though the arguments describe different phenomena, they all aim at providing frameworks for evaluation and decision making by helping the practitioner differentiate between what forms the basis of their practice by explicitly defining nursing as a professional field.
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Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is one of the theories that provide guidance for the professionals engaged in the nursing practice. The approach is based on the concept of transpersonal psychology (Clark, 2016). The strategy calls for practitioners to go beyond their egos to ensure spiritual caring. This idea advocates for the moral commitment to protecting and preserving human dignity along with caring for the patients and respecting them regardless of their beliefs. Additionally, it promotes honoring the connection between people and the wholeness of the body and mind. Also, the theory is based on relational care for oneself and others through moral and ethical foundations of love and one’s system of values. In a nutshell, the method calls for nurses to be loving and kind in their actions and it also encourages them to foster an enabling and authentic system of beliefs for themselves and their patients (Estrada, 2013). Further, it advocates for developing one’s transpersonal self beyond one’s ego and encourages a nurse to build and sustain authentic caring relationships with the patients. Additionally, Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring champions for creating a conducive environment to achieve improved health outcomes and being resourceful in one’s application of all known ways of treatment in the healing process. It also advocates for candid teaching-learning experience promoting wholeness and openness to the enigmatic scopes of one’s death-life as well as readiness for miracles. The theory can be applied in the home-based care for children with long-term illnesses and chronic conditions.
Description of Issue or Concern
In the past years, there has been an increased demand for alternative organizations that would guarantee quality healthcare services in primary care. Current primary care services attempt to adopt holistic care options that advocate for diversification of resources. Family nurse practitioners often provide services to patients in the external settings outside hospitals such as at home settings. In home settings, the nurses are required to demonstrate technological, administrative and interpersonal skills to enable them to deal with patients and their families and interact with other professionals. Their role encompasses all aspects of a patient’s life ranging from simple patient orientation to planning, coordination, and training to the integration of a treatment plan in the patient’s life (Carter et al., 2012). Children homecare is one of the growing trends in home-based healthcare. This type of care is essential as it helps improve children’s health through home visits and intensive monitoring (Carter et al., 2012). This issue is crucial as it is a growing trend which helps improve the health of children, promote normal family functioning and mitigate healthcare inequalities in the society.
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In the recent past, the trend of offering healthcare services to children under the age of two has gained popularity in regions across the globe. These services are particularly widespread in children with special needs. Studies were conducted to prove that such care services help improve health outcomes in young patients as well as reduce disruption caused to children and their family life (Gomes, et al., 2013). Additionally, such care empowers patients and their families to make appropriate decisions, controlling routines and practices. Moreover, provision of care services in home settings preserves the child’s social and psychological support systems and promotes family encounters even in the event of illness. In this context, there are different stakeholders involved in this practice. They include the family nurse, the patient, the child’s family and the pediatrician. The child’s family takes care of the patients and gets involved in the decision-making process while the pediatrician offers specialized services to the child whenever the need arises. The family nurse practitioner provides health care services to the patients and educates the family on how to take care of the child suffering from a chronic illness. The success of health outcomes depends on the collaboration between all the stakeholders.
Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is one of the theories that can be applied in the field of offering health care services by family nurses. The method can be applied in providing care services to children with chronic conditions. Families of children with chronic diseases often feel hopeless and need orientation on how to care for the patient (Gomes et al., 2013). The concept of transpersonal care is particularly applicable in this situation through its use in the interactive and transpersonal healthcare services. Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring, therefore, does not undermine the essence of contemporary scientific knowledge in the provision of healthcare.
Watson’s theory is particularly useful in care provision to children as it calls for care and compassion a factor that helps improve health outcomes in children. It is appropriate because it emphasizes the need for nurses to look inside themselves and identify their full potential and limitations as well as apply conscience in their nursing practice (Favero, Pagliuca & Lacerda, 2013). When they do so, the nurses can offer care to children based on love in the innate sense thereby limiting the instances of medical error and child abuse. Children are different compared to adults. They are still learning and developing cognitive senses. Therefore, the nurse offering services to children must treat them with much care and also strive for strengthening the connection between the child and their relatives. According to Watson’s theory, nurses should attempt to understand and respect the system of their patients’ beliefs and values. The nurse should, therefore, assume that families have their own rhythms and timeframes. As such, they should recognize these rhythms and appreciate diversity in families. Moreover, the nurse practitioner should integrate with the realities of the family to establish authentic connections since the system of one’s beliefs significantly affects the outcomes of health care services.
