Watson’s Philosophy and Theory of Transpersonal Caring

Watson’s Philosophy and Theory of Transpersonal Caring 

D. Elizabeth Jesse


Margaret Jean Harman Watson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, was born in southern West Virginia and grew up during the 1940s and 1950s in the small town of Welch, West Virginia, in the Appalachian Mountains. As the youngest of eight children, she was surrounded by an extended family–community environment.

Watson attended high school in West Virginia and then the Lewis Gale School of Nursing in Roanoke, Virginia. After graduation in 1961, she married her husband, Douglas, and moved west to his native state of Colorado. Douglas, whom Watson describes not only as her physical and spiritual partner, but also as her best friend, died in 1998. She has two grown daughters, Jennifer (born in 1963) and Julie (born in 1967), and five grandchildren. She continues to live in Boulder, Colorado.

After moving to Colorado, Watson continued her nursing education and graduate studies at the University of Colorado. She earned a baccalaureate degree in nursing in 1964 at the Boulder campus, a master’s degree in psychiatric–mental health nursing in 1966 at the Health Sciences campus, and a doctorate in educational psychology and counseling in 1973 at the Graduate School, Boulder campus. After Watson completed her doctoral degree, she joined the School of Nursing faculty of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, where she has served in both faculty and administrative positions. In 1981 and 1982, she pursued international sabbatical studies and diverse learning experiences in New Zealand, Australia, India, Thailand, and Taiwan; in 2005, she took a sabbatical for a walking pilgrimage in the Spanish El Camino.

In the 1980s, Watson and colleagues established the Center for Human Caring at the University of Colorado, the nation’s first interdisciplinary center committed to using human caring knowledge that forms the moral and scientific basis for clinical practice, scholarship, and administration and leadership (Watson, 1986). During the center’s existence, Watson and others sponsored clinical, educational, and community scholarship activities and projects in human caring. These activities involved national and international scholars in residence, as well as international connections with colleagues around the world, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Thailand, and Venezuela, among others. Activities such as these continue at the University of Colorado’s International Certificate Program in Caring-Healing, where Watson offers her theory courses for doctoral students.

At the University of Colorado School of Nursing, Watson has served as chairperson and assistant dean of the undergraduate program. She was involved in early planning and implementation of the nursing PhD program and served as coordinator and director of the PhD program between 1978 and 1981. Watson was appointed dean of the University of Colorado School of Nursing and Associate Director of Nursing Practice at University Hospital from 1983 to 1990. During her deanship, she was instrumental in the development of a post baccalaureate nursing curriculum in human caring, health, and healing that led to a Nursing Doctorate (ND), a professional clinical doctoral degree. In 2005, this ND program was converted to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.

During her career, Watson has been active in many community programs, such as founder and member of the Board of Boulder County Hospice, and numerous other collaborations with area healthcare facilities. Watson has received several research and advanced education federal grants and awards and numerous university and private grants and extramural funding for her faculty and administrative projects and scholarships in human caring.

The University of Colorado School of Nursing honored her as a distinguished professor of nursing in 1992. She received six honorary doctoral degrees from universities in the United States and three Honorary Doctorates in international universities, including Göteborg University in Sweden, Luton University in London, and the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada. In 1993, she received the National League for Nursing (NLN) Martha E. Rogers Award, which recognizes nurse scholars’ significant contributions to advancing nursing knowledge and knowledge in other health sciences. Between 1993 and 1996, Watson served as a member of the Executive Committee and the Governing Board, and as an officer for the NLN, and was elected president from 1995 to 1996. In 1997, NLN awarded her an honorary lifetime certificate as a holistic nurse. Finally, in 1999, she assumed the nation’s first Murchison-Scoville Endowed Chair of Caring Science and currently is a distinguished professor of nursing.

In 1998, she was recognized as a Distinguished Nurse Scholar by New York University, and in 1999, she received the Fetzer Institute’s national Norman Cousins Award in recognition of her commitment to developing, maintaining, and exemplifying relationship-centered care practices (Watson, personal communication, August 14, 2000).

Watson is a Distinguished and/or Endowed Lecturer at national universities, including Boston College, Catholic University, Adelphi University, Columbia University-Teachers College, State University of New York, and at universities and scholarly meetings in numerous foreign countries. Her international activities also include an International Kellogg Fellowship in Australia (1982), a Fulbright Research and Lecture Award to Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia (1991), and a lecture tour in the United Kingdom (1993). She has been involved in international projects and has received invitations to New Zealand, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Israel, Japan, Venezuela, Korea, and other places.

