Concept analysis: caring in nursing














Caring is wide and assorted theory that can be defined in a number of ways.  From the Watson definition, caring is the practice by which nurses in a medical institution react to patients as exceptional people and make out their needs and feeling as they settle them. A large number of people consider caring as one of imperative aspects of nursing, to be precise, caring is a requisite component of nursing. Therefore, understanding the diverse concept is just like comprehending all that takes place in the nursing profession. Simply put, the concept of caring is a vital component of the nursing profession. Several experts take caring to be as good as nursing. Nevertheless, Crowden terms caring as the most important and key element of nursing and the chief part of the profession. In contrasts, Crowden posit that, caring cannot be the archetype comparable to the nursing practice, but it can outline its basis. Thus, caring makes up the basis of the nursing practice, although its popularity is above nursing practice [Lea, Watson, & Deary, 1998, p. 662]. For example, medical experts consider caring as essential as expertise and knowledge are to the medical profession. Even so, several medical experts deviate with the fact that caring and nursing are similar. For instance, Philips maintains that, replacing nursing with caring is a mistake and invasive. One the other hand, Warelow, terms it as disadvantageous.

 In the middle of all these disparity, caring is a vital component of the nursing practice and the key to choosing the concept of caring is because it is very essential when it comes to health care. Facts show that caring sways the impact of nurses on the patients. Globally, the effects of the availability or deficiency of caring have been acknowledged and have increased tremendously. A number of people argue that, caring affects the health of nurses in addition to their competence and safety.  As a result, health care organizations put it in order. Watson points out that, availability of caring is the crucial measure for the nurse’s knowledge and expertise with the patient [Daly, Speedy, & Jackson, 2009, p. 81]. In accordance to the available credentials for patient’s satisfaction and nurse care, majority of patients see nurse care as their source of satisfaction. This paper tries to make clear the concept of caring in the field of nursing and it makes use of the Walker and Avant outline to support the concept. It is for that reason that, the paper starts with recognizing the concept and its functions. It then identifies the important aspects of the concept and provides three main examples of presence and absence of the concept in an emergency room within a medical center. At last, the paper will recognize the antecedents, the effects or consequences and describe the empirical referents. In essence, the paper argues that caring is an important part of the nursing practice.       

Literature Review

The concept of analysis is base on the empirical linguistics, but the most important issue is that, the nursing practice theories have their basis on the concept of analysis. Regardless of the wide variety of methodological strategies employed in the field of nursing, medical experts collectively concur that caring is not a retiring component that is correctly measured. Fealy argues that caring does not form the series of activities, but it forms the ways of taking actions that depend on the framework and is clear on the values [Daly, Speedy, & Jackson, 2009, p. 81].  


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Leininger argues that caring is the most appropriate example of nursing. Leininger, further dismisses the prospects of the responsibility to encourage nurses to get this concept of caring. Alternatively, Leininger prefers the concept to be acquired, as it is the basic component of the cultural life. In the contrast, the cultural factors like gender in most cases limit or help in the exploitation of the health care skills by medical practitioners [Leininger, 1984, p. 125]. Watson another highly reputed and recognized researcher in the nursing field also makes a concept of caring as the correct and most appropriate ultimate of nursing. This simple definition connects to the aforementioned definition and has connections with that of individual center care that accentuates on the importance of sensitivity-treating patients as persons and participating in making of decisions. According to Rawnsley, caring are the beliefs and the science of prospects and hopes of customers and a behavior of the nursing practice [1990, p. 42]. On the literature review, researchers concur on how it is daunting and tasking to find an appropriate and simple definition for caring. Majority of them deduce that it is almost not possible to come to an agreement on the definition. However, when conducting researches on this field, it is important to comprehend the concept of caring. Several nurses in the field believe that, caring offers a relationship base between them that they share their experiences. Nevertheless, caring has two basic aspects-the intellectual and emotional aspects.

From these definitions of caring, it can simply be alleged as the attribute, attitude, ability or complex set of conducts that are believed to be complicated to evaluate and improve.  However, in the nursing field, caring influences the capabilities of the staffs in the profession. Other individuals define caring as human traits, which aid in identifying one’s connection or relationship with life.  Others define it as qualities, which assist to preserve respect for each other. In accordance to this paper, caring is a sequence of activities or accomplishments, which aid nurses to offer help to patients willingly and out of their devotion [Lea, Watson, & Deary, 1998, p. 83].  In essence, it helps in developing great interpersonal relationship between the nurses and the patients in the healthcare centers in a systematic scientific manner.           

Critical Attributes

The above literature review makes it easy to obtained the attributes of caring as they are also repeated a number of times. They classify the specific phenomenon and provide the function of differentiation.  Therefore, they are irretrievable, but they can vary. The main aim of critical attributes of caring is to collect the outstanding and unique features related to the concept and allow a broad insight [Montes-Sandoval, 1999, p. 938]. The latest analysis of the concept of caring in the nursing field acknowledge certain critical attributes of caring and they include attitude, variability, relationship, action and acceptance. From this analysis, relationship engages the concept of sharing and reciprocating, where you give and take of the shared relations. When it comes to action, it simply refers to the intentional acts like presence and physical care whereas patient’s acceptance engrosses the identification of the fundamental qualities and the importance of each patient. Attitude is the undeniable concern and respect of the patients in the concept of caring and lastly, variability posits that caring is ever changing and improving.

