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.