Watson is featured in at least 20 nationally distributed audio tapes, videotapes, and/or CDs on nursing theory, a few of which are listed in Points for Further Study at the end of the chapter.

Jean Watson has authored 10 books, shared in authorship of five books, and has written countless articles in nursing journals. The following publications reflect the evolution of her theory of caring from her ideas about the philosophy and science of caring.

Her first book, Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring (1979), was developed from her notes for an undergraduate course taught at the University of Colorado. Yalom’s 11 curative factors stimulated Watson’s thinking about her 10 carative factors, described as the organizing framework for her book (Watson, 1979), “central to nursing” (p. 9), and a moral ideal. Watson’s early work embraced the 10 carative factors, but her ideas have evolved to include “caritas” that make explicit connections between caring and love (Watson, personal correspondence, 2004). Her first book was reprinted in 1985 and subsequently was translated into Korean and French.

Her second book, Nursing: Human Science and Human Care—A Theory of Nursing, published in 1985 and reprinted in 1988 and 1999, addressed some conceptual and philosophical problems in nursing. Watson (1985) hopes her work will help nurses develop a meaningful moral and philosophical base for practice, and that others will join her to “elucidate the human care process in nursing, preserve the concept of the person in our science, and better our contribution to society” (Watson, 1988, p. ix). Her second book has been translated into Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, and probably other languages by now.

Her third book, Postmodern Nursing and Beyond (1999), was presented as a model to bring nursing practice into the twenty-first century. Watson describes two personal life-altering events that contributed to her writing. In 1997, she experienced an accidental injury that resulted in the loss of her left eye. Soon after, in 1998, her husband died. Watson states that she is “attempting to integrate these wounds into my life and work. One of the gifts through the suffering was the privilege of experiencing and receiving my own theory through the care from my husband and loving nurse friends and colleagues” (Watson, personal communication, August 31, 2000). This third book has been translated into Portuguese and Japanese. Instruments for Assessing and Measuring Caring in Nursing and Health Sciences (2002) is a collection of 21 instruments used to assess and measure caring. This text received the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award.

Her fifth and latest book, Caring Science as Sacred Science (2005), describes her personal journey to enhance understanding about caring science, spiritual practice, the concept and practice of care, and caring-healing work. This book leads the reader through thought-provoking experiences and the sacredness of nursing by emphasizing deep inner reflection and personal growth, communication skills, use of self-transpersonal growth, and attention to both caring science and healing through forgiveness, gratitude, and surrender. It received AJN’s 2005 Book of the Year Award.


Watson’s work has been called a philosophy, blueprint, ethic, paradigm, worldview, treatise, conceptual model, framework, and theory (Watson, 1996). This chapter uses the terms theory and framework interchangeably. To develop her theory, Watson (1988) defines theory as “an imaginative grouping of knowledge, ideas, and experience that are represented symbolically and seek to illuminate a given phenomenon” (p. 1). She states further, “It (Human Science) is a theory because it helps me ‘to see’ more broadly (clearly)” (p. 1). Watson draws heavily on the sciences and the humanities, providing a phenomenological, existential, and spiritual orientation. She acknowledges philosophical and intellectual guidance from feminist theory, metaphysics, phenomenology, quantum physics, wisdom traditions, perennial philosophy, and Buddhism (Watson, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2005). In addition to traditional nursing knowledge, she cites as background for her theory nursing philosophies and theorists, including Nightingale, Henderson, Leininger, Peplau, Rogers, and Newman, and the work of Gadow, a nursing philosopher and healthcare ethicist (Watson, 1985, 1997, 2005). She describes a close connection with “Nightingale’s sense of ‘calling,’ guided by a deep sense of commitment and a covenantal ethic of human service” (Watson, 2007a).

Watson reports that she was influenced in her earlier work by Western and Eastern worldviews and by philosophers such as Carl Rogers, Maslow, Heidegger, Erickson, Kierkegaard, Selye, Lazarus, Rumi, Whitehead, de Chardin, Sartre, and Thich Naht Hanh (Watson, 1996).

