• caring;
  • clinical nursing practice;
  • qualitative descriptive study;
  • values;
  • Watson's theory


Aim:  The aims of this study were to describe nurses’ values in clinical nursing practice and to identify how caring exists in their practice, based on the description of values. In this paper, the definition of caring was adopted from the theory of human caring, where caring is depicted as the moral ideal of nursing.

Methods:  Data were generated by participant observations from 24 nurses, semistructured formal interviews with seven nurses, and informal interviews. The nurses were associated with an internal medicine ward within an acute hospital in Japan. Data were analysed by using a qualitative descriptive method.

Results:  Twelve categories emerged from the data analysis: considering a patient's feelings, having nursing knowledge and skills, advocating for their patients, having a relationship as a human being, being with a patient, touching a patient, listening to a patient, making a difference, helping each other as nurses, being connected to a patient, denoting the ‘meaning of one's life’, and realizing nursing as a means of self-actualization. These categories were illustrated as a schematic model of values in clinical nursing practice.

Conclusions:  This study described nurses’ values in clinical nursing practice. The results showed that there was evidence of caring in daily Japanese clinical nursing practice, even within a strong medical model acute hospital.