Date of Award

Summer 7-30-2018

Degree Type

Final Project

Degree Name

DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice




Mary Ellen E. Roberts, D.N.P.

Committee Member

Mary Patricia Wall, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patricia Clark Pappas, D.N.P.

Committee Member

Karen Macey-Stewart, MSN


The aim of this project was to determine if an educational intervention utilizing Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring influences nurses’ level of awareness and practice of loving kindness to self and others. Watson’s paradigm of transpersonal caring is presented as a means to provide the compassionate care needed by patients with chronic pain, who are vulnerable to the comorbidities of depression and anxiety and often have poor outcomes. This quality improvement project was implemented with five Registered Nurses working in a pain center. A two-pronged intervention was structured to begin developing a Caritas Consciousness in Session 1 by focusing on the nurse, applying Caritas #1, loving kindness, to self before applying it to others. Mindfulness, meditation and reflective journaling cultivated their personal journey for several weeks. In Session 2 the focus shifted to the needs of the patient, applying Caritas #1 and #6 with patients in chronic pain. Session 3 allowed time for discussion of ways to grow and sustain a healing environment. Self-reporting of nurses’ perceptions of their caring pre- and post-educational intervention was obtained via surveys. The Watson Caritas Self-Rating Scale, a tool with demonstrated validity and reliability, showed an increase in each of five components of self-caring with a mean increase overall. This indicates movement in a positive direction toward the loving-kindness initiative. The Self-Rating Survey of Caring, designed and piloted for the nurses to rate self on each of the ten Caritas Processes, showed an increase for each item and a mean increase overall. A Post-Survey for Nurses showed positive ratings on all 12 statements. The educational intervention helped the nurses begin a journey which should lead to improved compassionate care. The Caritas #1 component of this project is a model which can be replicated with nurses in any setting. Focusing on one Caritas Process to meet the specific needs of a patient population can also be replicated.

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