The Theory

The Theory of Nursing As Caring is a general or grand nursing philosophical framework that offers an organized theoretical perspective of all situations of nursing, regardless of setting or specific characteristics.  This page offers a comprehensive overview of the theory in a collaboratively developed powerpoint presentation, a video presentation featuring Boykin and Schoenhofer discussing the theory of Nursing As Caring, and an evolving bibliography of publications directly addressing or supporting an understanding of the theory.

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> See Boykin & Schoenhofer on Nursing As Caring

Nursing As Caring Theory: 
One Pathway to Expanding Nursing’s Unique Disciplinary Knowledge
Abstract Accepted for Case Western Nursing Theory Conference, March 2020 (cancelled due to COVID19 pandemic)

Ellis (1970) posed the question of “Why?” a nurse initiates a search for knowledge, asserting that the answer “should contain a reference or relevance to nursing” (p. 441).  She further reflected on the question “with whom did you study” (p. 441).  A supportable response to both these questions can be found in one’s specifiable overarching theory of nursing.  According to Orem (1971; 1973), the touchstone of any grand or general nursing theory is to be found in its statement of focus.  The statement of focus of nursing, from the perspective of the theory of Nursing As Caring is this: nursing is nurturing persons living caring and growing in caring. This statement of focus answers the 'why' question for nurses whose professional values, thoughts and actions are grounded in the theory of Nursing as Caring, in arenas of practice, research, development, teaching and administration.  

The clear statement of focus of one’s general theory of nursing also sheds light on the question, “with whom did you study?”. The fascination with a search for a “unifying theory of nursing”, prominent in the last quarter of the 20th century, has matured into a 21st century embrace of diverse approaches to the organized study and practice of nursing. The practice discipline of Nursing is rich with explicit grand nursing theories; the work emerging from each of these broad perspectives advances the understanding of nursing as “essentially a specific type of human caring” (Ellis, p. 444). Many extant grand and mid-range nursing theories benefit from a cadre of scholars and practitioners contributing to the development of nursing knowledge from a particular theoretical perspective. The natural history of one such theoretical perspective, the theory of Nursing As Caring, will be traced in this presentation.  Questions intended to challenge and inspire its further development will be posed.

Powerpoint Presentation

Nursing As Caring Processes