Theory Of Caring: Definition And Evaluation

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Table of contents

  1. Theory Description
  2. Theory Analysis
  3. Theory Evaluation
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Nursing literature across the board asserts that caring is an important aspect of the nursing profession. Caring is an attribute that is essential in nursing. Caring is an attitude that that is innate; however, this attitude of approach may be absent from the practice of nurses. Nursing is viewed as a profession, while nurses are viewed as individual that provide care that enables individuals to arrive at an optimal homeostasis of health. The purpose of this paper is to take an in-depth view at Swanson’s Theory of Caring.

Theory Description

Swanson’s middle range theory of caring asserts that caring is a nurturing way of relating to a valued other toward whom one feels a personal sense of commitment and responsibility (Moffa, 2015). Swanson defined caring into five categories that characterize the mode of caring. The concepts of Swanson Theory of Caring are knowing, being with, doing for, enabling, and maintaining belief.

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Swanson ascribed that knowing is attempting to make sense or enlightenment of events that occur in people lives, without making one on judgements, focus is on the person requiring care, the nurse looks for and assesses the thoroughly while engaging with the patient in the process. She further asserted that being with means being psychologically aware and present for the another. Being there can be further asserted that being physically present in the moment to listen and share feelings without imposing on the one being cared for (Swanson, 1991). Doing for means doing onto others what you would like done for oneself, which means foreseeing the needs of the one needing care while providing comfort, care, and maintaining the dignity (Swanson, 1991). Enabling is assisting others through various transitions in life and unfamiliar occurrences by concentrating on the occurrence, providing information, clarifying, aiding, acknowledging feelings, finding alternatives, thoroughly looking at information, and giving feedback (Swanson, 1991). Maintaining belief is maintaining hope in a person’s ability to get through an incident or change and believing that the person has the ability to face the future optimistically (Swanson, 1991). The commonality of all concepts is focus on the care of the individual holistically with an approach that maintains respect and dignity while exerting the same care for oneself.

Theory Analysis

Swanson’s theory of caring was initially presented as The Caring Model which evolved after studying women who suffered a miscarriage, mothers of children in the neonatal intensive care unit, and expectant mothers who were at high social risk (Moffa, 2015). Swanson’s five methods offered in the theory of caring meets all components of the metaparadigm. The metaparadigms originated from Swanson theory of caring described person as distinctive beings who are in process of becoming and whose wholeness is made manifest in thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. (Swanson 1991). The environment was based on the current situation of the patient being cared for. The health of the patients was the overall focus of the care provided. Nursing is being educated as well as possessing the necessary skills needed to provide care, in order to help improve the health of the person being cared for.

Theory Evaluation

Swanson’s theory of caring is significant to the nursing profession because it focuses on enlightening nursing caregivers on the importance of their role of caring. Swanson’s theory has been utilized in study and put into practice with proven results of the benefits of its application. Although Swanson’s initial study and research caring began with females who suffered a miscarriage, caregivers of infants in the NICU, the theory of caring has been applied to numerous aspects of nursing. The caring model developed by Swanson has been assimilated into hospitals and general practitioner practices. Notably, The University of Carolina utilized Swanson’s theory of caring to develop a care model for their facility. The Carolina Care Model practices were developed to promote patient care, at the University of North Carolina hospitals (Lillykutty & Samson, 2018). The University of Carolina hospital seen improvement in the overall satisfaction of patients by utilizing Swanson’s theory of caring as a model of research and application in practice

The Swanson’s theory of caring is understandable and relatable to the novice nurse as well as the advanced health practitioner. Nurses that are new to the profession have been taught the necessary skills to be effective in providing care at the bedside; however, caring is an attribute that little emphasis has been place on, especially when entering the work setting. Swanson’s theory of caring can be an asset in assisting new nurses’ transition into the work setting. Moffa asserted that the new nurse’s orientation should be centered towards providing care based on the educational needs of the nurse rather than taking the traditional approach of the needs of the organization. The theme of Swanson’s theory of caring is a consistent with the needs of the patients and the focus of the nurses providing care, the context and content are congruent.


Swanson’s Theory of caring enlightens health care providers on the significance of the role of caring. The attitude and approach of the nurse must demonstrate a caring prospective. The nurse who possess qualities of benevolence, skill, confidence, thinking, interest and devotion are an asset through the application of Swanson’s theory of caring to practice. Swanson’s theory of caring is an effective tool that can facilitate an approach of caring in nurses’ personal approach to care.


  1. Lillykutty, M. J., & Samson, R. (2018). Insights from Kristen M Swanson’s theory of caring.
  2. Asian Journal of Nursing Education and Research, 8(1), 173-177.
  3. doi:
  4. Moffa, C. (2015). Caring for Novice Nurses Applying Swanson’s Theory of Caring. International Journal for Human Caring, 19(1), 63–65. Retrieved from
  5. Swanson, K. (1991). Empirical development of a middle range theory of caring. Nursing
  6. Research, 40, 161-166.
  7. Watson, J. (2009). Caring Science And Human Caring Theory: Transforming Personal And Professional Practices Of Nursing And Health CARE. Journal of Health and Human Services Administration, 31(4), 466-82. Retrieved from
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Theory Of Caring: Definition And Evaluation. (2021, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 15, 2024, from
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