An analysis of caring


  • Sarah Sourial MSc BA RGN RMN

    1. Head of Department of Mental Health and Learning Disability Nursing, St Bartholomew School of Nursing and Midwifery, City University, Philpot Street, Whitechapel, London, E1 2EA, England
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Although ‘caring’ is now commonly discussed in nursing, the literature appears divided about the ‘caring’ concept. Some think it is at the centre of nursing and should therefore become part of nursing's paradigm. Others argue that although nursing is one form of caring, caring is not unique to nursing, so nursing cannot lay claim to being the form of caring. This paper aims to understand more fully what the concept ‘caring’ is, before any meaningful conclusions can be drawn about such a polarized debate. In order to achieve this aim, Wilson's 3rd step of concept analysis, as discussed by Walker and Avant, will be used to clarify the ‘caring’ concept. This requires the identification of all uses of the concept that can be discovered. Eight uses of the concept ‘caring’ found in the nursing literature will be discussed. These are: ethics; instrumental and affective; traits; patients' and nurses' perceptions of caring; holism; humanism; organizational; and quality.