An evolutionary concept analysis of caring


  • Gail A. Brilowski RN BSN MSN,

  • M. Cecilia Wendler RN PhD CCRN

M Cecilia Wendler,
Department of Nursing Systems,
College of Nursing and Health Sciences,
University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire,
105 Garfield,
Eau Claire 55122,


Aim.  The aim of this paper is to identify the core, enduring attributes of nursing caring in order to increase understanding of the concept and to identify its implications for research and practice.

Background.  Caring is considered a core concept in nursing as a practice discipline. During the past 20 years, research into nurse caring has been evolving, but the concept of caring remains ambiguous.

Methods.  Using a rigorous evolutionary method of concept analysis, the concept caring was examined for its significance, use and application as it has unfolded over time, between 1988 and 2002. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria and a sampling method, a total of 61 articles was included in the final analysis.

Results.  Defining attributes, antecedents, and consequences of caring were identified. Core attributes included relationship, action, attitude, acceptance and variability.

Conclusion.  Identification of the core attributes of concepts, including caring, allows nurses to determine appropriate research questions, develop theory and identify practice priorities at a time of increasing demands and constrained resources.