Watson Post Modern Nursing

  1. I am planning research using Watson's theory. It seems to me that her book written in 1988 (Nursing:Human Science and Human Care) is very succinct and usable. But when I read "Postmodern Nursing and Beyond", I am uncomfortable with it. The emphases on the feminine archetype and energy for healing seem very theoretical, and don't speak to my own perspective. Does anyone else think there is a real change in her focus?
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   llg
    It's been a while since I dug deeply into Watson's work, but I think it is a great question and wanted to respond.

    As with any scholar, Jean Watson's writings reflect where her thinking is at a given moment along with the purpose of the particular piece of work. The material for the 1988 book was her attempt to develop the foundation for an undergraduate curriculum. (I took a class with her in grad school and that is the explanation she gave us for how "her theory" came to be.) The work is therefore very concrete as it tries to establish a blueprint for organizing the content necessary to be taught. Her later works were not written for that specific purpose. They reflect the experiences she has had and philosophizing she has done as she has explored a wide range of ideas that relate to nursing throughout the world.

    Are you concerned that you don't feel as comfortable with all her more recent works? Does that make you hesitant to base your research on her earlier work?

    I think it is perfectily OK to use someone's older work as a foundation even if you don't want to buy everything they say later "hook, line, and sinker." In such a case you are simply using what you think is a good idea and developing it in your own direction instead of in the direction that the original author chose to follow. Each person is free to follow their own path in whatever direction seems appropriate, even when we choose to start from the same place. Usually, a scholar's lifelong body of work includes some things we love and agree with totally and other things we don't agree with. That's normal. Use the part you like: explore and critique the parts you don't: further develop those things you find useful. Such work enriches the field.

    Good luck,
    llg
  4. by   bookwormom
    You hit the nail on the head! I like her older theory, and I think "Postmodern Nursing and Beyond" is rich in terrific ideas. My two big concerns are thus:

    First, when she talks about consciousness and "recovering the Sacred", she usually refers to nonChristian religious systems. My current reading includes abundant literature about expanded consciousness, in relation to the Christian God as well as other belief systems. I would be comfortable with a wholly secular approach, but I am uncomfortable with an approach that seems to deliberately omit an entire spiritual tradition.

    Second, I am not completely comfortable in accepting that thoughts embody energy, except in a metaphorical way.

    I am reading the "Life of Tereas of Avila" whilst I am reading "Postmodern Nursing and Beyond". Certainly an interesting contrast!





    Quote from llg
    It's been a while since I dug deeply into Watson's work, but I think it is a great question and wanted to respond.

    As with any scholar, Jean Watson's writings reflect where her thinking is at a given moment along with the purpose of the particular piece of work. The material for the 1988 book was her attempt to develop the foundation for an undergraduate curriculum. (I took a class with her in grad school and that is the explanation she gave us for how "her theory" came to be.) The work is therefore very concrete as it tries to establish a blueprint for organizing the content necessary to be taught. Her later works were not written for that specific purpose. They reflect the experiences she has had and philosophizing she has done as she has explored a wide range of ideas that relate to nursing throughout the world.

    Are you concerned that you don't feel as comfortable with all her more recent works? Does that make you hesitant to base your research on her earlier work?

    I think it is perfectily OK to use someone's older work as a foundation even if you don't want to buy everything they say later "hook, line, and sinker." In such a case you are simply using what you think is a good idea and developing it in your own direction instead of in the direction that the original author chose to follow. Each person is free to follow their own path in whatever direction seems appropriate, even when we choose to start from the same place. Usually, a scholar's lifelong body of work includes some things we love and agree with totally and other things we don't agree with. That's normal. Use the part you like: explore and critique the parts you don't: further develop those things you find useful. Such work enriches the field.

    Good luck,
    llg
  5. by   llg
    While I certainly can't speak for her, I would hesitate to jump to the conclusion that Dr. Watson puposely intended to exclude Christian philosophy. Her apparent use of more examples from non-Christian philosophy may stem from her attempt to inform the reader about traditions of which they may not be aware. The society in which she was raised (the U.S.) and now works is predominantly Christian and her explorations have lead her to consider other traditions -- which she has tried to incorporate into the "Western, Christian" frame of reference from which she came -- and to share with a predominantly "Western" audience.

    You seem to be on a good track of analyzing what she is saying and considering that in relation to what others say and what you think for yourself. I see nothing wrong with staying on that track and building on her own work by adding your own contributions to it. In fact, it sounds like a great approach to me.

    By the way, I use my computer at work to participate in this bulletin board. So, I once I leave work at the end of today (Friday), I won't be back at my computer again until Monday. Please don't be offended if I don't respond to any posts over the weekend.

    Good luck with your project,
    llg
  6. by   missmercy
    I found some of Waton's stuff a bit odd -- Just an FYI Sister Mary Simone Roach (Canadian!!!) has written "The Human Act of Caring: A Blueprint foe Health Professionals" that seemed to say a lot of the same things that Watson did -- a bit more down to earth -- more in lne with my "traditional" perspectives -- still holistic and spiritual.
  7. by   bookwormom
    I have been reading Burkhart's book on spirituality, and I ran into a very poignant story by Jean Watson about her experience with an eye injury and the death of her husband. It was very moving and helped me put her later writrings in the context of the experience.
  8. by   llg
    Yes. Dr. Watson has gone through some tough times in her life. It's good to remind ourselves periodically that scholars are people, too ... and that their work will be influenced by the events that shape their lives and their thinking.

    llg

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