Ethics. Research. Community.

Caring as the central focus in nursing curriculum development.

NLN publications. 
(41-2308): 
255-266; 
1990. 
(English). 
[Record Source: PubMed]
Nursing literature and conferences are advocating a return to the humanistic values and caring approach to people that has been a hallmark of nursing. A theory base for caring in nursing is emerging. Over the past 10 years several research studies in nursing have focused on the concept of caring. Most studies have dealt with defining and understanding the concept of caring and identifying attributes of caring from the perspective of the patient/client and from that of the nurse. New work on caring is looking at teaching of the concept in schools of nursing (Bauer, 1988), the economics of caring (Buerhaus, 1986), the relationship between caring and nurse burnout (Gustafson, 1984), issues of ethics and caring (Fry, 1988 & 1989), to name just a few. The concept of caring is being legitimized as an area appropriate for nurses to study. As nursing educators know, building a program on a strong philosophical base with faculty committed to implementation of the program philosophy is crucial for success of program outcome. Using a caring framework for teaching nursing exposes nursing students to more than an empirical basis for practice. An holistic approach to really understanding people as human beings of value, worth, and having needs becomes the focus of content. To effectively teach caring, faculty must role model the attributes of caring to nursing students. This involves accepting and treating students as having value, worth, and the potential for growth. Faculty must also feel good about themselves and their abilities as teachers. Faculty need to feel confident and comfortable in their role as educators, master their subject matter, and be willing to get involved with students. Faculty development programs, recruitment of faculty espousing a caring philosophy, and mentoring new faculty into their modeling role are important considerations for the effective teaching of caring. Promoting a caring framework for nursing and faculty modeling of caring behaviors and attitudes could affect student recruitment. In our highly technologic society, great emphasis is being placed on person-to-person relationships. Reaffirming the caring nature of nursing to the public and actively promoting these behaviors may make the nursing profession a more attractive and appealing career choice.
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