How to write a Critical Appraisal of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring

How to write a Critical Appraisal of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring

Caring is the core concept in nursing that involves the care for and care of patients. Caring behaviors are observed to contribute to the satisfaction and well-being of patients while improving organizational performance (Pajnkihar et al., 2017). To ensure that caring is central to the patient’s experience, individuals must endorse Watson’s theory of human caring to guide nursing practice. According to Watson, caring is the moral ideal of nursing with the result being the protection, enhancement, and preservation of human dignity (Pajnkihar et al., 2017). The carative factors described in the theory should be applied to support and enhance nurses’ experience of the actual caring occasion. Nursing education serves a crucial role in preparing nurses to acquire and advance caring attributes. This discussion critiques the literature on Watson’s human caring theory and its implications for nursing practice.

Brief Description of the Study

The selected article for this discussion talks about the effects of nursing care based on Watson’s theory on anxiety, distress, and coping when infertility treatment fails. Infertility is a problem that is observed in most families and it causes a lot of social problems. In turkey, infertility affects 10%- 15% of couples that have to accept to live without children (Durgun Ozan & Okumus, 2017). Many couples try to find ways to treat infertility with the hope that they can have children. However, failure to respond to treatment causes individual, familial, and social problems. Among the commonly observed problems are anxiety and distress which makes it difficult to cope with normal life. The objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the nursing care program based on Watson’s “Theory of Human Caring” on anxiety and distress caused by coping when the treatment fails (Durgun Ozan & Okumus, 2017). A randomized controlled trial involving 86 Turkish women was conducted to test the hypothesis. The results indicated that Watson’s caring theory helped these women to address anxiety, distress, and coping levels.

Article Critique

The first aspect that is noted when reviewing the article is that it utilized a randomized controlled trial study design. This design represents quantitative, comparative controlled experiments in which researchers study two or more interventions in a series of participants assigned randomly (Nimavat et al., 2020). Random selection of participants ensures reduced risk for bias and the impact of variables outside the researcher’s control. The key feature of this type of study is the exposure of individuals to an intervention of interest and the comparison of outcomes with groups that did not receive the intervention. During the structuring of RCTs, the researchers should ensure that participants are not aware of their assignments (Nimavat et al., 2020). RCTs, where participants do not know they are receiving the intervention, are called single-blind studies while those where both researchers and participants are unaware are called double-blind studies.

During the conduction of the selected research, the women participating in the study were blinded to their assignments to either the study or control group. This step aligns with the criteria for RCT rapid critical appraisal where random assignment should be concealed for individuals enrolling in studies (Nimavat et al., 2020). Secondly, the single-blinded approach ensured that participants were not aware of the interventions made. Although effective results may be obtained when both providers and participants are blinded, a single-blind approach was most effective for the maximization of interventions. The study was conducted according to the Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials (CONSORT) with special attention given to the age of participants and other inclusion criteria. In the present study, a block randomization method was used and involved the selection of 86 participants divided into 45 for the intervention group and 41 for the control group (Durgun Ozan & Okumus, 2017). All the participants selected were of similar demographic and clinical variables. For example, all participants were from Diyarbakır Veni-Vidi IVF Center in Turkey and involved infertile women receiving treatment in the IVF center.

The type of study utilized in this article was a quantitative study. Quantitative studies involve the collection and analysis of numerical data to make predictions, test causal relationships, and generalize results. During the study, the researchers collected data on anxiety using Spiel Berger’s State-Trait anxiety scale (Durgun Ozan & Okumus, 2017). The infertility distress scale was also utilized to describe the individual’s feelings regarding infertility. The collected data were analyzed statistically using methods like p-value, t-test, mean, and standard deviation. In the results section of the article, several tables are available describing the demographic characteristics of the participants and a comparison of intervention and control groups in terms of anxiety level, infertility distress, and coping with stress. The instruments used to measure the outcome were valid and reliable and the control group was appropriate. The validity of the study can be proven by the methods used to select the participants, processes during intervention testing, and the utilization of appropriate statistical methods to analyze the results.

Good quality research provides evidence that is robust, ethical, and can be used to make changes in the clinical care of patients. Aspects like the number of participants, the precision of interventions, and the applicability of results should be considered when assessing the quality of research. The selected article did not utilize many participants and this makes the application of the results difficult. Only 86 infertile women were selected for the study and the division of the participants into two groups further made the intervention group smaller. One of the outstanding observations that make this research of good quality is the application of Watson’s theory to inform patient outcomes. The reflection of the 10 carative factors in the theory of caring allowed participants in the intervention group to express their feelings. Regarding the ethical perspective, the study was conducted according to the guidelines from professional bodies and utilized frameworks from credible organizations like CONSORT (Durgun Ozan & Okumus, 2017). The participants were informed about the components of the research, voluntary participation, and the right to withdraw from the study anytime, and they all signed written consent.

Research can produce results that can help during patient care or fail to produce important results to make a difference in patient outcomes. This article produced results that could be used to improve the care of infertile women after treatment failure. The application of Watson’s caring theory addressed the issues of anxiety, distress, and coping among the intervention group (Durgun Ozan & Okumus, 2017). The research provides a holistic viewpoint of the nursing care for infertile women and its application in practice can improve patient outcomes. Despite the positive findings from this research, I think the intervention used was not precise. For example, the physical presence of healthcare providers throughout fertility treatment may not be applicable in my healthcare setting. Additionally, frequent follow-ups and interviews during care delivery may be challenging to achieve in ideal care settings. To apply the lessons from this research, nurses should be educated about Watson’s carative factors and their application to managing anxiety and distress in women with infertility. Further research on the same topic using a large population is required to support the findings from this study.



Durgun Ozan, Y., & Okumuş, H. (2017). Effects of nursing care based on Watson’s theory of human caring on anxiety, distress, and coping, when infertility treatment fails: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Caring Sciences6(2), 95–109.

Nimavat, B. D., Zirpe, K. G., & Gurav, S. K. (2020). Critical analysis of a randomized controlled trial. Indian journal of critical care Medicine24(Suppl 4), S215–S222.

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.

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