Watson’s Influence on Nursing Practice

One of the theorists who contributed, and her contribution has remained significant even after her death is Jean Watson; an American nurse theorist and a nursing professor well known because of her “Transpersonal caring theory” and other important texts such as the Philosophy and science of Caring. Watson’s theory and study on caring have been integrated into the nursing curriculum and health facilities to facilitate patient-centred care. Among the most applied concepts of Watson’s theory of human caring are the five patterns of knowledge and the carative factors. The five patterns of knowledge described by Jean Watson included: aesthetics, personal knowledge, empirical, social-political and ethics knowledge. These patterns of knowledge in nursing are not mutually exclusive but rather organized and they result from the whole experience (Lee et al. 2017). These patterns in nursing as well as their interactions can facilitate the future development of the practice of nursing. As a pattern of knowledge, empirical knowledge draws from traditional ideas in which reality is viewed as something that can be verified by other observers. Watson’s Influence on Nursing Practice

Define and Discuss Cloud ComputingFor instance, the maternal mortality ratio is viewed as an example of empirical knowledge. Ethic knowledge refers to the ability to make decisions and being responsible for the decisions you make (Lee et al. 2017). On the other hand, personal knowledge is developed when a nurse views the patient, not as an objector but makes efforts to create a personal relationship with the patient. Personal knowledge requires one to be attentive to the models of human nature and focus on interpersonal relationships. Esthetic knowing is the practice of creating actions that are visible of what a nurse thinks the patient may be requiring. The final pattern of knowledge is social-political knowledge, consisting of two levels which are the person’s political and social context i.e. the patient and the nurse and the political and social context as a professional practice. Therefore, nurses ought to critique how social-political factors impact the health of a person and the community as a whole. There is no definition made by Jean Watson concerning the fourth environmental concept. However, she formulated 10 critical caring concepts that enhance patient experience based on this concept. Watson’s Influence on Nursing Practice

            The main points outlined by Jean Watson’s theory of human caring in nursing include nursing, health, and human being (“Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring”, 2020). Jean Watson defines a human being as the valued person who needs to be cared for, assisted, understood, natured and respected. He is seen as being better and different from the sum of his or her body parts. Health has been defined as a state of proper functioning. i.e. mentally, physically and socially (“Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring”, 2020). Finally, nursing is viewed as a science of health-illness that a person experiences and is medicated by professional, scientific, personal and interventions of ethical care. In addition to the three main points, Watson’s theory described 10 important factors that enhance patient care and termed them as “10 carative factors”. The 10 carative factors consist of: formation of value systems of humanistic-altruistic, instilling hope and faith, cultivation of sensitivity to others and self, developing trust and help relationships, promoting feelings of expression, making decisions through problem-solving, learning and feelings promotion, supportive surrounding promotion, helping with human needs gratification and finally permitting forces of existential-phenomenological (“Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring”, 2020). The first three aspects form the ‘philosophical foundation’ for science and the other seven originate from the foundation. Watson’s Influence on Nursing Practice

Jean Watson expressed different views concerning the four patterns of knowledge. For instance, she considered empirical knowledge (the science) as the knowledge that ought to be recognized publicly and involve explanations, predictions, factual descriptions and its foundation to have both subjective and objective group data (Watson, 2018). Scientific data is a good example.  She considered esthetic knowledge (the art) as a knowledge pattern expressing one’s perceptions of what is seen as important in the patient’s behaviour. Ethical knowing (what constitutes good actions for that patient) was described as the desired results of ethical nursing, non-moral and moral obligations. A good example is the ethics codes and practice standards as well as the philosophies of nursing. Personal knowing (nurse-patient relationship) was considered as an expression of quality and authenticity of the existing interpersonal process existing between nurses and patients (Watson, 2018).

            Some of the patterns of knowledge that are more evident and easier to apply in Watson’s theory of human caring are esthetic knowledge, personal knowing, and ethical knowing. This is because these three patterns of knowledge are the pillars of patient care, without which patient care cannot succeed. They support equanimity and love, kindness and authentic presence which makes it easy for others to inculcate deep belief, development of personal spiritual practice in the direction of the wholeness of the spirit, mind and body beyond personal ego, providing the environment of healing and care (Watson, 2018).  For instance, it is very difficult for nurses to apply empirical knowledge to improve the morale of depressed patients. However, they may utilize esthetic knowledge to understand the behaviour of the patient. Therefore, the nurse will be in a position to provide an environment of mind, bodily and spiritual healing. Another case is where a nurse is working on a patient who is unable to express or channel their requirements. A nurse having ethical knowing and personal knowing will be able to understand that a patient needs to use the toilet, needs to adjust their position of sitting and sleeping, they are hungry, he/she is in deep pain, he/she is feeling cold or requires companionship. Having such kind of understanding, the nurse is in a position to institute required remedies because they understand the skill of human caring.

One of the most important ways that nursing science can be applied is by getting to understand the demeanour and the personality of the patients. Some patients are outspoken, others are silent, and others might be fearful and outspoken. After understanding the character of the patient, it becomes easy to attend to their innermost spiritual, emotional and physical requirements. For example, a patient who is diagnosed with prostate cancer sometimes might be very aggressive because the condition might need to be inspected before medication is administered. Therefore, such kind of a patient requires a lot of care to reduce the shame. As a practicing nurse, it is important to let the patient understand that the condition is common in elderly men and it is curable. This will assist them in coping up with their anxiety and emotions of fear in a better way.


Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring. Nurseslabs. (2020). Retrieved 27 October 2020, from             https://nurseslabs.com/jean-watsons-philosophy-theory-transpersonal-caring/. https://nurseslabs.com/jean-watsons-philosophy-theory-transpersonal-caring/

Lee, H., Kim, A., Meong, A., & Seo, M. (2017). Pediatric nurse practitioners’ clinical competencies and   knowing patterns in nursing: Focus group interviews. Contemporary Nurse53(5), 515-523.

Watson, J. (2018). Unitary caring science: Philosophy and praxis of nursing. University Press of Colorado.