Swanson’s Caring Theory in Advanced Nursing Practice
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Swanson’s Caring Theory in Advanced Nursing Practice
Caring has always been considered as a natural and integral part of nursing (Chen and Chou, 2010). As a matter of fact, nursing has a long legacy as a caring-healing profession. In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale, the matriarch of modern-day nursing, articulated a belief that caring for the sick is based on the understanding of persons and their respective environment. According to her, the individuality of nursing in generating most favorable environments for re-establishing the health of individuals is very important (Peterson and Bredow, 2008). Different nurse theories have declared and confirmed the significance of caring for the profession via professional debates, development of theories and groundbreaking research in order to remind nurses that caring is necessary for delivery of sound nursing care (Peterson and Bredow, 2008), one of which is Swanson.
Swanson defines environment situationaly, meaning, for nursing it is any context that influences or is influenced by the designated client. Therefore, there are many factors in the environment which affect nursing, which include cultural, social, biophysical, political and economic realms (Marriner-Tomey and Alligood, 2006). Swanson (1991, 165) defined caring as “a nurturing way of relating to a valued other toward whom one feels a personal sense of commitment and responsibility.” (cited in Polit and Beck, 133)
According to the theory, the five important caring processes are:
· Knowing – striving to understand an event as it has meaning in the life of the other;
· Being with – being emotionally present to the other
· Doing for – doing for the other as he or she would do for the self if it were all possible;
· Enabling – facilitiating the other’s passage through life transitions and unfamiliar events;
· Maintaining belief – sustaining faith in the other’s capacity to get through an event or transition and face a future with meaning (Polit and Beck, 2004, 134).
Thus, the Swanson’s Theory of Caring offers clear explanation of what it means for nurses to practice in caring manner, at the same time, focus on the fact that the goal of nursing is to endorse and encourage well-being of others. In summarizing the caring relationship between nurses and clients, the range of caring therapeutics of trainee nurses might be to some extent restricted and controlled by inexperience. On the other hand, the techniques and knowledge embedded in caring of experience nurses are so complicated and restrained that caring might ignored by an unappraised observer. However, the theory also included that, regardless of the years nursing experience, caring is delivered as a set of chronological processes that are shaped by the own philosophical attitude, understanding, verbal and nonverbal messages conveyed to the client, therapeutic actions and consequences of the nurse. Therefore, caring processes are overlapping, and not exits in division fro each other, and each of them are considered as essential part of the overaching structure of caring (Marriner-Tomey and Alligood, 2006).
Swanson’s theory of caring has been the theoretical foundation for numerous research studies and projects. In addition, it has been adapted as a framework for professional nursing practice by different universities and practice settings across the United States, Canada and Sweden (Peterson and Bredow, 2008).
In reviewing the theory, it is important to focus on clarity and simplicity. Clarity pertains on how well the theory can be effortlessly understood and how reliable the concepts are offered and explained. In the case of theory of caring of Swanson, the concept of caring, central to the theory, and caring processes are all evidently defined and arranged in rational sequence, which had helped in order to describe and put together a logical sequence which describes how caring is delivered. In addition, the theory also offers clear definitions of the main areas of nursing discipline and describes them ultimately in different contexts in which the nurse-client interactions take place. In terms of simplicity, it pertains on the explanations of the relationships and connections among different variables. The theory is considered as simple, but elegant, because it enables to bring to the forefront the significance of caring, which demonstrates the traditional and modern values of the discipline. At the same time, it main focus on helping the practitioners to deliver nursing care based on the need of the individuals (Marriner-Tomey and Alligood, 2006, 769).
Chen, S.C. and Chou, F. H. (2010). ‘A comparison of the caring theories of Watson and Swanson’. PubMed. 57(3), 86 – 92.
Marriner-Tomey, A. and Alligood, M. R. (2006). Nursing theorists and their work. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Peterson, S. and Bredow, T. (2008). Middle range theories: Application to nursing research. Lippincott WIllians & Wilkins.
Polit, D. and Beck, C. T. (2004). Nursing research: Principles and methods. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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