This research paper ascertains four critical attributes. Sequential activities are the first critical attributes responsible for helping patients. The second one is the concern and devotion of the nurses to help patients. While the third has to do with interpersonal relationship between the involved parties, that is, the patients and the nurses. The fourth critical attribute of caring is the scientific and methodological processes of understanding health care. These critical attributes are essential in the sense that they add on to the excellent understanding of caring and the development of a hypothetical meaning of caring, thus a meaningful model case will be appropriate in understanding the concept of caring as it represents the occurrence.  For that reason, the model case, contrary and even related cases are fundamental in understanding the concept of caring [Montes-Sandoval, 1999, p. 937].

Model Case

The model case makes it easy to get an insight of the occurrence of the concept of caring if the vital attributes are properly applied. In fact, it helps understand when the concept is most effective and differentiates the cases when not in use. A model case helps to express the assurance of the concept of caring. Notably, it varies from the contrary and related cases [Speros, 2005, p. 636]. Here is an example of a model case detailed with the four critical attributed aforementioned.

Jane is a reputed nurse who works at the emergency unit of one of the big hospitals in town. On a Saturday evening, the hospital receives ten accident victims who are badly wounded. She was prepared to leave in five minutes, but the matron ordered the available nurses to respond immediately to the victims in need and also save lives. Without hesitation, Jane wore her uniform and rushed to the emergency room to offer medical assistance and attention. Jane was very concern that the hospital may loss ten victims if they not helped immediately as it had happened a week ago. She also ensured that the doctor in-charge is also available to help save lives. Employing her nursing skills and expertise, she made sure that every victim is in the hospital beds in order to get medical attention from the doctor. This vigorous incident took three hours for each victim to be attended and Jane later left for her home at 9 o’clock in the evening.

This occurrence demonstrates the chronological activities that Jane exercised while showing care to the victims by ensuring that they are in stable conditions. She started by wearing her professional attire and ensured that she carries every nursing practice perfectly without compromising the situation.  It is evident that Jane understands how the caring field operates as she started by donning her nursing dress and other protective attire. There are series of activities that took place in the intensive care unit where Jane was expressing her care for the accident victims. She further shows her concern and devotion by accepting to go back to work when she was about to leave the hospital and extended her unsurpassed care to the victim. Although she was about to leave, Jane devoted herself for three hours to offer care to the victims without any qualms [Montes-Sandoval, 1999, p. 938]. Additionally, Jane also made sure that the victims are in stable condition before leaving for home and ensured that there is a doctor around to take care of the victims.  In essence, Jane maintains this great interpersonal relationship with the accident victims. Lastly, Jane also ensured that every scientific and systematic process in the nursing practice was followed expectedly. By wearing the nursing attire, ensuring the accident victims are in good condition and waiting for the doctor to attend the victims, Jane has employed the necessary systematic scientific process. 





Related Case

A related case demonstrates a similar occurrence to the caring concept, but it is diverse once analyzed. It makes it easy to understand the connection of the concept and explains the critical attributes that are being scrutinized [Speros, 2005, p. 637]. To be able to develop the related case, we will study the diverse concept of tenderness as it may have common qualities and traits as the caring concept, but it also varies from caring-these two concepts are different.

Esther and Jane are nurses in the same hospital and departments.  She in most cases expresses her tender love to patients, but she does not apply it in real life often. Many times, she comments and looks as if she cares about patients, but she never extends her support when it is mostly needed. As a workmate, Jane narrated the incidents of the previous week when 10 accident victims who were brought to the hospital with deep cuts, Esther, she expresses her concern about the patients, but ends up concluding that ‘she was lucky that she was on leave and she worked in the department because of money’. This shows that even though Esther pretends to care and to be concerned, she does not care about the patients, but the amount she gets. Then again, she also quarrels the patients whenever they go against her expectations. Additionally, she never follows the scientific and systematic process of the caring concept.  She alleges that systematic process does not matter, but the results do.

This incident as brought out by Esther does not express care, but it articulates sheer tenderness that is not basic in the nursing practice.  Intrinsically, tenderness simply refers to a scenario that seems to care, but in real sense, it does not.  In Esther’s case, she seems to care, but she mainly works in the hospital as a nurse to get a good pay. Conceivably, if the government does not pay Esther her dues, she will not attend to any patient in the hospital or be a medical practitioner.  Such scenario debars Esther from the nursing field, as she does not adhere to the concept of caring that is similar to nursing.        


Contrary Case

This logical presentation is distant from the concept. It does not have any notable relationship with the concept. However, there are may be a few similarities to note, the contrary case contains traits that are not depicted in the concept of caring. Its development is very essential as it helps determine the clear distinctions of the attributes of the concept of caring [Walker & Avant, 1995, p. 39].

