Swanson’s Caring Theory

Theory Analysis

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Influences for that Theory or Theorist

Kristen M. Swanson proposed the theory of caring in nursing. The theorist was a renowned academician and scholar in the nursing profession. She introduced the theory empirically through research in various perinatal settings in the 1980s. She later refined her theory in the 1990s after considerable research in the caring profession. Her theory has been applied in multiple health care settings, including hospitals to guide nursing practice. The theorist developed the model out of the need to understand miscarriage (Wonjnar, 2014). This specific query became the basis for her exploration that led to the caring theory and others that in the caring environment. In the course of her work in the perinatal setting, Swanson developed the five theoretical categories of caring. The idea has been applied in various contexts, but the five concepts remain intact.

Nursing is a caring profession while nurses are caregivers. Swanson’s Theory of Caring provides an effective definition of this field. Her models draw from and contribute to various theoretical perspectives in nursing. According to Swanson, caring made a considerable difference in the lives of the people she served. She was fulfilled by seeing people move from a place of complete dependency and become restored by gaining health. The theory informs the duty of a caregiver as being based on the need to provide emotional support and compassion towards the care recipient. Swanson (1993) proclaimed that when a nurse is there for the patients, they feel appreciated because they believe that their needs are well-understood. In nursing, emotional support takes various forms, including listening and showing comprehension of what the person is going through.

Definitions of Major Concepts

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Swanson’s Caring Theory is structured around some principles that unravels the essence of caring in nursing. According to the theorist, caring revolves around five concepts: “knowing, being with, doing for, enabling, and maintaining belief” (Wonjnar, 2014, p. 763). Swanson defined various concepts that were central to her theory. According to the theorist, caring suggested the nurturing approaches that show the value for humanity, which accompanies the sense of accountability and commitment. Swanson defined “knowing” as the attempt to understand the meaning of a life’s event of another person. It involves avoidance of assumptions focused on the recipient of care, receiving cues, assessing carefully, and engaging the person being cared for in seeking knowledge. “Being with” is defined as the act of being emotionally available to the other person (Smith & Parker, 2015). It includes various deeds, such as personal availability and sharing feelings, to reduce the burden from the patient. “Doing for” suggests the act of doing for other people what one would do for self. The concept includes needs anticipation, offering comfort, conducting care competently and skillfully, and protecting the care recipient while upholding human dignity (Smith & Parker, 2015). “Enabling” is the facilitation of the passage of others through transitions in life and uncertain situations by emphasizing on the event, explaining, informing, validating feelings, supporting, creating options, and providing feedback. “Maintaining belief” suggests the faith in the caregiver, regarding the ability of the patient to overcome a problem and have a meaningful life. It is believing in the person and regarding one with respect, maintaining a positive attitude, supporting optimism, being there for another person, and supporting individuals to find a meaning for their lives.

Explanation of the Theory

The theory influences care by informing nurses about their role in the profession. It teaches them how to be there for the patient and assuring them of their constant support and help to overcome their illnesses. The process involves uttering words, such as “you are not alone, what happens to you matters and that we are here for you” (Swanson, 1993). Such a level of support helps the person to heal and achieve a high level of wellbeing. The caring process helps the patient to overcome the anxiety that accompanies a medical problem. The theory also informs the therapeutic relationship between the patient and the nurse. The connection is proven in research to play a critical role in the treatment process. It provides support for the person and the family during an illness. The model shows how effectively patients and families cope with medical challenges with the help of their caregivers.

The theory is founded on the idea that the caregiver and the patient are involved in a caring relationship. Therefore, they engage in an interaction that benefits both of them. Nurses are motivated to care by the need to solve other people’s problems and discomfort. The caregiver allows the self to be involved in the plight of the other people while assisting those who need help (Kalfoss & Owe, 2015). Caring plays an essential role in the ability of a nurse to be involved in the other person’s problem and implement interventions to overcome them. Caring is necessary for a person to intervene in what is ailing another. The model is grounded in empathizing and understanding another person’s reality.

Application in Advanced Practice

Swanson’s Theory of Caring can be applied in various settings that require care delivery, including outside the nursing profession. The five caring processes are not limited to health care and nursing and can be used to inform many caring relationships (Smith & Parker, 2015). However, in nursing, it helps nurses to develop and use caring behaviors when interacting with their patients. The theory applies to individuals dealing with miscarriage. It helps caregivers and families to care for such individuals. Caring plays a critical role in supporting the healing process, which is required to achieve closure. Many women face miscarriages and stillbirths and the loss can be overwhelming. The situation requires a nurse who is understanding of the pain and can empathize with the patient to offer the necessary support.

Swanson’s Theory provides adaptive strategies to support the affected mother and family to achieve holistic healing. It takes the caring capability and the concepts described by the theorist to offer the physical and emotional support to overcome the loss. The five processes proposed by Swanson can be applied in the caring circumstances (Kalfoss & Owe, 2015). The nurse should be “knowing,” which involves understanding the loss; “be there,” which is providing emotional support; “doing for,” which is helping the patient with whatever is necessary to heal; “enable,” which entails facilitating the patient through the changes; and “maintain a belief,” a concept that includes sustaining faith and helping the person to overcome the loss. Overall, nurses who are helping mothers who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth should apply the five caring processes to achieve complete healing.

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