Creating Healing Environments Through the Theory of Caring

AORN J. 2016 Nov;104(5):401-409. doi: 10.1016/j.aorn.2016.09.006.


We describe the journey of personnel at one hospital to create a healing environment for patients and staff members at all levels through the implementation of Watson's Theory of Human Caring and her Caritas Processes (ie, loving kindness, authentic presence, spirituality, being the environment, believing in miracles). We used experiential teaching and learning to explore the nursing theory with staff members. Positive outcomes include using Caritas Processes care plans in our electronic medical record, greater ease in the understanding and application of Watson's theory, integrating a blessing for nurses during National Nurses Week, inclusion of ministry formation courses to extend the mission of the hospital's founding religious order to current and future employees, and positive patient feedback. As a result of theory application, our nurses are more open to discussing caring, authentic presence and, when appropriate, prayer in their clinical narratives and how it is affecting patients and themselves.

Keywords: Caritas; Watson’s Theory of Caring; caring science; healing environment; holistic nursing.

MeSH terms

  • Empathy*
  • Female
  • Health Facility Environment*
  • Humans
  • Narration
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nurse-Patient Relations
  • Nursing Care / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Staff / education*
  • Nursing Theory*
  • Spirituality*