Watson attributes her emphasis on the interpersonal and transpersonal qualities of congruence, empathy, and warmth to the views of Carl Rogers and more recent writers of transpersonal psychology. Watson points out that Carl Rogers’ phenomenological approach, with his view that nurses are not here to manipulate and control others but rather to understand, was profoundly influential at a time when “clinicalization” (therapeutic control and manipulation of the patient) was considered the norm (Watson, personal communication, August 31, 2000). In her latest book, Caring Science as Sacred Science, Watson (2005) describes the wisdom of French philosopher, Emmanuael Levinas (1969), and Danish philosopher, Knud Løgstrup (1995), which is foundational to her work.

Watson explains that concepts, defined as building blocks of theory (Watson, 1988), bring new meaning to the paradigm of nursing and were “derived from clinically inducted, empirical experiences, combined with my philosophical, intellectual and experiential background; thus my early work emerged from my own values, beliefs, and perceptions about personhood, life, health, and healing …” (Watson, 1997, p. 49). Watson’s main concepts include the 10 carative factors (see box below or Table 7-1), and transpersonal healing and transpersonal caring relationship, caring moment, caring occasion, caring healing modalities, caring consciousness, caring consciousness energy, and phenomenal file/unitary consciousness. Watson expanded the carative factors to a closely related concept, caritas, a Latin word that means to “cherish, to appreciate, to give special attention, if not loving attention.” As carative factors evolved within an expanding perspective, and as her ideas and values evolved, Watson offered a translation of the original carative factors into clinical caritas processes that suggested open ways in which they could be considered (Table 7-1).

Table 7-1

Carative Factors and Caritas Process

Carative Factors Caritas Process
1. “The formation of a humanistic-altruistic system of values” “Practice of loving-kindness and equanimity within the context of caring consciousness”
2. “The instillation of faith-hope” “Being authentically present and enabling and sustaining the deep belief system and subjective life-world of self and one being cared for”
3. “The cultivation of sensitivity to one’s self and to others” “Cultivation of one’s own spiritual practices and transpersonal self going beyond the ego self”
4. “Development of a helping-trust relationship” became “development of a helping-trusting, human caring relation” (in 2004 Watson website) “Developing and sustaining a helping trusting authentic caring relationship”
5. “The promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings” “Being present to, and supportive of, the expression of positive and negative feelings as a connection with deeper spirit and self and the one-being-cared for”
6. “The systematic use of the scientific problem solving method for decision making” became “systematic use of a creative problem solving caring process” (in 2004 Watson website) “Creative use of self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process; to engage in the artistry of caring-healing practices”
7. “The promotion of transpersonal teaching-learning” “Engaging in genuine teaching-learning experience that attends to unity of being and meaning, attempting to stay within others’ frame of reference”
8. “The provision of supportive, protective, and (or) corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environment” “Creating healing environment at all levels (physical as well as nonphysical, subtle environment of energy and consciousness, whereby wholeness, beauty, comfort, dignity, and peace are potentiated)”
9. “The assistance with gratification of human needs” “Assisting with basic needs, with an intentional caring consciousness, administering ‘human care essentials,’ which potentiate alignment of mind body spirit, wholeness, and unity of being in all aspects of care”
10. “The allowance for existential-phenomenological forces” became “allowance for existential-phenomenological-spiritual forces” (in 2004 Watson website) “Opening and attending to spiritual-mysterious and existential dimensions of one’s own life-death; soul care for self and the one-being-cared for”

From Watson, J. (1979). Nursing: The philosophy and science of caring (pp. 9-10). Boston: Little, Brown & Co. (for original carative factors); and Watson, J. (2004). Theory of human caring (website). Denver, CO: Jean Watson/University of Colorado School of Nursing. Retrieved January 25, 2008, from: http://hschealth.uchsc.edu/son/faculty/jw_evolution.htm (for caritas processes and revised carative factors).

Watson (1999) describes a “Transpersonal Caring Relationship” as foundational to her theory; it is a “special kind of human care relationship—a union with another person—high regard for the whole person and their being-in-the-world” (p. 63).



Watson bases her theory for nursing practice on the following 10 carative factors. Each has a dynamic phenomenological component that is relative to the individuals involved in the relationship as encompassed by nursing. The first three interdependent factors serve as the “philosophical foundation for the science of caring” (Watson, 1979, pp. 9-10). As Watson’s ideas and values have evolved, she has translated the 10 carative factors into caritas processes. Caritas processes include a decidedly spiritual dimension and overt evocation of love and caring (Watson, 2007a). (See Table 7-1 [p. 97] for the original carative factors and for caritas process interpretation.)

