Can Someone Be a Nurse Without Jean Watson??

  1. Ok now, as I delve back INTO nursing philosophy and theories, I come across, again, the theories of Jean Watson that have been hailed as the greatest thing since polyurethane IV bags - The Caring Theory of Nursing.

    Personally, I have never been a fan of Watson, only because I feel that she OVERemphasized the caring aspect, and, in my opinion, dumbified nursing - hence, the ad campaign in the late 80's "If Caring Were Enough, Anyone Could Be a Nurse." Watson threw a fit when she saw this.

    As nursing evolves to a more technically challenging field, requiring more acute assessment skills, and as the
    "How Women Know" movement which has shaped nursing education for the last decade or so has become archaic, wondering what your thoughts are on if someone can be a nurse and NOT subscribe to the caring theory. Can one be a competent nurse and NOT care about her patients any more deeply than simply getting the job done?

    Watson's theory goes a bit deeper than simply "caring" - more so than "caring" about any other job. But "caring" as far as honestly caring about the patient as you would your mom or dad.

    Do you think someone CAN be an effective nurse WITHOUT having so much an emphasis on loving her patients?
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  2. 440 Comments

  3. by   eltrip
    Suzy,
    I haven't looked at a nursing theory book in at least 8, if not 9 years. I don't even remember reading about the caring theory. Gracious, I don't even remember the nursing theory my school of nursing espoused.

    Your question, "Can one be a competent nurse and NOT care about her patients any more deeply than simply getting the job done?" I believe that the answer to this is a hearty YES! I have seen any number of competent nurses who didn't care about the patient as one would his/her mom or dad. They do their job, which is to assist the patient to achieve the highest level of health and independence possible.

    I know that I've provided care for folks for whom I didn't care about anywhere near how I care for family. I provided the care that they needed so that they could recover from their illness. The caring isn't about the patient personally, but more of an advocacy, I think. We have to care enough to be our patients' advocate to help them receive the most appropriate care for their condition.

    Just my opinion, of course, based on experience & observations.
  4. by   ERNurse752
    Hmmm...this may not be a popular opinion, but I think it's possible to be an effective nurse without loving or caring about the pt.

    You don't really have to care about someone to know that if their ABG sucks, and they're having a lot of trouble breathing, they need to be intubated stat.

    You don't have to care to know that someone is having an acute MI if you see huge tombstones on their EKG, and to take the appropriate steps in dealing with the situation.

    Not that caring isn't important...I think it is. I think people who care, in addition to being mentally sharp and being hard workers, make the best nurses.

    There are certainly people out there who are smart, but they're lazy b/c they don't care...and they are horrible nurses.

    Hope this made sense...I picked up an extra shift for the ICU last night, and I'm a little mentally fuzzy now.
  5. by   mintyRN
    One can be a good nurse without "caring deeply" for the pt. My experience in corrections showed me that. I had to provide care to child abusers, molesters, and murderers. Did I like these people? NO. I did provide them with the best possible nursing care though.
  6. by   karenelizabeth
    Ok I trained in the UK

    so

    Who is Jean Watson ?
    Last edit by karenelizabeth on Sep 12, '02
  7. by   dawngloves
    Originally posted by karenelizabeth
    Ok I trained in the UK

    so

    Who is Jean Watson ?
    ]
    That's OK. I'm in the U.S. and I've never heard of her!:imbar Although my therory classes were very early in the morning.....
  8. by   Mattigan
    I haven't even thought of "nursing theory" since grad school ( went thru BSN in the olden days and didn't have to worry about nursing theories). They make my head hurt.
  9. by   Stargazer
    Originally posted by dawngloves
    That's OK. I'm in the U.S. and I've never heard of her!:imbar Although my therory classes were very early in the morning.....
    :chuckle

    I don't remember hearing about her either, but I'd be lying if I said I remembered much--okay, ANY--nursing theory from my college days.

    I think nurses should provide the same level of care to their patients that they would want for their own family members, but that is not the same as loving your patients as your own.

    Frankly, I can think of several colleagues--docs and nurses alike--who got too attached to patients and consequently started making very poor medical decisions on their behalf. They were just too close.

    If I'm ill or injured, I don't want a family member taking care of me. I want a kind but objective professional who is capable of looking at the "big picture" clinically without being blinded by personal feelings.
    Last edit by Stargazer on Sep 12, '02
  10. by   911fltrn
    Its my humble belief that if you didnt care about people you wouldnt be a nurse. Now burnout comes and goes. Yes we do have to take care of "undesirables" at times. However, I try to check my judgements of people at the hospital door. Have a great day all!
  11. by   karenelizabeth
    thtally agree with you Stargazer

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    I think nurses should provide the same level of care to their patients that they would want for their own family members, but that is not the same as loving your patients as your own.
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    thats just the prinsiple I work on

    Karen

    Ok how do I quote short of re typing the whole quote tried highlighting text and cut and paste but on can do it's starting to bug
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I think to survive nursing and remain mentally/emotionally intact it is VITAL to be able to separate yourself as much as possible. That is NOT to say I do not care, but I do keep it in perspective. YOU HAVE TO or you risk BURNOUT! I am empathetic and there for the patient, to talk to, to hug, but honey, when I go home, it stays at WORK! It is how I stay emotionally intact and keep my family close.
  13. by   Fgr8Out
    I think there are different realms of caring. We all "care" when our patient has horrible lab values, or pain, or anything which pulls them away from their present level of health. If we didn't have some degree of caring, what would be our motivation for working towards helping a patient try to regain their level of health? "Just because....?"

    Now, emotional caring... that would be (IMHO) where you might be at risk of crossing a line... to the point where (as an earlier poster pointed out) Nursing judgement becomes clouded with emotional bias and can possibly impair ones ability to make sound decisions.

    Peace
  14. by   Glad2behere
    I think it is like "Which was first, the chicken or the egg?"

    Obviously a nurse has to care, care enough to be competent and do the best for the pt that can be done...but it doesn't mean one has to get intertwined with all the cobwebs of caring too much...and I think that kind of baggage is competency defeating, opening the door for emotional based judgments.

    In support of this, my dad was in the hospital recently, and I could have been his nurse, but chose not to because I felt the other nurses were more objective in his care...and they did a wonderful job. It was actually fun to be in a offspring role and occasionally helping him understand what to expect.

    I think all that theory stuff like that is bunk...and only decreases nursing as a profession. If the public perceived us as being technically competent and it was the mainstream of their perception, I think nursing would benefit from that immensely.

    These theories like this only propagate the perception that we are emotionally charged robotic bedpan goffers.

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