critical appraisal of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring

Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is a conceptual thread in the USU College of Nursing’s curriculum framework. The purpose of this assignment is to offer students the opportunity to be exposed to Human Caring Science while providing students with the skills of critical appraisal of evidence.

Students will select one nursing research article that focuses on a study that used Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring as a theoretical framework.
Students should use as a guide, an appropriate Rapid Critical Appraisal Checklist found in Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt (2019; pp. 708-722).
The critiques are to be informal, although correct grammar, spelling, etc., are expected. The critique should include a brief description of the study that was reviewed and should address elements of the study relevant to critique.
Students will provide a written critique on a critical appraisal of the elements relevant to the nature of the research study such as type of study, design, quality of the study; and rationale, as well as implications for practice and further research and/or evaluation.
The grade will be based on accuracy, level of content and structure of the document.

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Examples of research articles incorporating Jean Watson’s theory in USU online library:

Durgun Ozan, Y., & Okumus, H. (2017). Effects of nursing care based on

Watson’s theory of human caring on anxiety, distress, and coping when

infertility treatment fails: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Caring

Sciences, 6(2), 95-109.

Rossillao, K. (2018). Caritas education: Theory to practice…2018

National Teaching Institute research abstracts presented at the AACN

National Teaching Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, May 21-24, 2018.

American Journal of Critical Care, 27(3), e 14 – e15.

Length: 5-6 pages (including title and reference pages)
Format: Formal paper in APA 6th ed format
Citations: 3 cite references according to APA 7th ed.


Critical appraisal of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring


Jones, S. N. (2018). Watson’s Theory of Human Caring: Effect on Nurse Perception of Care Environment (Doctoral dissertation, Gardner-Webb University). American Journal of Critical Care, 27(3), e 14 – e15.

Description of the Study

Mental health and psychiatric nurses have faced incredible challenges, such as burnout and low morale linked to their roles’ specifics. These issues arise from various aspects such as deficiency of support from the administration, insufficient staffing, and patient conduct as non-compliance and hostility, which result in deprived patient results (Verhaeghe et al., 2016). Therefore, this study focused on the adaptation of DR. Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring and its effect on the nurse view of the healthcare setting for patients within the psychiatric section within a rural community hospital (Jones, 2018). The study indicated how human caring for patients within a psychiatric department would impact patients’ outcomes. Considerably, poor patient outcomes within the mental health and psychiatric unit have led to poor patient perception of the care provided.

Significance and Purpose of the study

Jones (2018) clearly and concisely stated the purpose of the study. This is essential in research since keeping the main focuses succinct and well established enables the readers to understand the study objectives. Considerably, improving the nurse view of the care setting is vital to combatting burnout and enhancing mental psychiatric nursing morale.

Ideally, the healthcare industry landscape is changing with patients demanding quality care. Nurses have been expected to do more with fewer resources in a fast-paced environment. Additionally, they are expected to work in an area that boosts professional development and growth and provides quality care. Therefore, there is a need for a nursing environment that fosters autonomy, inter, and intra-disciplinary teamwork, and shared decision-making. The study determined the effect of adopting Watson’s theory of human caring to improve the nurse practice environment, which influences the ability to offer high-quality care and reach the desired patient outcomes. The study aimed to illustrate whether the Watson theory application enables the nurses to have a profound link with the patients and value their effort, thus enlightening their view of the psychiatric care setting.

The study has clearly stated the reasons for focusing on the impact of Watson’s caring theory in changing the nurses’ perception and confirmed the severity of the problem through several studies. For instance, Horsfall, O’Hara-Aarons, Jackson, and Hunt (2012) carried out a study which explored the mental health nurses’ view of care. There were five positive perceptions of care offered: interactive connections with patients, teamwork, offering holistic and practical provision to patients, optimism-pessimism continuum, and improving mental health. Considerably, the study indicated that the utilization of Watson’s human caring theory could improve these areas’ experiences through a meaningful and compassionate connection.

The purpose is precise since it has highlighted the problem being investigated, which the nurse perception and the setting, which is the psychiatric unit within a rural community hospital with the target population being nurses. Ideally, directing and encouraging the nurses to utilize the Watson human caring theory could impact their care view within the care setting. Thus, the research evaluated whether the Watson human caring theory will improve nurse satisfaction and lower issues such as low morale and burnout.


The study has indicated the research design, which was used to determine whether the adaptation of Watson’s Human caring theory will impact nurse perception. The research is a quantitative study that utilized pre-test and post-test design with a single participant group. The effectiveness of the Watson caring theory was determined using a modified version of the CAPE instrument. The researcher failed to disclose the reason for utilizing this research design, but it effectively collected the required results. The research intended to collect data through a survey. The 12 nurses selected as the sample size were emailed a short explanation about the study.

The sample size was convenient for the study since it would help collect meaningful information. Informed consent was linked to the emailed information and the CAPE instrument to ensure that they willingly participate in the study. The CAPE instrument was designed grounded on the theoretical framework that emphasizes that patient-centered care rests on nurses’ value within the work setting (Jones, 2018).

