What is Watson’s Theory of Transpersonal Caring?

Afza.Malik GDA

10 Carative Factors By Jean Watson

What is Watson’s Theory of Transpersonal Caring?

Major Concepts, Society, Human being, Health,Nursing, Strengths, Weaknesses of theory.

    In the words of Watson’s theory, “Nursing is concerned with promoting health, preventing illness, caring for the sick, and restoring health.”  Its main purpose is the health promotion, along with the treatment of diseases. In the  view of  Watson, caring is central to nursing practice and promotes health better than a simple medical cure.(McEwen and Wills, 2017)

    A nurse is the practitioner and demonstrator according to nursing model. All of it based on caring for patients promotes growth; a caring environment accepts a person as they are and looks to what they may become.

Major Concepts

    There are four main concepts about Philosophy and Science of caring: human being, health, environment or society, and nursing.


    Society acts as a source of values that determine how one should behave and what goals one should strive toward. Watson states:

    “Caring (and nursing) has existed in every society. Every society has had some people who have cared for others. A caring attitude is not transmitted from generation to generation by genes. The culture of the profession transmits it as a unique way of coping with its environment.”

Human being

    Human being is a valued person to be cared for, respected, nurtured, understood, and assisted; in general, a philosophical view of a person as a fully functional integrated self. The human is considered as greater than and different from the sum of his or her parts. It is not only a physical object but also having feelings and emotions.


    The health defined as a unity and harmony within the mind, body, and soul. It is associated with the degree of synchronization between the self and the self as experienced. 

    It is defined as a high level of overall physical, mental, and social functioning. It also requires general adaptive-maintenance level of daily functioning; and the absence of illness, or the presence of efforts leading to the absence of illness.


    Nursing is a human science of persons and human health-illness experiences mediated by professional, personal, scientific, esthetic, and ethical human care transactions.(McEwen and Wills, 2017)


    In different views there is a difficult or easy view about Watson’s theory. This model leads and guide to improve practice as it can equip healthcare providers with the most satisfying aspects of practice and provide the patient with holistic care.

    In her theory she using nontechnical, sophisticated, fluid, and evolutionary language to artfully describe her concepts, such as caring-love, curative factors, and Caritas. Meanwhile paradoxically, abstract and simple concepts like caring-love are difficult to practice, yet practicing and experiencing those leads to greater understanding.

    Watson’s theory is best understood as a moral and philosophical basis for nursing practices. The scope of the framework encompasses broad aspects of health-illness phenomena. Also, the theory addresses aspects of health promotion, preventing illness, and experiencing peaceful death, thereby increasing its generality.

    This theory is also positive in many aspects. It is logical in that the carative factors are based on broad assumptions that provide a supportive framework. In general carative factors are logically derived from the assumptions and related to the hierarchy of needs. The carative factors provide guidelines for nurse-patient interactions, an important aspect of patient care.

Weaknesses of theory

    The theory is deficient in furnish explicit direction about what to do to achieve authentic caring-healing relationships. The nurses who want concrete guidelines may not feel secure when trying to use this theory alone. 

    Some have suggested that it takes too much time to incorporate the Caritas into practice, and some note that Watson’s personal growth emphasis is a quality “that while appealing to some may not appeal to others.”


    Watson began is the one of the pioneer developing her theory while she was assistant dean of the undergraduate program at the University of Colorado, and it evolved into planning and implementing its nursing Ph.D. program.

    The Philosophy and Science of Caring addresses how nurses express care to their patients in a holistic manner. Nursing care is central to nursing practice and promotes health better than a simple medical cure. She believes that a holistic approach to health care is central to the practice of caring in nursing.

    This concept results in the form  of the 10 carative factors: 

    (1) forming humanistic-altruistic value systems, (2) instilling faith-hope, (3) cultivating a sensitivity to self and others, (4) developing a helping-trust relationship, (5) promoting an expression of feelings, (6) using problem-solving for decision-making, (7) promoting teaching-learning, (8) promoting a supportive environment, (9) assisting with the gratification of human needs, and (10) allowing for existential-phenomenological forces. 

    The first three factors form the “philosophical foundation” for the science of caring, and the remaining seven come from that foundation.    

    Watson prove her theory on descriptive way, she acknowledges the theory’s evolving nature and welcomes input from others. The theory does not lend itself easily to research conducted through traditional scientific methods, recent qualitative nursing approaches are appropriate.

    This theory contributes to provide a useful and important metaphysical orientation for the delivery of nursing system. Watson’s theoretical concepts, such as the use of self, patient-identified needs, the caring process, and the spiritual sense of being human, may help nurses and their patients to find meaning and harmony during a period of increasing complexity. 

    Watson’s rich and varied knowledge of philosophy, the arts, the human sciences, and traditional science and traditions, joined with her prolific ability to communicate, has enabled professionals in many disciplines to share and recognize her work.


ALLIGOOD, M. & TOMEY, A. 2010. Nursing theorists and their work. seven. United States of America: Elsevier.

KNESTRICK, J. & LOHRI-POSEY, B. 2005. Spirituality and health: perceptions of older women in a rural senior high rise. SLACK Incorporated Thorofare, NJ.

LAB, N. 13fab2021. Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring.

MCEWEN, M. & WILLS, E. M. 2017. Theoretical basis for nursing, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

WATSON, J. 1999. Postmodern nursing and beyond.

WATSON, J. 2006. Carative factors–Caritas processes guide to professional nursing. Klinisk Sygepleje, 20, 21-27.

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