Mary is also a nurse who also works in the same hospital in town and in the same department; she welcomes wounded patients and takes them to the respective locations within the hospital. In contrast, Mary deems that she is supposed to admit patients, assign each bed and welcome the doctor to take over the rest of the tasks. When Jane expressed her care to the wounded patients, Mary was liable of the casualty department. Even though, she admitted patient in the casualty department, she did not see any need to give them first aid that they eagerly needed.  Her claims are that, once the patients are admitted in the hospital, the rest should rest on the doctors. If the doctor needs any help. It is upon the doctor to take action and request for it and it is not her responsibility to offer or extend any help. 

This contrast case may show similarities with the model case, the central attributes of concept of caring are deficient.  In Mary’s case, she does not show any attribute abovementioned as the central attributes of caring.  Additionally, she does not display any concern and devotion of a caring nurse. In its place, Mary works alone and does not cooperate with the doctor to save lives. Her case also lacks interpersonal relationship with the patient in order to understand their troubles.

Antecedents and Consequences

In relation to Walker and Avant, antecedents are those incidents that should come prior to the occurrence of the concept. They mainly occur before the concept because they are imperative in improving the central attributes of the concept. In this situation, for the concept of caring to occur, the nurses in the hospital must comprehend the need to help and the requirements needed to show care or else, they will not offer any kind of assistance [Walker & Avant, 1995, p. 42]. For that reason, the first antecedent in the concept is awareness of the other needs that are required by the casualty patients. Moreover, the nurses need to be in good moods to help their patients to improve their ethnical and cognitive enthusiasm as they portray their care by helping the patient in need. Moral and cognitive stimulus are the other antecedent found in the concept of caring. If nurses in a hospital combine and make use of these two antecedents, they will be in a good position to exercise the concept of caring and help patients.   

If the concept of caring occurs as expected, there are consequences that are easily experienced. These are incidents that occur after the concept of caring has taken place effectively. Whenever, the nursing practitioners practice the concept of caring, several consequences must be experienced and ultimately, patients will get healing from the tender care that they will get from the nurse. They also need to be satisfied by the tender care and prove researches right and lastly, the patients should experience growth from the concept of caring. From all these, the concept of caring will be available and evident in the nursing field.

Empirical referents

In accordance to Walker and Avant, this is the last part in the analysis of the concept.  This is an essential stage as it presents the pointers that show the growth of the concept. Empirical referents mainly gauge and approve the availability of the concept in real life.  Walker and Avant describe empirical referents as central groups or classes of specific incidences that their presence and subsistence show the possibility of the concept of caring itself [Walker & Avant, 1995, p. 46]. They are also essential in sense that, they provide nurses with evident happenings that they can use to measure the levels of the concept in each patient. In real sense, empirical referent is the behavior that leads to interpersonal relationship through the scientific and systematic procedure that is based on the devotion and concern for the patients. This is what pushes nurses to exercise the concept of caring.

The performance of the nursing practice needs convincing and reliable measuring tools that will help settle on the concept and form the base for comprehending the concept. These measuring tools or instruments help improve the concept of caring in the nursing field. The best and mostly used quantitative tool to use to measure caring is the CARE-Q. It has a good reputation as it measures the contentment of the patients with the care that they receive from the nurses [Watson, 2009, p. 25]. Another caring instrument that developed from CARE-Q is the CARE/SAT. Larson and Ferketich developed it by mainly including the fifty items that is found in CARE-Q and incorporated others to improve it so that the final tool can be made of twenty-nine effective conducts.  


This paper makes use of the Walker and Avant process of exploring the concept of caring. It all starts with selecting and then defining the concept in a way that other people define it in the literature review. Once the concept is defined, the paper then demonstrates the functions of caring in nursing and the linkage between caring and nursing. The paper upholds that caring is similar to nursing. However, few people rebut the relationship; research upholds caring as the vital element of nursing. It alleges that, it is very hard for any individual to become a nurse without demonstrating care. The cases explored in the paper as examples show that, even though individuals become nurses without exhibiting care, the practice will eventually become a nuisance and they will not take pleasure in it. The resulting part after finding out about the purpose or function of the concept is the identification of the central attributes of caring concept. There are four critical attributes of caring that are identified by the paper and they are used to provide example.  The paper further analyzes each example and categorizes what makes the concept of caring and what is absent and the contrary cases. After analyzing the examples, the paper clarifies the antecedents and the consequences of the caring concept.  The antecedents are simply put as what happens prior to the concept and the consequences as the results of the caring concept. In keeping with the paper analysis, nurses need to be aware of the benefits of caring and have the cognitive spur that will guide them to aid patients and to show the concept of caring. As they exhibit caring, the result should be development, healing and fulfillment to the patients.  Lastly, the paper describes empirical referents, which help to approve the concept of caring.  


















Daly, J., Speedy, S., & Jackson, D. (2009). Contexts of nursing: an introduction. Chatswood, N.S.W., Elsevier Australia.

Lea, A., Watson, R. & Deary, I. (1998). Caring in nursing: a multivariate analysis. Journal of advanced nursing, 28.3, 662-671.

Leininger, M. (1984). Care: the essence of nursing and health. New Jersey: Slack.