1. Formation of a Humanistic altruistic System of Values

    Humanistic and altruistic values are learned early in life but can be influenced greatly by nurse educators. This factor can be defined as satisfaction through giving and extension of the sense of self (Watson, 1979).

2. Instillation of Faith-Hope

    This factor, incorporating humanistic and altruistic values, facilitates the promotion of holistic nursing care and positive health within the patient population. It also describes the nurse’s role in developing effective nursepatient interrelationships and in promoting wellness by helping the patient adopt health-seeking behaviors (Watson, 1979).

3. Cultivation of Sensitivity to Self and to Others

    The recognition of feelings leads to selfactualization through self-acceptance for both the nurse and the patient. As nurses acknowledge their sensitivity and feelings, they become more genuine, authentic, and sensitive to others (Watson, 1979).

4. Development of a Helping-Trust Relationship

    The development of a helping-trust relationship between the nurse and patient is crucial for trans-personal caring. A trusting relationship promotes and accepts the expression of both positive and negative feelings. It involves congruence, empathy, non-possessive warmth, and effective communication. Congruence involves being real, honest, genuine, and authentic. Empathy is the ability to experience and, thereby, understand the other person’s perceptions and feelings and to communicate those understandings. Non-possessive warmth is demonstrated by: a moderate speaking volume, a relaxed open posture, and facial expressions that are congruent with other communications. Effective communication has cognitive, affective, and behavior response components (Watson, 1979).

5. Promotion and Acceptance of the Expression of Positive and Negative Feelings

    The sharing of feelings is a risk-taking experience for both nurse and patient. The nurse must be prepared for either positive or negative feelings. The nurse must recognize that intellectual and emotional understandings of a situation differ (Watson, 1979).

6. Systematic Use of the Scientific Problem-Solving Method for Decision Making

    Use of the nursing process brings a scientific problem-solving approach to nursing care, dispelling the traditional image of a nurse as the doctor’s handmaiden. The nursing process is similar to the research process in that it is systematic and organized (Watson, 1979).

7. Promotion of Interpersonal Teaching-Learning

    This factor is an important concept for nursing in that it separates caring from curing. It allows the patient to be informed and shifts the responsibility for wellness and health to the patient. The nurse facilitates this process with teaching-learning techniques that are designed to enable patients to provide self-care, determine personal needs, and provide opportunities for their personal growth (Watson, 1979).

8. Provision for Supportive, Protective, and Corrective Mental, Physical, Sociocultural, and Spiritual Environment

    Nurses must recognize the influence that internal and external environments have on the health and illness of individuals. Concepts relevant to the internal environment include the mental and spiritual well-being and sociocultural beliefs of an individual. In addition to epidemiological variables, other external variables include comfort, privacy, safety, and clean, aesthetic surroundings (Watson, 1979).

9. Assistance with Gratification of Human Needs

    The nurse recognizes the biophysical, psychophysical, psychosocial, and intrapersonal needs of self and patient. Patients must satisfy lower-order needs before attempting to attain higher-order needs. Food, elimination, and ventilation are examples of lower-order biophysical needs, whereas activity, inactivity, and sexuality are considered lower-order psychophysical needs. Achievement and affiliation are higher-order psychosocial needs. Self-actualization is a higher-order intrapersonal-interpersonal need (Watson, 1979).

10. Allowance for Existential-Phenomenological Forces

    Phenomenology describes data of the immediate situation that help people understand the phenomena in question. Existential psychology is a science of human existence that uses phenomenological analysis. Watson considers this factor difficult to understand. It is included to provide a thought-provoking experience leading to a better understanding of the self and others.

    Watson believes that nurses have the responsibility to go beyond the 10 carative factors and to facilitate patients’ development in the area of health promotion through preventive health actions. This goal is accomplished by teaching patients personal changes to promote health, providing situational support, teaching problem-solving methods, and recognizing coping skills and adaptation to loss (Watson, 1979).


Watson’s research into caring incorporates empiricism, but it emphasizes methods that begin with nursing phenomena rather than with the natural sciences (Leininger, 1979). She has used human science, empirical phenomenology, and transcendent phenomenology in her work. She has investigated new languages, such as metaphor and poetry, to communicate, convey, and elucidate human caring and healing (Watson, 1987, 2005). In her inquiry and writing, she increasingly incorporates her conviction that a sacred relationship exists between humankind and the universe (Watson, 1997, 2005).