The instrument adapted for the study had already been utilized, tested, and provided reliable and valid by other researchers. The study relied on the CAPE tool’s staff version and eliminated five questions that failed to link to the study. The consistency and validity of the instrument were evaluated using the alpha Cronbach which was 0.91 Pearson correlation. This showed that the tool was statistically substantial for the research.

Quality of the Study

The research study is of high quality since it has maintained a logical consistency. This means that the study has followed the research steps in a logical manner leading to a clear link between the steps from the start with the introduction, purpose of the study and significance, the literature review and the theoretical framework, the research thesis question, the methodology, data analysis, and the results. The researcher considered all the elements of a research study to achieve the goals of the project.

Considerably, the study’s main aim was to determine whether adaptation of human caring nursing theory will affect the nurse opinion of the care setting in the psychiatric unit within a rural community hospital as determined by the CAPE tool. The purpose and significance of the research have been well stated. In offering previous studies, the researchers have critically reviewed and have linked the findings to the current study.

The method utilized in the study was effective since it was proved to be valid and reliable in collecting, analyzing, and comparing the findings. The selected sample has contributed to the study’s adequacy since it is representative and identifies generalizable results to the target population. The study findings were credible and reliable since they can be generalized for nurses’ entire target population. The study utilized the T-test to examine the existence of any statistically substantial variances. The T-test results were statistically significant, which means that the research findings can be generalized. Additionally, the study results can be used for evidence-based practice.

The researcher has offered a detailed description of the study findings. The results have been supported by previous findings linked to nursing perceptions of the care environment. Ideally, a study reinforced by varying prior findings is considered dependable and can certainly be utilized to prove the study in varying settings. Data obtained through surveys was an appropriate way of addressing the aims of the research. Survey research is a practical design for research due to its flexibility. Surveys are one of the most common methods used to collect data, which entails questionnaires. These have been designed through the effective construction of questions to identify facts from a specific group. The pre and post-design approaches were practical since, in researches involving clinical practice, the healthcare professionals and nurses have to be involved in the research to make the study useful. Ideally, findings from these activities have informed clinical practice through being actively involved in the research projects.

In terms of ethical issues, the researchers have discussed how they briefed the participants through emails. This is because adequate briefing enables the participants to understand exactly what is expected of them and know their rights. Additionally, briefing allows the participants to offer informed consent and prevent passive deception. The research has adequately taken into account the ethical considerations, although there was a need for more information. The study was able to improve nurses’ perceptions through the use of Watson’s human caring theory. This indicates that the project was able to achieve its goals.


With many studies being conducted to understand the nurse perception of the care environment, there are no studies that have focused on the importance of human caring theory to empower nurses’ practice and perception of the care environment. Empowering the nurse practice is likely to lead to more engagement, reduced turnover, low burnout, and more work value (Cleary, Horsfall, O’Hara‐Aarons, Jackson and Hunt, 2012). Relatively, the presence of specific behaviors within the nurse practice setting supports their effectiveness at work, positively impacts the care environment’s perception, and builds positive working relationships.

The focus of Watson human caring theory is on the structures that empower the nurses through enabling them to work effectively and maximize their ability. The concept of empowerment is essential in the nurse practice environment. The ultimate goal of the project was to inform that there are certain features of nurse practice environment that indirectly or directly influence the nurses’ perceptions and empower their nursing practice.

The research study comprised the nurse practice environment and its influence on the nurse’s perception of the care setting. The results indicated that the nurse perception of care could act as instrumental tools that combat nurse burnout and boost morale. Utilizing Watson’s human theory of caring will enable the nurses to have a deeper engagement with patients and make them feel valuable in the care environment, thus improving their perception of the care setting.

Implications for Practice

The research clearly shows that Watson’s human caring theory can enhance the nurse’s view in the psychiatric unit and other care environments. Adapting the theory will lead to empowered nurses and enhanced satisfaction of nurses. The study has contributed to the evidence in other studies that illustrate how Watson’s human caring theory can improve the patient perception of care and health outcomes. Considerably, improving nurse morale and reducing nurse burnout will enhance patient outcomes in the care unit.

Further Research

Future research suggestions include having a bigger sample and utilizing the study in diverse settings to examine its generalizability more effectively. Repeating the study in different settings with a larger study sample will help test the reliability and validity of the study findings.



Cleary, M., Horsfall, J., O’Hara‐Aarons, M., Jackson, D., & Hunt, G. E. (2012). Mental health nurses’ perceptions of good work in an acute setting. International journal of mental health nursing21(5), 471-479.

Jones, S. N. (2018). Watson’s Theory of Human Caring: Effect on Nurse Perception of Care Environment (Doctoral dissertation, Gardner-Webb University). American Journal of Critical Care, 27(3), e 14 – e15.

Verhaeghe, S., Duprez, V., Beeckman, D., Leys, J., Van Meijel, B., & Van Hecke, A. (2016). Mental health nurses’ attitudes and perceived self-efficacy toward inpatient aggression: A cross-sectional study of associations with nurse-related characteristics. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 52(1), 12-24. doi:10.1111/ppc.12097

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