Jean Watson’s model of nursing is one that involves providing and maintaining health not only at the individual level, but at the community level as well. Watson therefore defines health as the needs of the patient that include physical and mental aspects, along with spiritual considerations as well (Watson, 2006). This is practiced by demonstrating empathy and examining the individual in his or her own community environment.
Watson believes that health conditions are the result of environmental factors, such as relationships, the community, society, and available healthcare services. Watson’s main contribution is that she advocates that attention should be paid to the factors that have an overall impact on health, rather than just viewing healthcare as a means to treat illnesses or disease. As a result, Watson pays considerable attention to issues such as exercise and nutrition, and believes that educating the public on ways they can maintain healthy activities and proper diet should be an end-goal of nursing (Watson, 2006).
Outside of maintaining one’s individual health, Watson also believes that one should engage in practices that encourage sound mental and spiritual health as well. For the role of the nurse, this would include conducting good transpersonal communications between nurse and patient. Transpersonal communications involve forms of nonverbal communication such as expression, listening, and intuition. The nurse should perceive the patient not only in regard to their current physical condition, but also in regard to larger environmental factors that may have played a role in the patient’s current needs (Watson, 2006). As such, Watson believes that nursing should not only address these physical needs, but seek to provide education and recommendations for those whose health conditions have been impacted by larger environmental conditions. All patients should be treated with respect, and instead of employing a one-size-fits-all approach, each patient’s needs should be considered individually.
- Watson, J. (2006). Caring theory as an ethical guide to administrative and clinical practices. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 30(1), 48-55.