Watson calls for joining of science with humanities so that nurses will have a strong liberal arts background and will understand other cultures as a requisite for using Caring Science and a mind-body-spiritual framework. She believes that study of the humanities expands the mind and enhances thinking skills and personal growth. Watson compares the current status of nursing with the mythological Danaides, who attempted to fill a broken jar with water, only to see water flow through the cracks. Until nursing merges theory and practice through the combined study of the sciences and the humanities, Watson believes that similar cracks will be evident in the scientific basis of nursing knowledge (Watson, 1981, 1997).

Most recently, Watson describes assumptions for a Transpersonal Caring Relationship extending to multidisciplinary practitioners:

image Moral commitment, intentionality, and caritas consciousness by the nurse protect, enhance, and potentiate human dignity, wholeness, and healing, thereby allowing a person to create or co-create his/her own meaning for existence.

image The conscious will of the nurse affirms the subjective and spiritual significance of the patient while seeking to sustain caring in the midst of threat and despair—biological, institutional, or otherwise. The result is honoring of an I-Thou Relationship rather than an I-It Relationship.

image The nurse seeks to recognize, accurately detect, and connect with the inner condition of spirit of another through genuine presence and by being centered in the caring moment; actions, words, behaviors, cognition, body language, feelings, intuition, thoughts, senses, the energy field, and so forth, all contribute to the transpersonal caring connection.

image The nurse’s ability to connect with another at this transpersonal spirit-to-spirit level is translated via movements, gestures, facial expressions, procedures, information, touch, sound, verbal expressions, and other scientific, technical, aesthetic, and human means of communication, into nursing human art/acts or intentional caring-healing modalities.

image The caring-healing modalities within the context of transpersonal caring/caritas consciousness potentiate harmony, wholeness, and unity of being by releasing some of the disharmony, that is, the blocked energy that interferes with natural healing processes; thus the nurse helps another through this process to access the healer within, in the fullest sense of Nightingale’s view of nursing.

image Ongoing personal and professional development and spiritual growth, as well as personal spiritual practice, assist the nurse in entering into this deeper level of professional healing practice, allowing for awakening to a transpersonal condition of the world and fuller actualization of the “ontological competencies” necessary at this level of advanced practice of nursing.

image The nurse’s own life history, previous experiences, opportunities for focused study, having lived through or experienced various human conditions, and having imagined others’ feelings in various circumstances are valuable teachers for this work; to some degree, the knowledge and consciousness needed can be gained through work with other cultures and study of the humanities (art, drama, literature, personal story, narratives of illness journeys, etc.), along with exploration of one’s own values, deep beliefs, and relationship with self, others, and one’s world.

image Other facilitators are personal growth experiences such as psychotherapy, transpersonal psychology, meditation, bioenergetics work, and other models for spiritual awakening.

image Continuous growth for developing and maturing within a transpersonal caring model is ongoing. The notion of health professionals as wounded healers is acknowledged as part of the necessary growth and compassion called forth within this theory/philosophy (Watson, 2006b).



According to Watson (1988), the word nurse is both noun and verb. To her, nursing consists of “knowledge, thought, values, philosophy, commitment, and action, with some degree of passion” (p. 53). Nurses are interested in understanding health, illness, and the human experience; promoting and restoring health; and preventing illness. Her theory calls upon nurses to go beyond procedures, tasks, and techniques used in practice settings, coined as the “trim” of nursing, in contrast to the “core” of nursing, meaning those aspects of the nurse-patient relationship resulting in a therapeutic outcome that are included in the transpersonal caring process (Watson, 2005; Watson, 2007). Using the original and evolving 10 carative factors, the nurse provides care to various patients. Each carative factor and, more recently, the clinical caritas processes describe the caring process of how a patient attains or maintains health or dies a peaceful death. Conversely, Watson describes curing as a medical term that refers to the elimination of disease (Watson, 1979). As Watson’s work has evolved, she has increased her focus on the human care process and the transpersonal aspects of caring-healing in a Transpersonal Caring Relationship (1999, 2005).

Watson’s evolving work continues to make explicit that humans cannot be treated as objects and humans cannot be separated from self, other, nature, and the larger universe. The caring-healing paradigm is located within a cosmology that is both metaphysical and transcendent with the co-evolving human in the universe. She asks others to be open to possibility and to put away assumptions of self and others, to learn again, and to “see” using all of one’s senses. The context calls for a “sense of reverence and sacredness with regard to life and all living things. It incorporates both art and science, as they are also being redefined, acknowledging a convergence between the two” (Watson, 2007, para. 14).

