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The Role And Significance Of Caring In Nursing Practice

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Caring in nursing practice is highly important and has a detrimental impact to a patient’s overall health outcome. This essay will critically discuss three aspects of caring in nursing practice and the importance they have, these topics include, caring behaviours, the 6 C’s of caring and Watson’s theory of caring. Each of these will be justified by relating them to the patient experience of Denise Palmer in Scenario 1.

In the nursing literature, caring behaviours can be described as actions concerned with the well-being of a patient, such as sensitivity, comforting, attentive listening, honesty, and nonjudgmental acceptance. Caring behaviours might be affected by the perceptions of nurses and patients. (Saleh Salimi, 2013) Nursing care is often confused to be synonymous with caring behaviours, which is incorrect. Nursing care covers the tasks that are standard with the job and provide physical comfort such as, taking vitals and giving medication whereas caring behaviours are positive interactions with the patient that provide emotional comfort, such as smiling, attentive listening and respect. In the case study of Denise Palmer, several behaviours related to providing comfort were observed. One example in Mr’s Palmer’s video, the student nurse attentively listens as she cries and explains her stress, he then shows another behaviour by comforting her afterwards. By showing empathy and reassuring body language such as nodding and being seated at her level. He provides information about services available to Mrs Palmer for support so she can make an informed decision in regard to the dietician and social workers he suggested. The student nurses exhibit responsibility during handover by double checking documentation of medication and vitals, checking oxygen tubes in case of emergency and performing hand hygiene effectively to protect her health. Respect is shown when the nurses are about to perform a task, they let Mrs Palmer know what is about to happen, so she is aware. They address Mrs Palmer by her name in all activities out of respect.

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Providing comfort is considered a key caring behaviour of nurses. Comfort is a broad term which can have many meanings, for example, comfort may be defined as a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint (‘Comfort | Definition of Comfort by Lexico’, 2020). Another definition is a feeling of freedom from worry or disappointment. (‘What does comfort mean?’, 2020) The 6C’s of caring are compassion, competence, confidence, conscience, commitment and comportment, the purpose of the 6C’s are to ensure workers who have courage, are competent and communicate well, treat patients with care and compassion. Compassion is the awareness of one’s relationship to others, sharing their joys, sorrows, pain and accomplishments. Participation in the experience of another. In the case of Denise Palmer, Blake shows compassion by sitting with her whilst she cries and letting her air out her emotions and concerns. Competence is having the knowledge, judgment, skills, energy, experience and motivation to respond adequately to others within the demands of professional responsibilities. (Berman et al., 2018, Chapter 26, p. 473). One of the student nurses, Liz, shows competence while caring for Mrs Palmer’s wound, making sure to not contaminate any equipment and to perform the task to the standards it requires, as well as administering pain relief during the painful procedure. Commitment is the ability to treat every task, every moment and every interaction with the highest level of care…We have an overall commitment and responsibility ‘to ensure the delivery of safe and quality care.’ (Brooke, 2018) Commitment is evident when Handover is occurring, Blake and Liz check over the documentation of vitals and medication, as sometimes medication gets missed and sometimes negative trends in vitals aren’t detected. Their commitment to their job and to Mr’s Palmers health ensures that safe and quality care is being delivered. Conscience directs moral, ethical and legal decision-making. It motivates us to increase the knowledge and skills needed to respond appropriately to moral, ethical and legal issues faced by one and others. It directs us to adhere to the standards of professional nursing practice. (‘S. Roach’, 2020) Blake shows having a conscience when he walks in the room to see Mr’s Palmer crying, instead of leaving the room and coming back later, his morals tell him, he should be there for her and support her. Confidence is trust in one’s ability to care for others. It is the belief that our skilled professional presence can make a difference. Confidence in our own ability to create caring environments serves as a catalyst for change. Shahn’s confidence can be displayed when she says what she can do to ease the pain for Mr’s Palmer in a confident manner she explains that she can give her patient pain relief and a heat pack to ease the pain and then if pain doesn’t ease she can escalate to a harder pain relief. This confidence that she will make her patient feel better will make Mr’s Palmer feel reassured that her pain will ease, and that Shahn will make sure of it. Comportment mean the nurse must look, sound, and act as the professional that he/she is and be truthful to oneself, to the patient, and to the family, showing “respect for patient first and the disease second.” (‘S. Roach’, 2020) All of the student nurses in the referenced video show comportment in every scenario. They carry themselves professionally in all interactions, always greeting the patient by her name, introducing themselves at handover, talking to Mrs Palmer respectfully and as an equal, avoiding slang and informal language and correct tone and body language. In person centred care, patients are partners with their health care providers, all individuals working towards care specified around the patient’s health needs and desired health outcome, in regard to mental, spiritual, social and physical health. (Coalescing the Theory of Roach and Other Truth-Seekers, 2020) The right type of care needs to be provided to a patient depending on their needs and desired outcome, a generalised type of care might not work for some patients and might make their outcome worse from that approach. For example, Mr’s Palmer recent weight gain was a topic that upset her, if we were to provide Person centred care, in handover where it was said she is overweight, instead we would leave a note to check BMI so it is not hurtful to Mrs Palmer. It is important we incorporate the 6c’s of caring into our nursing practice to ensure we are leaving our patient with a positive experience that will shape a positive outlook on nurses and result in a positive health outcome for the patient.

A number of nursing theories include the core concepts of caring. One such theory is Watson’s theory of caring. Pamela Van Der Riet states that the theory specifies that “caring as not just an emotion, concern, attitude or benevolent desire. Caring is the moral idea of nursing whereby the end is protection, enhancement and preservation of human dignity” ( Berman et al., 2018, Chapter 26, p. 474). This theory focuses on how nurses express care on their patients. In this theory, the disease might be cured, but illness would remain because, without caring, health is not attained. (‘Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring’, 2020) Jean Watson believes that caring promotes health better than a simple medicinal cure and that people won’t heal when they are viewed as objects such as an illness rather than a person. The core principles and practices of the theory are the practice of loving-kindness and equanimity, having an authentic presence, the cultivation of one’s own spiritual practice toward wholeness of mind/body/spirit, “Being” the caring-healing environment and allowing miracles (openness to the unexpected and inexplicable life events). (Core concepts of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring/Caring science, 2020) One principle that is of interest is the practice of loving-kindness and equanimity, meaning to have tenderness and consideration towards others and being calm when they are unhealthy and stressed is essential in being a calming factor in that patient’s care. This idea could be incorporated into nursing by making sure to always have a kind and calm approach to all news and to be a voice of support and love, your kindness means more to people than you know. We should try to maintain a positive and caring outlook, so our patients seek comfort and healing in us.

This essay has examined how caring in nursing practice is highly important and has a detrimental impact to a patient’s overall health outcome. Caring behaviours, the 6C’s of caring and Watson’s theory of caring are paramount in ensuring quality of care for patient in the parameters of nursing practice.

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The Role And Significance Of Caring In Nursing Practice. (2021, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 16, 2022, from
“The Role And Significance Of Caring In Nursing Practice.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2021,
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