Caring science transformed how nursing professionals carry out their roles within the healthcare field, but what exactly does this discipline involve?

According to the Watson Caring Science Institute, “caring science can be described as an evolving philosophical-ethical — epistemic field of study, that is grounded in the discipline of nursing and informed by related fields.” A primary focus of caring science is consideration of “the whole person,” embracing the mind, body, and spirit “as one in relation with the environment at all levels.”

Many healthcare facilities adopted this practice to ensure all patients felt valued. The Shiley Haynes Institute for Palliative Care explains that “Dr. Watson’s original model, The Theory of Human Caring, was developed between 1975-1979, as a way to bring meaning and focus to nursing as an emerging discipline and distinct health profession with unique values, knowledge, and practices of caring.”

Characteristics of Caring Science

Caring science is important in the modern nursing environment because it encourages nurses to interact with their patients and form relationships with them on a deeper level. Why has this become such a focus in the past decade?

The Watson Caring Science Institute notes, “transpersonal caring calls for an authenticity of being and becoming, an ability to be present to self and others in a reflective frame; the transpersonal nurse has the ability to center consciousness and intentionality on caring, healing, and wholeness, rather than on disease, illness and pathology.”

In a sense, the caring science theory resembles the holistic health assessment. It takes into consideration all aspects of the patient’s life. When nurses can connect with the patient through multiple avenues, they can better attend to that individual and provide individualized, personalized care.

This theory also allows patients from every age group and community to find the care they need throughout their lifespan. Specifically, aging populations must have access to the specialized care required to achieve health equity. Yet, this demographic is often disregarded — or, worse, abandoned.

When nurses empathize with and support patients by being aware of their life events, patients become increasingly satisfied with their care.

Benefits of Caring Theory

Nursing practice informed by caring science can help address current issues and challenges, such as nursing in the global environment, caring for aging populations, conscious dying, and community health.

For example, when practicing the theory of caring science, nurses are always required to consider the diversity of their patients. Certain cultures and traditions might have specific customs that all attending staff should recognize.

Additionally, aging populations might need more guidance when undergoing the treatment process. The best nurses know how to speak to aging populations and those who might not be as knowledgeable about healthcare terms. This guidance also pertains to specific patients with terminal illnesses. These individuals need unique attention and deserve compassion throughout their final passage.

Nurses who advocate for community health can also focus on spreading awareness to patients within the local community. Each community has more important needs than others, meaning the nursing staff must be informed on all current patient needs. This knowledge may encompass social determinants of health (SDOH) or era-specific concerns like the COVID-19 pandemic.

Upgrade Your Nursing Practice With a Bachelor’s Degree

One way to upgrade your nursing practice as a registered nurse (RN) is to further your career and earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Those who enroll in the online RN to BSN program at Nevada State College will learn to emphasize caring science as the foundation for nursing education and practice throughout their careers.

Students will prepare themselves to better support the whole patient, families, communities, and societies through a caring-healing nursing practice. In addition, the intensive program prepares students to address current issues and challenges within the healthcare system to improve the quality of life for diverse populations.

For example, the program’s Theory of Caring Science course covers the basics of Jean Watson’s theory of human caring and the application of this practice. In the Holistic Health Assessment course, students explore the theory and practice of holistic health across the human lifespan using a developmental model comprising diverse individuals.

Each future graduate will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential roles in healthcare that emphasize compassion, equanimity, and the holistic practice of healing-caring. Due to the accelerated nature of the RN to BSN program, students will be able to progress their careers in as few as 12 months.

Learn more about Nevada State College’s online RN to BSN program.