Our hospital network is adopting Jean Watson's Caring Theory of Nursing.
Most nursing theories are based on Nursing as a humane and compassionate application of a scientific method. Jean Watson encourages us to "return to our core values", and recall the "original reason we all went into nursing", things we as nurses tend to forget when carrying out the "clipboard nurse" type of nursing, where we exhaustively collect data in the form of measurements and numbers. Watson asks all of us as nurses to be more "in tune to the moment" when interacting with our patients (she doesn't like the "customer" model of the modern hospital), and realize that our interactions can be more humane, significant, and caring.
Nursing, as the underling of the medical profession, often works to turn the human being into the human body, further breaking him/her down into just a "body", and eventually just a "machine."
Nursing work too often focuses on "doing" rather than "being", and has become too easy to "do something" to a machine, things we would never consider doing to a human being.
Watson describes ten "Caritas Processes". Originally "Carative Factors," she redefines these essential "core values":
Formation of humanistic-altruistic system of values, becomes: "Practice of loving-kindness and equanimity within context of caring consciousness
Instillation of faith-hope, becomes: "Being authentically present, and enabling and sustaining the deep belief system and subjective life world of self and one-being-cared- for";
Cultivation of sensitivity to one's self and to others, becomes: "Cultivation of one's own spiritual practices and transpersonal self, going beyond ego self";
Development of a helping-trusting, human caring relationship, becomes: "Developing and sustaining a helping-trusting, authentic caring relationship";
Promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings, becomes: "Being present to, and supportive of the expression of positive and negative feelings as a connection with deeper spirit of self and the one-being-cared-for";
Systematic use of a creative problem-solving caring process, becomes: "creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process; to engage in artistry of caring-healing practices";
Promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning, becomes: "Engaging in genuine teaching-learning experience that attends to unity of being and meaning attempting to stay within other's frame of reference";
Provision for a supportive, protective, and/or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment, becomes: "Creating healing environment at all levels, (physical as well as non-physical, subtle environment of energy and consciousness, whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are potentiated";
Assistance with gratification of human needs, becomes: "assisting with basic needs, with an intentional caring consciousness, administering ‘human care essentials', which potentiate alignment of mindbodyspirit, wholeness, and unity of being in all aspects of care"; tending to both embodied spirit and evolving spiritual emergence; Allowance for existential-phenomenological-spiritual forces, becomes: "opening and attending to spiritual-mysterious, and existential dimensions of one's own life-death; soul care for self and the one-being-care-for.
Our new Clinical Director gave all of us Charge Nurses a copy of Watson's book, which I dutifully read and attempted to absorb over a weekend.
It's going to be a challenge for me. I've never been that "spiritual" or "metaphysical", instead relying on my scientific background thoroughly grounded in skepticism and empiricism. A lot of these carative factors / Caritas Processes are difficult for me to understand on anything more than an intellectual basis. In other words, I have been unable to bridge the gap between vocabulary and meaning.