• empathy;
  • virtue ethics;
  • ethical theory;
  • education;
  • caring theory;
  • philosophy;
  • Noddings’ theory;
  • nursing education;
  • feminist theory;
  • partiality

Antecedents to engrossment in Noddings’ theory of care

Background. Nel Noddings theorized caring as a universal social process comprised of three phases: engrossment or mental attentiveness, affective engagement or empathy and a mental imperative to act on behalf of another. If Noddings’ theory is correct, caring is a learned process.

Aim. The goal of this research was to understand the process, particularly engrossment, and to facilitate students’ development of caring relationships.

Design. This qualitative study of 13 baccalaureate nursing students uncovered six antecedents that facilitated student’s engrossment and extends Noddings’ theory.

Conclusion. Further research, to deepen and synthesize understanding of antecedents and their influence on facilitating or inhibiting the caring process, is advocated.