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Watson’s theory of human caring offers several strategies that care practitioners can apply to improve care outcomes in children. One of these procedures involves establishing real connections with the child and their family (Gomes et al., 2013). One of the core concepts of the theory of transpersonal care relationships advocates for the establishment and honoring of human to human connection. When a nurse establishes a connection with the child, the child learns to trust the practitioners and feels free to be honest with them. Additionally, the family of the child will have a trust-based relationship with the nurse thereby cooperating in the treatment plan formulated for the child (Gomes et al., 2013). Therefore, basically, the nurse strives for understanding the values and practices of the family and tries to align the treatment plan for the child with the family rhythms. It calls for the nurse to adopt perceptions going beyond their senses and to treat the perceptions of others without judgment and prejudices, which is a fundamental requirement for establishing relationships at home (Santos, et al., 2014). For family nurse practitioner to implement this strategy, they need to take time to familiarize with the child’s family.
Additionally, they need to engage the family in formulating a treatment plan for their child. Engaging the family ensures that the schedules do not work against the belief system of the family and guarantees that they are in compliance with the elements of the treatment schedule (Gomes et al., 2013). Additionally, the nurse practitioner should create and foster an enabling environment that would support open and sincere relationships. When it comes to children, having a trust-based relationship significantly contributes to achieving positive outcomes of health care services. Establishing such a connection promotes the expression of feelings for both the child and their families. Nevertheless, the nurse practitioner should use this stage in their relationships with the patient for therapeutic purposes. Also, the nurse should be on the lookout for the adverse feeling which is likely to lower the desired health outcomes (Santos et al., 2014). In such situations, the practitioner should focus on reassuring the family and the child and also concentrate on dealing with the situation that has led to those feelings in the first place. In children, however, the expression of negative emotions calls for the nurse to be sensitive and empathetic. Since children are sincere, it is easier for the nurse to understand their true feelings. However, for the nurse to be transpersonal, he/she must experience the feeling of interconnectedness on a deeper level.
An efficient way of establishing a connection with the patient’s family is through paying attention to them. Many families having children with chronic conditions barely have time to concentrate on themselves as they are focused on the child. As such, the nurse should be on the lookout for the negative feelings that may manifest through respective attitudes and various signs of distress (Pajnkihar, et al., 2017). In formulating the treatment schedule, therefore, the family nurse practitioner should consider the capacities and limitations of the family. Together with the parents and other stakeholders, the nurse practitioners should also explore creative ways of offering care to the child from the realistic viewpoint regarding the effective ways of taking care of the ill child.
Despite its usefulness in various clinical situations, Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring has opportunities for future research. One of them stems from the evolution of meaning in concepts used in explaining the theory. Therefore, there is a need to explore how these changes affect the application of the argument. Additionally, today there are modifications in the existing technologies and also the presence of newly emerging technological advancements. In some situations, they worsen the contact between the nurse and the patients. As such, there should be further research on how the emergence of such technology influences the application of the theory in the field of health care service provision. Moreover, the argument is also focused on the psychosocial aspect of a patient. Although these elements are essential for the patient’s well-being, they are complementary aspects. While these issues have a solid foundation in other disciplines, it is necessary for the research on their practical application to be conducted. Therefore, the theory requires further investigation to align it with the on-going changes taking place in healthcare.
Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is among the theories that offer guidance to medical workers in the nursing profession. The approach focuses on the psychosocial aspects of a patient’s life. It advocates of transpersonal healthcare, which includes the commitment to upholding human dignity among other issues. One of the situations in which the model is beneficial is the provision of care for children with long-term illnesses in the home settings. Watson’s theory is appropriate in this area as it advocates for the establishment of a real connection with the patient and their families. The practitioner should consider the potentials and limitations of the family and mutually explore some of the creative ways through which the parents can care for the child. Despite being applicable in practice, the theory still requires further research since its core concepts have a basis in other fields, but their application in nursing is still to be researched. During the course., I learned that Watson’s approach is essential when caring for children with chronic conditions at home because it takes into account the psychological and social aspects of a patient’s well-being. When applying the theory, therefore, a nurse should strive for adopting the family practices to create an appropriate environment for the improved health outcomes in the patient.