Nursing, the Concept

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This work provides the precise analysis of one of the concepts of nursing practice under the name “caring”. At the current moment, there is no any one single definition of this notion. Thus, the current work will provide numerous definitions, which incorporate distinct characteristics of this concept. Much attention will be devoted to the depiction of the major attributes of nursing which the great variety of resources note. Its comprehensive character creates the background for wide application of this term in different disciplines. This work will provide these spheres of usage below. Moreover, the same characteristic enables empiric measurement by using several scales. This essay will depict four of those scales. All of them have the aim to assess various aspects of caring. The scrupulous analysis of caring and depicting of its features are essential for deeper understanding of this concept.

Analysis of the Concept

Nowadays, caring is considered to be one of the core concepts of nursing practices. This notion depicts the relationships between health care providers and their patients that are intent on the improvement of psychological and physical conditions of the last. There is no any distinct and generally accepted interpretation of this concept. Various researchers provide their own definitions by making the emphasis on some particular characteristics. Moreover, the unified understanding of the major attributes of caring is absent as well. These discrepancies have the basis of the comprehensive character of the chosen concept and the ability to view it from various perspectives. However, all the definitions and explanations of caring serve as supplements to each other for providing more profound understanding of nursing practice.

Purpose of the Concept

The major purpose of the described concept is providing the patient assistance, physical and psychological support with the aim to improve his physical and mental health (Sourial, 1997).

Uses of the Concept

The described notion finds the application in such fields as instrumental and affective ethics, humanism, and traits of patients (Sourial, 1997). Additionally, it should be noted that patients and nurses have quite different perception of caring. Nursing use the term of caring for the depiction of practices directed on the support and the protection of patients' interests, while patients theirselves apply “caring” for the explanation of the physical and psychological support (Drahosova & Jarosova, 2016).


In the modern world, caring contains numerous definitions. This concept sometimes has the connotation of “a feeing and exhibiting concern and empathy to others; showing or having compassion” (Lanchman, 2012, p. 112). Madeleine M. Leininger (1988) defined caring as the combination of “assistive, supportive, or facilitative acts” to another person or a group of persons who have estimated evident needs with the aim to improve living conditions and the mode of life (Leininger, 1988, p. 9). This concept can mean the sequence of various attributes like vigilance, competence, and professional interaction with patients (Smith, Turkel, & Wolf, 2015). Moreover, the notion of caring sometimes implies the expression of the conjunction of different human behaviors and skills like administrative, cognitive, psychomotor, and affective ones (Wilkin, 2003).

Jean Watsons in her nursing work noted that the concept of caring contains such components as caritas factors, the caring occasion/moment, and the transpersonal elements (Lanchman, 2012). The first factor embodies the honor to people, their life and experience. The second element represents the combination of the location and time of actual caring, while the third one is health care provider's moral commitment (Lanchman, 2012).


Different researchers have defined various attributes of the described concept. Gail A. Brilowski (2005) noted that the major facets of nursing concept are the following: variability, relationship, acceptance, action, and attitude. Madeleine M. Leininger (1988) emphasized on continuance of relationships, absence of isolation, development and personal realization. Marlaine C. Smith, Marina C. Turkel, & Zane Robinson Wolf (2013) focused their work on the depiction of such peculiarities as comportment of health care provider, compassion, confidence, vigilance, competence, expert nursing practice, and therapeutic interactions with patients and their families. In the context of this study, the compartment signifies the personal feeling of harmony.


Nowadays, caring is widely applied in numerous disciplines. They are nursing, community medicine, dental hygiene, leisure studies, family, social work, diabetics, occupation and physical therapy (Leininger, 1988).


At the current moment, the measurement of caring utilizes special surveys: the Nurse Caring Questionnaire (also known as NCQ) and the Patient Caring Questionnaire (PCQ) (Smith et al., 2015). The attitudes and experiences of health care providers and their patients serve as their basis. Sharing grounded experience between these parties represents the major distinct feature of the process of measurement of nursing care. Both surveys contain three subscales. They are the following: The Affective, Cognitive, Ethical sub-scale (also known as ACE), the Professional Vigilance sub-scale (also known as PV), and the Interaction sub-scale (also known as INT) (Smith, et al., 2015). The first one is beneficial for the assessment of interpersonal qualities of nurses. The second aspect measures behaviors and processes based on provider's knowledge. The last one is advantageous for the analysis of communication, providing physical comfort, nurses' teaching and learning abilities.

In addition, the influence of nurses' evidence based practice on the quality of provided health care can depend on the usage of special nursing quality measures (also known as NCQ). Guidelines, standards, theoretical and practical researches, realized under the guidance of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (The Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, 2014), performed the role of the background that developed these measures.

These methods have the aim to assess various aspects of nursing practice. The diverse methods exist due to the fact that caring is a comprehensive process. Thus, it is hardly to measure this concept by using a single scale method.