Theories, Principles, and Quality Health Care

Nursing is viewed as one of the most trusted, ethical, and knowledgeable professions. Over the years, there have been changes to the roles that are important in both clinical components of nursing and theories of nursing. Theories are guidelines for standards, evidence-based, used for practice, and constantly changing. A nursing theory is a set of concepts or definitions derived from nursing models or from other disciplines and project a purposive, systematic view of phenomena by designing specific inter-relationships among concepts for the purposes of describing, explaining, predicting, and/or prescribing (Turkel et al. 2018).

One nursing theorist I found interesting and useful for an advanced practice nurse (APN), is Jean Watson. In 1979 she developed the theory of human caring in nursing which addresses how nurses express care to their patients. Watson’s theory of caring in nursing centered on the idea that patient care is a holistic treatment and not just a science. Caring is central to nursing practice and promotes health better than a simple medical cure (Gunawan et al., 2022). She believes that a holistic approach to health care is central to the practice of caring in nursing. That if the nurse is more attentive and conscious during patient interaction, they can deliver effective and continuous care with a deeper personal connection.  The term care promotes health and growth, acceptance of oneself, can be demonstrated and practiced, and has caritive factors (Gunwan et al., 2022). Watson’s theory of care consists of four major concepts: human being, health, environment/society, and nursing (Gunwan et al., 2022). In all four concepts the patient is the focus of the nurse. Watson refers to the human being as a valued person in and of him or herself to be cared for, respected, nurtured, understood, and assisted. Our main concern as nurses is the patient’s health be restored and illness prevented for them to be fully functional mentally and socially. Watson’s theory has encouraged the field of nursing by having more compassion for our patients. Her theory encourages a more emotional and open approach to the care of patients in a healthcare practice. Nurses are encouraged to work with their patients and their families in a genuine and holistic manner, which in turn, provides a positive experience with better results. This theory helps remind and reaffirm nurses why they chose this field. Watson’s theory is at the heart and center of everything nurses do each day for every patient and their families.

I feel many patients would define high quality care is an environment that is caring, patient centered, that embodies the patient as whole. Patients want to feel they can communicate and be heard by their caregivers. They want different options and be able to decide what they feel will help them get better or have a higher quality of life. They want to have care that is compassionate and feel important to their providers and not just like another number.  I have heard numerous times while working as a nurse from patients that they prefer having an APN as a provider versus a doctor because they care more and spend more time with the patient.

Watson has helped define nursing as a patient centered profession by ensuring the patient is at the heart of everything nurses do. Watson’s caring theory focuses on promoting and restoring health, patient-centered practice, and holistic care. All these values hold true to what the patient and their families want during their episode of care and the continuum of their care journey.


Gunawan, J., Aungsuroch, Y., Watson, J., & Marzilli, C. (2022). Nursing administration: Watson’s theory of human caring. Nursing Science Quarterly, 35(2), 235-243. to an external site.

Turkel, M. C., Watson, J., & Giovannoni, J. (2018). Caring science or science of caring. Nursing Science Quarterly, 31(1), 66-71. to an external site.


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