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The use of theories and grand theories in nursing is of utmost importance since they have been shown to guide nursing practice. According to Evangelista et al. (2020), theories are a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas with the sole intention of projecting a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena. A middle-range theory in is the application of human caring in inter-professional teams (Concept A) enhances (Proposition) improvement of health among patients (Concept B). This middle-range theory shows a codependence between the professional and the patient in search of holistic care. There is reciprocity in the relationship in that the failure of one leads to a negative effect on the other as every person is viewed as a whole regardless of disease. The major conceptual elements, in theory, are the carative factors, a caring relationship, and caring moments (Najeh Alharbi & Ghazi Baker, 2020). All in all, the presence of all these caring moments can facilitate the provision of holistic care for the patient.

As a grand theory, the Watson theory of caring involves abstract concepts which should be analyzed to support research and nursing care delivery. In most cases, grand theories are based on broad, abstract, and complex concepts, and this is no different from the Watson theory, which is based on four metaparadigm concepts in nursing such as health, nursing, environment, and the person or human being (Evangelista et al., 2020). In all these concepts, the nurse is viewed as a co-participant of the caring process; as such, they should aid the patients in finding meaning even in times of suffering. While the Watson theory is complex and abstract, healthcare professionals can still find a caring environment that can enable them to care for themselves and others, thereby promoting patient care.


According to Utley et al. (2018), a grand theory is “broad in scope and is composed of abstract concepts that cannot be directly tested or measured.” On the other hand, middle-range theories are more narrow in scope, focus on specific areas of nursing, and the ideas are more concrete than those in the grand theories (Utley et al., 2018). Watson’s Theory of Human Caring can be both a middle-range theory and a grand theory.

Watson’s theory can be considered a middle-range theory when the focus is on the ten carative factors. An example that illustrates this is Watson’s first Caritas process, which is the “practice of loving-kindness and equanimity for self and others” (Alharbi & Baker, 2020). One of the major assumptions of Watson’s theory is that we must “treat ourselves with loving-kindness and equanimity, gentleness, and dignity before we can accept, respect, and care for others within a professional caring-healing model” (Linton & Koonmen, 2020). In this , Watson maintains that a nurse’s loving-kindness toward self (concept A) leads to (proposition) his/her ability to practice loving-kindness toward his/her patients (concept B). In other words, without first caring for the self, it is not possible to truly care for others. As an aspiring APN, this is a very significant point. APNs not only take care of patients, but they are also leaders who are responsible for making sure that their team members are in good health. It is important to remember that high-quality care begins with loving-kindness toward self and other caregivers (Wei & Watson, 2019). This is a middle-range theory because this can be used in a practice setting. Especially in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, many nurses may find themselves exhausted and even traumatized. Anyone who has practiced patient care knows that taking care of patients and families is very difficult, if not impossible when one is fatigued and overwhelmed. Watson’s first Caritas process is a useful tool to remind ourselves to care for ourselves as well as others.

As mentioned previously, Watson’s theory can also be considered a grand theory. According to Watson (2018), the word Caritas originates from the Latin word, and it means “to cherish, to appreciate, to give special, if not loving attention to…something precious that needs to be cultivated and sustained.” This shows that Watson’s theory is grounded in love and compassion. Furthermore, Watson’s theory guides nursing practice by serving as “the basis for human caring, whereby our being is connected and we all Belong to nature and our shared humanity around the globe…we all Belong to the infinite field of Universal Cosmic Love” (Watson, 2018). That is to say, human beings are all connected by love, regardless of culture, language, religions, borders, and other differences (Watson, 2018). Nurses, therefore, must be able to connect with their patients through love and kindness, which will bring about true meaning of patient care. Watson’s theory is a because of this universal perspective of love, caring, and human relationships.