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Anne Boykin’s Theory of Nursing as Caring

Nursing theories guide nurses in their practice, research, and professional development. Anne Boykin, in collaboration with Savina O. Schoenhofer, introduced her theory of nursing as caring in the 1990s (Alligood, 2017). The theory has been widely utilized in diverse healthcare contexts since then. This paper includes a brief description of the framework’s major concepts, its application to health care, practice, and research, as well as the role Anne Boykin played in the theory’s development.

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Personal Relevance of the Theorist

Boykin has had a rich background in nursing since the late 1960s. She is currently a professor and the dean at Florida Atlantic University and Director at the Christine E. Lynne Center for Caring (Alligood, 2017). Her personal philosophy enabled her to create a general paradigm that can assist nursing professionals in their practice and research. One of the major assumptions and beliefs Boykin has articulated throughout her life is that caring is the essence of humanness, and all people grow and live caring and in caring (Alligood, 2017). The theorist provides illustrations to numerous situations and phenomena that are characteristic features of nursing practice and research.

Relevance to Health Care

The theory of nursing is caring is deeply rooted in Boykin’s personal philosophy and stipulates that nurses nurture people living to care and growing in caring (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2015). A nursing situation is one of the basic concepts for this framework that can be defined as a shared experience in which caring occurs and intensifies the personhood of both the patient and the nurse. By entering nursing situations, the nurse understands that patient is a person with certain needs who is to be respected and cared for with kindness and love (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2015). These primary concepts are specifically valuable in the healthcare setting as they can transform the US system more effectively by enhancing the focus on humanness, dignity, respect, and care, rather than efficiency and outcomes. Patients and care itself are seen as comprehensive systems in themselves, so no isolated components of care can receive the largest attention. Moreover, the theory in question encompasses the concept of the dance of caring persons that stands for the effective collaboration between all stakeholders involved in the caring process and the appreciation of each individual’s input.

Application to Research and Practice

As mentioned above, the theory serves as a guide for nursing practitioners, assisting them to cope with their daily duties. By understanding the patient as a caring person and the one growing in care, the nurse can ensure the provision of high-quality care (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2015). With such values and principles, nurses can remain caring, respectful, understanding, empathetic, and positive. Importantly, the paradigm under consideration is valuable for nursing research as it equips nurses with the necessary concepts and models to explore nursing and its various aspects. Seeing care as a complex system where all elements are interconnected is essential for the development of new treatment strategies, novel approaches to care, and innovative nursing methods.


On balance, Anne Boykin’s theory of nursing as caring is a valuable framework that can guide nurses in their practice and nursing research. Boykin used her personal philosophy to refine her assumptions and beliefs and craft the theory that sees care as an integral part of humanness. The theory is based on the principles of wholeness and the collaboration of people (all stakeholders involved in the process, including but not confined to nurses, patients, families, and physicians). The framework can be instrumental in the creation of the healthcare system characterized by the provision of patient-oriented care and effective use of resources.


Alligood, M. R. (2017). Nursing theorists and their work. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Boykin, A., & Schoenhofer, S. O. (2015). Nursing as caring: A model for transforming practice. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

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