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Middle-Range Theories of Nursing

Theory of Human Caring

The Theory of Human Caring, developed by Jean Watson in 1979, is an influential middle-range theory in nursing. Its core is that patient healing and health promotion are fundamentally dependent on caring, which is the primary cornerstone of nursing (Gunawan et al., 2022). This strategy is based on Watson’s belief that each person is distinct and complex, and as a result, their experience is also unique. In order to give the best care, nurses must consider the patient as a full person rather than just their condition or illness.

The Theory of Human Caring is a framework that enables nurses to comprehend, gauge, and assess the level of care they deliver in their clinical practice. Successful treatment completion depends on the nurse and the patient establishing a caring, therapeutic relationship. It gives nurses a moral and ethical framework for providing care founded on honoring the patient’s autonomy, dignity, and rights (Gunawan et al., 2022). Watson’s Theory of Human Caring also encourages a holistic approach to health, where nurses address the psychological, social, spiritual, and environmental components of their patients’ well-being in addition to disease-based treatments. With the help of this strategy, nurses may now have a more positive impact on their patients and substantially improve their quality of life.

Components of the Theory

The basic concepts of the Theory of Human Caring give nurses a framework for giving their patients high-quality care. Caring components, caring occasions, transpersonal caring relationships, and the human caring process comprise the theory’s four main parts. Carative factors are actions and behaviors that advance a patient’s recovery. These could entail encouraging health and well-being as well as acknowledging and respecting patient diversity (Sentürk & Küçükgüçlü, 2021). The caring occasion allows nurses to engage with the patient meaningfully while acknowledging the significance of the patient’s unique needs. Trust, respect, and understanding serve as the cornerstones of the nurse and patient’s transpersonal care interaction (Sentürk & Küçükgüçlü, 2021). The human caring process, which involves the nurse identifying and compassionately attending to the patient’s needs, is a crucial component. This is essential for delivering high-quality care and encouraging patient recovery. When providing patient-centered care and comprehending the significance of the nurse-patient connection, all four elements of the Theory of Human Caring are crucial.

Structural Aspects of the Theory

The Theory of Human Caring is a multidimensional and holistic approach to nursing. This concept is based on the belief that patient recovery and health promotion depend on interpersonal compassion. The caring occasions, transpersonal caring relationships, caring components, and human caring processes make up this theory’s structural elements. The behaviors and actions that support a patient’s recovery are the carative factors. Sentürk and Küçükgüçlü (2021) state that the caring occasion is the chance for the nurse to have meaningful interaction with the patient. The relationship between the nurse and the patient, built on trust, respect, and understanding, is referred to as a transpersonal caring relationship. The nurse’s capacity to detect and respond to the patient’s needs compassionately and lovingly completes the human caring process.

Area of  Practice Where this Theory Could be Applicable

The Theory of Human Caring may apply to patient communication in my experience as an RN in the cardiac catheterization lab. The nursing practice places a high value on effective patient communication because it gives the nurse a greater grasp of the patient’s needs and condition (Aakhiro, 2021). Nurses can evaluate the efficacy of patient communication by using the Theory of Human Caring to understand its significance better. To evaluate the effectiveness of patient communication, consider the carative variables of this theory, such as the nurse’s capacity to acknowledge and accept patient differences and foster health and healing. Since this theory highlights the significance of trust, mutual respect, and understanding between the nurse and the patient, it can also be used to evaluate how well patients communicate.

The Theory of Human Caring presents a thorough and all-encompassing perspective on nursing, making it a vital resource for nurses. This theory gives nurses a formal framework for assessing and evaluating the quality of the care they deliver through the carative factors, caring occasion, transpersonal caring connection, and human caring process (Gunawan et al., 2022). By providing nurses with a structured approach to assess the level of care they deliver, they are better equipped to ensure they offer their patients the most efficient and high-quality treatment possible. This approach aids nurses in focusing on the patient’s emotional and spiritual needs by encouraging them to look beyond the medical components of care (Aakhiro, 2021). The Theory of Human Caring also emphasizes the value of the human connection between nurses and their patients, which can be leveraged to promote deeper connections between them. These various elements of the Theory of Human Caring provide nurses with a comprehensive and reliable system for giving their patients the best care possible.

The Theory of Human Caring’s weakness is that it is challenging to quantify and assess the level of care in a meaningful way. It is challenging to guarantee that the patient receives the highest quality care possible because this theory does not give the nurse any specific tools or strategies to precisely monitor and evaluate the quality of treatment. Furthermore, this approach needs to give the nurse a clear plan or course of action to follow when caring for a patient, which might make it challenging to decide how to provide the greatest care for a particular person based on their circumstances. These limitations make it challenging for nurses to efficiently and accurately provide patients with high-quality treatment (Gunawan et al., 2022). While encouraging nurses to utilize their judgment while caring for patients, this theory does give nurses a clear knowledge of the significance of human compassion when providing for others.

Use of Theory in Clinical Practice

The quality of nursing care in clinical practice has been evaluated using the Theory of Human Caring. The Carative Factors Scale, a measure based on the Theory of Human Caring, was used in a study by Gunawan et al. (2022) to assess the standard of care a sample of nurses provided. The study’s findings showed that nurses who performed better on the Carative Factors Scale than those who performed worse provided better care. The study concluded that nurses who used the Theory of Human Caring as a framework for their practice delivered higher-quality care than those who did not. The study’s conclusions support the Theory of Human Caring’s efficacy in determining the quality of nursing care (Gunawan et al., 2022). The Carative Factors Scale is a practical tool that can be used to monitor the quality of nursing care. The study’s findings also highlight the significance of applying the Theory of Human Caring principles to clinical practice. Nurses provided higher quality treatment than those who did not employ the theory’s framework in their daily practice. Adopting the Theory of Human Caring is a successful strategy for nurses to deliver higher-quality nursing care.

Evaluation of Theory

The Theory of Human Caring is a useful resource for evaluating the quality of nursing care. With this theory, nurses have a comprehensive framework for comprehending, assessing, and improving the level of care they deliver to patients (Wei et al., 2019). Nurses have a framework to evaluate their work’s effectiveness and ensure they are giving their patients the best care possible thanks to the carative elements, caring occasion, and transpersonal caring connection. Additionally, this theory has been applied in clinical settings to evaluate the caliber of nursing care. It has proven to be a useful tool for evaluating the caliber of nursing care (Wei et al., 2019). However, this hypothesis needs to be revised because it is challenging to quantify and assess the level of care significantly.

Furthermore, this model needs to offer nurses a clear course of action to follow when providing care for a patient. It would be beneficial to establish particular tools and techniques that nurses may use to monitor and evaluate the quality of care in a tangible way to make this theory more practical and applicable to practice (Wei et al., 2019). It would also be advantageous to have a detailed action plan that nurses may adhere to when providing care for a patient.


Aakhiro, C. (2021). Improving radiographers’ and patients’ communication in the cardiac catheter laboratory (radiographer’s perspectives) (Doctoral dissertation, Middlesex University).

Gunawan, J., Aungsuroch, Y., Watson, J., & Marzilli, C. (2022). Nursing administration: Watson’s theory of human caring. Nursing Science Quarterly35(2), 235-243.

Sentürk, S. G., & Küçükgüçlü, Ö. (2021). Bridging Healing and Therapy: A Mixed-Methods Study on Support Group Intervention Based on Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Holistic Nursing Practice35(2), 81-91.

Wei, H., Fazzone, P. A., Sitzman, K., & Hardin, S. R. (2019). The Current Intervention Studies Based on Watson’s Theory of Human Caring: A Systematic Review. International Journal for Human Caring23(1).


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