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Table of Contents
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

A caring framework for teaching to care

Department of CNE and Research, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication09-Oct-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Vinitha Ravindran
Department of CNE and Research, College of Nursing, CMC, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJCN.IJCN_14_19

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How to cite this article:
Ravindran V. A caring framework for teaching to care. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2019;20:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Ravindran V. A caring framework for teaching to care. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Apr 23];20:1-2. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2019/20/1/1/268692

Faculty–student relationship in nursing has undergone major changes, especially in Western countries. In Asian countries like India, there yet needs to be a paradigm shift. The article titled, “Teaching Angels to Fly” published in this volume is the impetus for this editorial. Nursing as a profession is concerned with caring. A holistic caring paradigm is viewed as a fundamental framework for providing comprehensive nursing care to individuals, families and communities, and this concept is consistently accentuated in the education and training of nursing students. While 'patient caring' is given importance in academia, nursing faculty often fails to extend the caring concept in their teaching–learning relationship with their students.[1] As a profession which has stressed on strict discipline and professional hierarchy, nursing has traditionally followed a behaviourism perspective in classroom and clinical teaching.[2] Behaviourism asserts that all behaviours are learnt by both positive and negative conditioning without much consideration for a person's internal, mental or conscious status.[3] Although the application of behaviourism has changed gradually over decades, the remnants of the concept are still visible within the teaching–learning relationship in Asian countries like India. Nursing students tend to view their teachers/clinical instructors as taskmasters, and the teachers tend to view the students as rebels needing strict disciplining and conditioning.[4]

I would like to suggest adopting the core principles from Watson's Theory of Human Caring to the faculty–student relationship within which we teach the students to care. According to Watson, the Theory of Human Caring is based on caritas process that is founded on principles such as 'Practice of loving–kindness and equanimity, Authentic presence: Enabling deep belief of other (patient, colleague, family, etc.), Cultivation of one's own spiritual practice toward wholeness of mind/body/spirit—beyond ego, “Being” the caring-healing environment and Allowing miracles (openness to the unexpected and inexplicable life events)'.[5] Caritas is a term that originates from Latin, and according to the dictionary, it refers to caring as a generous, gentle loving process that needs to be sustained.

The first principle, practice of loving–kindness and equanimity refers to being kind and providing care in a loving and composed manner. Nurses are encouraged to maintain this attitude of composure, calmness and kindness in all patient-care situations and also when relating to colleagues and co-workers. The attitude of caring promotes growth.[2] As nursing students adjust to the practice of nursing, faculty should extend this attitude to encourage students' positive growth. Loving–kindness extends to being aware of students' individual needs, wishes and routines and respecting them as persons with unique qualities. The second principle authentic presence denotes nurses' genuine awareness of the patients' needs and connecting as human to human. Through the authentic presence and connection, patient's wish can be understood and nurses will be able to advocate for their needs to be met. Similarly, an authentic presence of faculty is needed for students both in the classroom and in the clinical setting as students engage in learning to care. Intentional, meaningful interactions and sensitive presence of a faculty will make immeasurable contribution to a student's learning environment. Authentic presence of a faculty enables sharing of rich experiences consciously or unconsciously, which further leads to discovery of self and others.

The second point reflects the definition of caring given by Salehian et al.[2] 'In education, the caring concept is defined as an approach in teaching-learning processes that is based on mutual relationship between the teacher and students as well as ethical and human principals. In a caring based interaction, both teachers and students' operation and feeling are equally considered' (p. 261). Third, moving beyond the clutches of ego, a nurse has to understand and cater to a person with the concept of wholeness where mind, body and spirit unite with also the influence of external environmental factors. Nurses are encouraged to understand the effect of one on another and consider patients' needs and problems within their context. Likewise, the faculty/clinical instructor should try to understand the contextual influences on students' performance and consider their holistic needs. The paradigm of 'behaviourism' then may change to 'humanism' in teaching–learning situation. At last, allowing for and being open to miracles in a patients' life encourage patients and their families to have hope and fulfilment in their experiences of both joy and sorrow. Even within a teacher–student relationship being open to changes and growth, not giving up on a student by constant encouragement and positive reinforcement, can allow students to achieve their optimal potential.

As much as we emphasise caring in our curriculum, we as faculty and clinical instructors need to be aware of caring relationship that is needed to teach and share the concept of human caring. Watsons' theory can be one framework for those who teach to care.

  References Top

Clarke CM, Kane DJ, Rajacich DL, Lafreniere KD. Bullying in undergraduate clinical nursing education. J Nurs Educ 2012;51:269-76.  Back to cited text no. 1
Salehian M, Heydari A, Aghebati N, Karimi Moonaghi H. Faculty-student caring interaction in nursing education: An integrative review. J Caring Sci 2017;6:257-67.  Back to cited text no. 2
Skinner BF. About Behaviorism. Newyork: Vintage; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 3
Cooper JR, Walker JT, Winters K, Williams PR, Askew R, Robinson JC. Nursing students' perceptions of bullying behaviours by classmates. Issues Educ Res 2009;19:212-26.  Back to cited text no. 4
Watson J. Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring. Revised. Edition. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 5


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