Printer Friendly

Assessing and Measuring Caring in Nursing and Health Science.

by Jean Watson, PhD, RN, HNC, FAAN; Springer Publishing, 2002; 249 pages, $48.95

Jean Watson, whose theory of human caring has been evolving over the years, presents a compendium of instruments to measure the elusive concept of caring. She openly acknowledges that while these instruments offer multiple means to measure caring, they serve only as "pointers" toward a science of human caring that may never be fully known. As in Watson's other contributions to nursing science, the conviction that caring is the very essence of nursing and needs to be researched as a vital aspect of nursing and health care permeates this scholarly work.

The major caring measurement tools reported in the literature since the early 1980s are presented and analyzed succinctly within a comprehensive framework that includes authors and contact persons, a description of the instruments, reported reliability/validity, and whether the instruments are theory derived. Nineteen major instruments are appraised in terms of usefulness and applicability and construct validity, as well as other measurement issues. They range from Larson's Care-Q and Care/SAT to the Methodist Health Care System Nurse Caring Instrument.

Watson determined that most instruments achieved a reasonable level of construct validity and were theoretically derived. She found, however, that the instruments were used in isolation--rarely, if ever, were two or more used in the same study to establish criterion validity--and recommends large, interdisciplinary, multivariate studies. The purpose would be to expand, explicate, and validate both current and emerging theories and instrumentation related to caring. Given the growing cultural diversity within our communities, it seems prudent that measurement instruments address the meaning of caring and caring behaviors to diverse groups and take into consideration potential language barriers.

Overall, this book will be a valuable asset to nurse researchers, graduate students, and health care professionals from related disciplines who desire to investigate caring as the essence of nursing practice or of being human. The selection and utilization of an appropriate instrument for such research is facilitated based upon Watson's summary of these empirical measurement tools. Watson concludes that these instruments enhance the measurement of caring not only in the practice setting but in academia and administration as well. Since nursing is conceptualized as both an art and a science, the expressive and instrumental aspects of professional practice are often intermingled. These instruments may serve as a reliable measurement of both.

Most nurses agree that the quality of health care is linked to professional nursing care and patients' perception of that care. Patients often report a high level of satisfaction with their health care when "caring behaviors" by nursing staff are evident. In today's health care system, caring is often lost in budgetary constraints and an emphasis on efficiency. Indeed, Watson argues that the movement toward evidence-based practice demands exploration of the caring phenomena in diverse practice domains to expand our knowledge of those caring practices related to successful health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and healing.

reviewed by Barbara Giguere, EdD, RN, FNS, professor of nursing, Worcester State College, Worcester, MA
COPYRIGHT 2002 National League for Nursing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Author:Giguere, Barbara
Publication:Nursing Education Perspectives
Date:Nov 1, 2002
Previous Article:RN-MSN admission practices and curricula in the mid-Atlantic region.
Next Article:End of Life Nursing Care.

Related Articles
Letters to the Editor.
Nursing as Caring: a Model for Transforming Practice.
Forum debates cultural competence.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters