Week 3 discussion-Practical Application in critical care/pediatrics

  1. Choose a theory that finds practical application in critical care/pediatric/psychiatric nursing and discuss the origins of the theory based on the following criteria:
  2. Compare the nursing philosophy of Benner and Henderson on the basis of the following criteria.

Practical Application in Critical Care/Pediatrics

Nursing theories happen to be the pivot of a body of knowledge formulated to structure and organize actions that support practice. Contemporary healthcare practice continues to witness a gap between nursing theory and nursing practice. In clinical settings, both illness and hospitalization continue to threaten the well-being and health of children. Studies indicate that up to 27% of children globally suffer from a chronic condition, while 1 in every 15 experience multiple chronic conditions (Elbanahnasawy et al., 2016). It is imperative to examine the practical application of Jean Watson’s Caring Theory by nurses stationed in a pediatric critical care unit to understand the link between theory and practice.

Origins of Jean Watson’s Caring Theory

The transformation of healthcare delivery significantly impacts the workload and responsibilities of nurses. To begin with, nurses have to contend with patients’ increased acuity together with complexity in healthcare situations. Because of the hardships nurses, particularly those working in pediatric critical care units, faced and continue to encounter even today, Dr. Jean Watson developed the Human Caring Theory that comprises the curative factors, a transpersonal caring relationship, and the caring occasion synonymously referred to as the caring moment.

Values, evidence, and existing knowledge that Watson Cited to support the theory

According to Pajnkihar & Vrbjak(2017), Watson argued that caring is a major concept in nursing, which entails caring for and caring about the patient. In caring for pediatric patients, holistic nursing must embrace both professional knowledge and expertise while also focusing on the mental and spiritual needs of their young patients. Watson’s Human Caring Theory requires nurses to couple artistic and scientific knowledge with expertise. The essence of the caring behavior of nurses is that it leads to patient satisfaction, and better outcomes, and also improves their well-being.

Watson’s motivation behind writing the theory

Watson opined that in nursing, whether caring for the pediatric, teenage, adult, or geriatric patient, caring is at the core of moral ideals whose ultimate aim is to protect, enhance and preserve human dignity. Within Watson’s theory, the general motivation of its approach is the ten curative factors that form the basis of nurse-patient interaction. Suffice it to say that the carative factors and Caritas processes promote healing, honor, and wholeness, and fundamentally influence the evolution of humanity right from its formative stages during the pediatric years. Subsequently, nurses working in the pediatric critical care unit have to incorporate aspects of interpersonal contact and a humanistic approach as this influences the pediatric patients’ perception of nurse caring.

Comparison of Benner’s From Novice to Expert Theory and Henderson’s Need Theory

Patricia Benner formulated and advanced a concept commonly known as From Novice to Expert, where she argued that nursing professionals nurture their skills and understanding of the care of patients over an extended period. In theory, Benner outlines five levels of nursing experience, starting with the novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert (Oshvandi et al. 2016). A radical proposition of Dr. Benner is the contention that a nurse could gain skills and knowledge without having to learn a theory or what she described as knowing how, without knowing.  On the other hand, her counterpart Virginia Henderson put forward The Need Theory, which stresses the importance of increasing the patient’s autonomy and focusing on basic human needs. In the Need Theory, Henderson identifies fourteen basic needs of a patient including breathing, eating and drinking, excretion, movement, security, and communication amongst other needs (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015). Benner’s theory places a high premium on a nurse’s level of knowledge in ensuring the patient’s care needs are met while Henderson opts to downplay the role of education over intuition/ instinct and therefore calls for a patient’s increased autonomy. Primarily, both knowledge and a patient’s autonomy have their roles in ensuring improved patient outcomes regardless of the patient’s age.


Ahtisham, Y., & Jacoline, S. (2015). Integrating Nursing Theory and Process into Practice;          Virginia’s Henderson Need Theory. International Journal of Caring Sciences8(2).

Elbahnasawy, H. T., Lawend, J., & Mohammed, E. (2016). Application of Watson caring theory for nurses in the pediatric critical care unit. IOSR Journal of nursing and health Science5(4), 56-67.

Oshvandi, K., Moghadam, A. S., Khatiban, M., Cheraghi, F., Borzu, R., & Moradi, Y. (2016). On the application of novice to expert theory in nursing; a systematic review. Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences9(4), 3014-3020.

Pajnkihar, M., Štiglic, G., & Vrbnjak, D. (2017). The concept of Watson’s carative factors in nursing and their (dis) harmony with patient satisfaction. PeerJ5, e2940.

Santos, M. R. D., Bousso, R. S., Vendramim, P., Baliza, M. F., Misko, M. D., & Silva, L. (2014). The practice of nurses caring for families of pediatric inpatients in light of Jean Watson. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP48(SPE), 80-86

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Cathy, CS