AURORA, Colo. – The world-renowned Watson Caring Science Institute and International Caritas Consortium, dedicated to incorporating the healing power of human caring and compassion into modern medical practice, is moving from Boulder to the College of Nursing at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus early next month.
Founded by former College of Nursing Dean Jean Watson (pictured above), named a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing for extraordinary contributions to the profession, the institute is returning to its roots.
“It all began right here. We are ground zero for the concept of caring science,” said College of Nursing Dean Sarah Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN. “When Jean first developed the idea many people didn’t take it seriously. Now 300 hospitals in the U.S. use these practices and dozens more are official `Caring Science’ affiliates.”
Watson transformed the concept of caring into an ethical and philosophical practice worthy of scientific inquiry and research. And her theories have been embraced by nursing programs around the world.
A major part of caring science, she said, involves “restoring the under-developed ethical values of love and compassion back into health care.”
“You learn the skills of being present and honoring a patient in that presence,” said Professor Sara Horton-Deutsch, PhD, RN, FAAN, who holds the Jean Watson Endowed Chair in Human Caring Science at CU Anschutz.
Horton-Deutsch is also director of the new Watson Caring Science Center with a mission of “advancing the art and science of human caring knowledge, ethics, and clinical practice in the fields of nursing and health sciences.”
The center will foster research, teaching and practice of caring science through an inter-professional PhD program track and other professional human caring educational programs. It will also serve as a local, national and international resource and clearing house for information related to the theory and practice of human caring and healing.
“We want to see Jean’s legacy carry on for generations to come and we have the structure here at the College of Nursing to support it,” Horton-Deutsch said.
Watson’s philosophy was initially viewed with skepticism by some but a growing body of evidence now indicates that caring science practices can be highly effective.
“In many ways professional schools have become technical schools and the humanities have been lost,” Horton-Deutsch said. “But now we are once again seeing the importance of a holistic healing approach in health care.”
Watson, dean emeritus of the College of Nursing, will still play a role in the center as a board member, teacher and coach.
She has 11 honorary degrees including eight international doctorates and held the nation’s first endowed chair in Caring Science at CU Anschutz.
After retiring, Watson founded the non-profit Watson Caring Science Institute and International Caritas Consortium in Boulder dedicated to creating, conducting and sponsoring caring science research all over the world. She’s taught and set up programs in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Asia.
“At a time when caring science is exploding all over the world, it’s very exciting to be opening this center now at the College of Nursing,” Dean Thompson said. “There is no limit to the learning and teaching opportunities that this will offer to our students and faculty.”
Published: June 22, 2015