Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring

Nursing theories provide conceptual frameworks for studying phenomena and developing knowledge in healthcare. Different models can be applied to different domains of nursing and used at all levels of abstraction, which allows formalizing the process of research in the field. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the theory of human caring that was put forward by Jean Watson and describe its application in nursing practice.

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Jean Watson’s theory of human caring emphasizes the intrinsic value of human life and outlines the importance of building the foundation of nursing practice on this principle. The key components of this theory are the transpersonal caring moment, focus on overall health, and importance of the environment (Watson, 2015). The idea of transpersonal caring sees relationships between nurses and patients as a spiritual union.

Focus on the overall wellbeing of a patient outlines the fact that all body systems are interconnected and should be treated as a whole (Reed, 2017). The environmental component of care prescribes the creation of a positive and healing social environment for patients.

The theory of human caring can be applied in all domains of medicine. For instance, it can be used by family nurse practitioners. Focus on general health and preventive medicine that characterize this field are in line with the main principles of the theory (Kaakinen, 2018). Family nurse practitioners can apply this model by developing positive relationships with their patients, helping them create a healthy environment and lifestyle in the family. They should also emphasize the importance of overall health for healing and preventing illness.

Nursing theories provide researchers and practitioners with models and systems that represent real-world processes. Jean Watson’s theory of human caring is based on the idea of compassion and outlines the importance of the environment, personal relationships, and prevention of illness as its key principles. Applying this theory may help family nurse practitioners to improve the quality of the care they provide and the health outcomes of their patients.


Kaakinen, J. R (2018) Theoretical foundations for the nursing of families. In J.R. Kaakinen, D. P. Coehlo, R. Steele, & M. Robinson (Eds.), Family health care nursing: Theory, practice, and research (pp. 27-53). Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis.

Reed, P. G. (2017) A nurse’s toolkit for theoretical thinking. In P. G. Reed & N. B. C. Shearer (Eds.), Nursing knowledge and theory innovation: advancing the science of practice (pp. 95-107). New York: NY: Springer Publishing Company.

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Watson, J. (2015) Jean Watson’s theory of human caring. In M. C. Smith & M.E. Parker (Eds.), Nursing theories and nursing practice (pp. 321-341). Philadelphia, PA: FA Davis.

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