Explore the fundamentals of nurse caring behaviors.

The nature
of being human
is caring.1

"If caring is to be retained as the "essence" of nursing, and if research in this area is to advance, then the various perspectives of caring must be clarified, the strengths and the limitations of these conceptualizations examined, and the applicability of caring as a concept and theory to the practice of nursing identified." 1

“Individuals are unique and irreducible, interconnected with others and the environment in caring relationships. The nature of being human is to be caring. Humans choose values that give meaning to living and enhance well-being. Well-being is creating and living the meaning of life. From this lens, the individual defines what  wholeness means to him or her, what is necessary for well-being, and what matters most at that time for the one nursed.”2

The Dalai Lama, July 2015  
“We are all the same as human beings, we all want to lead a happy life. … ‘I need to be happy, I need to have warm feelings towards others. This builds self-confidence, honesty, transparency, which leads to trust. And trust is the basis of friendship. We are social animals and we need friends. This is a source of happiness I wish to share”.3

5 categories of caring

In 1978 Carper first suggested that there were 4 classifications of the patterns of nursing knowledge: empirical-scientific, ethical, personal and aesthetic.4

Morse et al. (1990) theorized that the concept of caring has 5 epistemological (theories of knowledge) perspectives: caring as a human state; caring as a moral imperative or ideal; caring as an affect; caring as an interpersonal relationship; and caring as a nursing intervention.1

Caring as an innate human state is...
  • part of our human nature and is essential for our existence
  • reflected in our ability to care
  • a motivator for nursing actions
  • seen in all cultures
  • needed for the synthesis of political, economical, legal, humanistic and technological aspects.
  • essential that nurse have caring personalities and practice with compassion.
Caring as a fundamental moral imperative, ideal, or value
  • nurses adhere to commitments that maintain human dignity
  • have integrity
  • respect the patient as an individual
  • and these provide the basis for all nursing actions.
Caring as an affect
  • formed through emotional involvement with the patient
  • is reflected in empathy for the patient
  • leads to mutual self-actualization.
Caring as the nurse-patient interpersonal relationship
  • communication between nurse and patient (express and define caring)
  • build a professional, courteous, and trusting relationship
  • respond to the patient's unmet needs
  • having feelings (showing concern and empathy) and behaviors (teaching and education) that occur in the relationship
Caring as nursing therapeutic interventions
  • actions to comfort and assist patients
  • attentive listening
  • education and teaching
  • supporting and being there for the patient
  • advocate for the patient
  • help to alleviate symptoms
  • touch
  • congruence between perceptions of need
  • adequate knowledge and skills, technical competence for doing procedures and interventions (holistic care, individual patient’s physical, social, psychological, and spiritual needs)1

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