Jean Watson

Jean Watson, R.N., Ph.D.

Full Name: Margarette Jean Harman Watson
Place of Birth: Southern West Virginia
Hometown: Welch, West Virginia
Civil Status: Married to Mr. Douglas (d)
Children: Jennifer (born 1963), Julie (born 1967)


High School: West Virginia
College: Lewis Gale School of Nursing, Roanoke Virginia
Post Graduate: University of Colorado – Boulder campus (B.S. Nursing Degree 1964), Health Sciences Campus (M.S. in psychiatric mental health nursing 1966).
Doctorate: University of Colorado, Graduate School – Boulder campus (Ph. D in Educational Psychology and counselling in 1973)

Work Background

Faculty and administrator – University of Colorado Health Sciences Center – Denver

Chair and assistant dean of the graduate program and was involved in early planning and   implementation of the nursing doctorate program in Colorado in 1978

Dean of the University School of Nursing and associate director, Nursing Practice at University Hospital from 1983 to 1990.

A professor of nursing and holds the Endowed Chair in Caring Science at the University Of Colorado School Of Nursing.

Honorary Awards and Affiliations

Founder and Member of the Board of Boulder County Hospice

Honorary doctoral degrees from Assumption College - Worcester, Massachusetts, the Universtiy of Akron, the University of West Virginia, Goteborg University in Sweden, and Luton University in London

Distinguished Professor of Nursing at the University of Colorado in 1992

A recipient of the National League for Nursing (NLN) Martha E. Rogers Award, which recognizes a nurse scholar who has made significant contributions to nursing knowledge that advances the science of caring in nursing and health sciences.

Served as a member of the Executive Committee, the Governing Board, and as an officer of NLN in 1993 and 1996

Honorary Lifetime Certificate as a holistic nurse in 1997

Recognized as a Distinguished Nurse Scholar by New York University in 1998

Awarded by Norman Cousins Award by the Fetzer Institute in recognition of her commitment to develop, maintaining, and exemplifying relationship - centered care practice

Distinguished lectureship throughout the United States at well-known universities including Boston College, Catholic University, Adelphi University, Columbia University – Teachers College, and State University of New York.

International activities included International Kellogg Fellowship in Australia (1982) a Fulbright Research and Lecture Award to Sweden and other parts of Scandinavia (1991), and a lecture tour in the United Kingdom (1993), she was also involved in international projects and invitations in New Zealand, India, Thailand, Taiwan, Israel, and Japan.

Watson is featured in several national videos on nursing theory. These includes: “Circle of Knowledge,” and “Conversations on Caring" with Jean Watson and Janet Quinn” from the NLN; “Portrait of Excellence: Nursing Theorists and Their Work” from   Helen Fuld Health Trust “Theory in Practice” from the NLN, which features the Denver Nursing Projects in Human Caring, a nurse-directed caring center for persons with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).


Watson’s publications reflect the evolution of her theory of caring. Her writings have been geared towards educating nursing students and providing them with the ontological and epistemology basis for their praxis and research directions. Here are some of Watson’s major works:

Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring – 1979 – this book emerged from her quest to bring new meaning and dignity to the world of nursing and patient care – care that seemed too limited in its scope at the time, largely defined by medicine’s paradigm and traditional biomedical science models.

Nursing: Human Science and Human Care – A Theory of Nursing – 1985 (released 1988) – her second major work focused in addressing some conceptual and philosophical problems that still existed in nursing. She hoped that others would join her as she sought to “elucidate the human care process in nursing, preserve the concept of the person in our science, ad better our contribution to society.

Postmodern Nursing and Beyond - 1999 – Watson’s third work projects nursing and health care into the midtwenty-first century.This seeks to illuminate “…a model of caring and healing practices that take medicine, nursing, and the public beyond traditional western medicine, beyond the “cure at all cost” approach, and embeds caring and healing practices in a new paradigm that acknowledges the symbiotic relationship between humankind-technology-nature and the larger expansive universe.

Instruments for Assessing and Measuring Caring in Nursing and Health Sciences (2002)

Caring Science as Sacred Science (2004)
Watson’s original philosophy and science of caring she referred to caring as the essence of nursing practice. Caring is a model ideal rather than task – oriented behaviour and includes such characteristics as the actual caring occasion and the transpersonal caring moment, phenomena that occurs when an authentic caring relationship exist between nurse and the patient.

Parker, Marilyn E., Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice, 2nd Edition. Davis 2006
Tomey, Ann Marriner et al. Nursing Theories and Their Works, 5th Edition. Mosby 2002

1 comment:

  1. bravo, great site. this helped me ALOT with my assignment for my Theoretical Foundations work.