Personhood (Human Being)

Watson uses interchangeably the terms human being, person, life, personhood, and self. She views the person as “a unity of mind/body/spirit/nature” (1996, p. 147), and she describes that “personhood is tied to notions that one’s soul possess a body that is not confined by objective time and space …” (Watson, 1988, p. 45). Watson states, “I make the point to use mind, body, soul or unity within an evolving emergent world view-connectedness of all, sometimes referred to as Unitary Transformative Paradigm-Holographic thinking. It is often considered dualistic because I use the three words ‘mind, body, soul.’ I do it intentionally to connote and make explicit spirit/metaphysical—which is silent in other models” (Watson, personal communication, April 12, 1994).


Originally, Watson’s (1979) definition of health was derived from the World Health Organization as, “The positive state of physical, mental, and social well-being with the inclusion of three elements: (1) a high level of overall physical, mental, and social functioning; (2) a general adaptive-maintenance level of daily functioning; (3) the absence of illness (or the presence of efforts that lead to its absence)” (p. 220). Later, she defined health as “unity and harmony within the mind, body, and soul” it is associated with the “degree of congruence between the self as perceived and the self as experienced” (Watson, 1988, p. 48). Watson (1988) stated further, “illness is not necessarily disease; [instead it is a] subjective turmoil or disharmony within a person’s inner self or soul at some level of disharmony within the spheres of the person, for example, in the mind, body, and soul, either consciously or unconsciously (p. 47).” “While illness can lead to disease, illness and health are [a] phenomenon that is not necessarily viewed on a continuum. Disease processes can also result from genetic, constitutional vulnerabilities and manifest themselves when disharmony is present. Disease in turn creates more disharmony” (Watson, 1985, 1988, p. 48).


In the original ten carative factors, Watson speaks to the nurse’s role in the environment as “attending to supportive, protective, and or corrective mental, physical, societal, and spiritual environments” (Watson, 1979, p. 10). In her later work, she describes that “healing spaces can be used to help others transcend illness, pain, and suffering,” and she emphasizes that environment and person are connected: “when the nurse enters the patient’s room, a magnetic field of expectation is created” (Watson, 2003, p. 200). She also has a broad view of environment: “the caring science is not only for sustaining humanity, but also for sustaining the planet … Belonging is to an infinite universal spirit world of nature and all living things; it is the primordial link of humanity and life itself, across time and space, boundaries and nationalities” (Watson, 2003, p. 305).


The framework is presented in a logical form. It contains broad ideas and addresses health-illness phenomena. Watson’s definition of caring as opposed to curing delineates nursing from medicine. This concept is helpful in classifying the body of nursing knowledge as a separate science.

Since 1979, the development of the theory has been toward clarifying the person of the nurse and the person of the patient. Another emphasis has been on existential-phenomenological and spiritual factors. Her current work (2005) reminds us of the “spirit-filled dimensions of caring work and caring knowledge” (p. x).

Watson’s theory has foundational support from theorists in other disciplines, such as Rogers, Erikson, and Maslow. She is adamant in her support for nursing education that incorporates holistic knowledge from many disciplines and integrates the humanities, arts, and sciences. She believes that the increasingly complex requirements of the healthcare system and patient needs require nurses to have a broad, liberal education. The ideals, content, and theory of liberal education must be integrated into professional nursing education (Sakalys & Watson, 1986).

Watson recently has incorporated dimensions of a postmodern paradigm shift throughout her theory of transpersonal caring. Modern theoretical underpinnings have been associated with concepts such as steady-state maintenance, adaptation, linear interaction, and problem-based nursing practice. The postmodern approach moves beyond this point; the redefining of such a nursing paradigm leads to a more holistic, humanistic, open system, wherein harmony, interpretation, and self-transcendence are the emerging directions reflected in this epistemological shift. Watson (1999) believes that nursing must be challenged to construct and co-construct ancient and new knowledge toward an ever-evolving humanity of possibilities to further clarify nursing for a new era. “The theory evolution has tended to place greater emphasis on transpersonal caring, intentionality, caring consciousness, and the caring field” (Watson, personal communication, August 21, 2000).

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Feb 9, 2017 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on Watson’s Philosophy and Theory of Transpersonal Caring

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