An Intimate Conversation with Dr. Jean Watson


Written with contributing author Linda Robinson, MSN, CPXP, RN, Vice President of Clinical Excellence, MDM Healthcare

Dr. Jean Watson is a prominent nurse theorist who made significant contributions to nursing. Her theory of caring has been widely adopted and applied by nurses all over the world. Watson's Theory of Caring is a humanistic approach to nursing that emphasizes the importance of the nurse-patient relationship. According to Watson, caring is a fundamental component of nursing and involves a deep commitment to the well-being of the patient. It involves being present and attentive to the patient's physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. The Theory of Caring has significant implications for nursing practice. It emphasizes the importance of the nurse-patient relationship, which is essential for the delivery of high-quality care. It also recognizes the importance of the patient's emotional and spiritual well-being, which is often overlooked in traditional medical care.

Watson has had a long, illustrious career both as a nurse and in academia, and has authored over 30 books on caring. She has been recognized with a myriad of prestigious awards including being recently inducted as a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing, its highest honor. She currently serves as the Founder and Director of a non-profit foundation, Watson Caring Science Institute.

Recently, nurse thought leader Linda Robinson, MSN, CPXP, RN, VP of Clinical Excellence at MDM Healthcare, interviewed Dr. Watson for an episode of our podcast PX Space.

Watson shared her thoughts about the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic. “It’s been a wakeup call for all of us, at the personal level at the institutional level, and at the societal level because it has put a spotlight on all the difficulties that nurses have experienced across time in terms of their commitment, their dedication, values, philosophical orientation toward humanity and caring and health for all. Yet the institutions have been structured around economics and control, “fix it” models of medical intervention at all costs,” she said. Watson said the result of this has been an awakening about the critical importance of human connection in patient care.

Watson also referred to the COVID 19 pandemic as a “living metaphor” for a worldview shift structured around the philosophy of the interconnectedness of humanity. Watson explained that this shift is forcing institutions to pay attention to humanized care models.

She also explained that hospital administrators must understand they are responsible for providing nurses with a healing environment.

The innovative cloud-based patient experience platform Journey PX supports Watson’s mission to humanize care by partnering with providers to enrich the patient experience.

“We talk about value-based care, but real value can be found in the relationships nurses create with their patients,” said Robinson. Journey PX aids in the interoperability between technology and hospital care teams by allowing them to offload non-clinical tasks, and create lean workflows, allowing them to have more time for intimate connection with patients at the bedside.

Robinson reflected on her conversation with Watson. “Caring begins with being present, as Dr. Watson so eloquently expressed. We know that caring improves patient outcomes. As discussed, it is difficult to be present with our patients in this post-pandemic chaotic healthcare landscape of overstressed, demanding workplaces. Nurses are dealing with the effects of nursing shortages, an experience complexity gap, and an overwhelming list of tasks,” she said.

Robinson expressed that the important question to address is how care organizations can assist nurses by giving them more time at the bedside. “At Journey PX we are dedicated to working with nurses and organizations on utilizing patient engagement technology that is high touch, high tech,” she said.

You can hear more from Dr. Watson’s intimate discussion with Linda Robinson, including her thoughts on the nursing shortage, nurse rounding and more by listening to the PX Space podcast interview.

To view more information on the Watson Caring Science Institute, including the programs they offer nurses, visit their website.