Theory Practice

Theory provides the basis of understanding the reality of nursing; it enables the nurse to understand why an event happens. Please share your thoughts about nursing theory.

Which nursing theory do you feel will have the greatest impact on your practice and why?

Jean Watson’s theory of human caring is an idea that impacted me the moment I read about it. Prior to this course, I do not recall hearing about Jean Watson, nor her theory. I strongly believe that implementation of her theory could change nursing practice for the better. Swanson (1999) describes nurses as hardened, brittle, worn down and robot-like, and unable to practice caring. Since 1999, about 20 years later, I see the same qualities in nurses today and sometimes, I am that brittle, worn down nurse. As Watson (2009) explains, nurses are torn between caring, and keeping up with the high paced, task-oriented practices that are demanded of them while caring for a heavy patient load. These attitudes and practices continue without intervention or even acknowledgement. It seems to be normal now. A major part of the problem is high nurse-patient ratios. As a travel nurse, some hospitals I go to file for unsafe staffing on a daily basis with no intervention or assistance from management. Other hospitals go on strikes because of unsafe patient care and also contract negotiations. I believe that if nursing management as well as nursing staff begin to implement Watson’s theory of human caring, this will have a positive impact on nursing practice, overall job satisfaction, and nurse retention.

Is there an article that you particularly found most useful in utilizing theory in your area of practice?

The article by Watson (2009) is very candid and accurate. She explains how nursing administrators and Chief Administrative Officers are chief agents in transforming nursing care, practices and attitudes (Watson, 2009). She also suggests programs and goals that could help improve the nursing culture by use of her nursing theory. The article explains that qualities such as compassion and caring are lacking not only in the nursing field, but in society as well (Watson, 2009). Living in New York City is a constant struggle because I am surrounded by people who will refuse to give up their seat to an elderly or pregnant individual. While there are some people who would give up their seat in a heartbeat without having to be asked. I understand that life experiences influence our perceptions and actions, however, while at work, I believe that keeping in mind theories such as Watson’s could help improve nursing practice.

Which of the units’ discussion questions did you find most challenging; discuss why you chose that one?

The first discussion question was very challenging to me. The prompt was to discuss the value of theory to the profession of nursing (Nursing Practice, Nursing Education, Nursing Research, or Nursing Management) and to identify one way in which you could use theory to improve your practice in your present or future role. This was challenging to me because I knew very little about nursing theory and I did not know where to start. I had to do a lot of research prior to answering the question to formulate background knowledge on how to thoroughly answer the question.

Which discussion did you find more useful to understand nursing theory and its application in your area of practice?

The Unit 6 discussion question which prompted us to complete a library search for a peer-reviewed journal article that integrates nursing theory and research and explains the benefits of nursing theory in nursing research was very useful to me. As the course progressed, my knowledge and understanding of nursing theories increased. I believe with this foundation and knowledge from continuous readings, I was able to grasp the material and understand its application to nursing practice more readily than in the beginning of the course. Research evidence also allowed me to think more practical and relate the theories to actual practice.


Swanson, K. (1999) What is known about caring in nursing research: a literary meta-analysis. In A.S. Hinshaw, S. Feetham, and J. Shaver (Eds). Handbook of Clinical Nursing Research (pp.31-60). Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications.

Watson, J. (2009). CARING SCIENCE AND HUMAN CARING THEORY: TRANSFORMING PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES OF NURSING AND HEALTH CARE.Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 31(4), 466-82. Retrieved from