Jean Watson was born on 1940s in West Virginia. She graduated her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in University of Colorado in 1964 and as well as her Masters (psychiatric-mental health nursing) and PhD (educational psychology and counseling) in 1966 and 1973 respectively.
She joined teaching profession and became a distinguished Professor in Nursing and holds an endowed Chair in Caring Science at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
She is the founder of the original Center for Human Caring in Colorado and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She served as Dean of Nursing at the University Health Sciences Center and became the President of the National League for Nursing.
Her research has been in the area of human caring and loss. Thus she founded the “Caring Theory” in nursing which was published in 1979, and revised in 1985 and 1988. Her theory served as a guide for the core of nursing.
Watson’s Caring theory allows us to return to the deep professional roots and values. It represents the original model of an ideal nurse. Caring endorses our professional identity within a context where humanistic values are constantly questioned and challenged. Upholding these caring values in our daily practice helps transcend the nurse from a state where nursing is perceived as “just a job” to that of a gratifying profession.
Upholding Watson’s caring theory not only allows the nurse to practice the art of caring; to provide compassion to ease patients’ and families’ suffering; and to promote their healing and dignity but it can also contribute to expand the nurse’s own actualization. In fact, Watson is one of the few nursing theorist who consider not only the cared-for but also the caregiver. Promoting and applying these caring values in our practice is not only essential to our own health as a nurse, but its significance is also fundamentally tributary to finding meaning in our work.
In 2008 Dr. Watson created a non-profit foundation: Watson Caring Science Institute, to further the work of Caring Science in the world.