Honourary degree recipient, University of Victoria, November 2010

By Emma Hannah

2010 marked the hundredth year anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale and also International Year of the Nurse. During November’s convocation ceremony Dr. Jean Watson, whose research in caring science builds upon the blueprint of Nightingale’s work, was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science
in Nursing Degree from the University of Victoria. Watson, who received her BSc, MN and PhD from the University of Colorado, is the founder and director of the non-profit foundation, Watson Caring Science Institute. Her research focuses on human caring science, which encompasses a humanitarian, human-science
orientation to the caring process, phenomena and experience.

During her convocation address Watson, who believes that the main focus of nursing should be its carative factor said, “Nursing and Nurses will continue to play leadership roles in caring for the whole person and their inner healing processes, not just the treatment of disease. Nurses focus on the complex human
experiences and the meaning of the life journey associated with disease, diagnoses and treatment regimes.”

Watson purports that the caring stance nursing has always held is being threatened by an increased focus on task and technology; She proposes seven assumptions about the science of caring:

• Caring can be effectively demonstrated and practiced only interpersonally;
• Caring consists of creative factors that result in the satisfaction of certain human needs;
• Effective caring promotes health and individual or family growth;
• Caring responses accept a person not only as what they are now but as what they may become;
• A caring environment is one that offers the development of potential while allowing the person to choose the best action for themselves at a given point in time;
• Caring is more “healthogenic” than is curing. A science of caring is complementary to the science of curing;
• The practice of caring is central to nursing.

Watson created the Watson Caring Science Institute in 2007 with the mission to restore the profound nature of caring-healing in today’s healthcare systems. She is a Distinguished Professor of Nursing and holds an endowed Chair in Caring Science at the University of Colorado Denver and Anschutz Medical Center Campus. She is founder of the original Center for Human Caring in Colorado and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. Watson holds a masters degree in psychiatric nursing and a PhD in educational psychology and counselling.

From 2011 Winter Communiqué