Theories of Caring in Nursing

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Caring is one of the basic principles of nursing. Some advocates of nursing argue that caring is no longer a central theme to the nursing profession and has become only second nature to the busy, overworked nurse in a technologically dominated setting. This paper aims to disagree with this statement and prove the importance of caring in the nursing profession. Caring is the way one human reacts to another psychologically or having concerned feelings in a managerial competence level. Caring is most crucial in the intensive care unit (ICU) where there is advanced technology. The words care and caring are mostly used to explain what nursing is all about.

Nursing is a profession whereby a lot of support and empathy is needed and caring is the most important aspect of it, especially when dealing with patients who are critically ill. In the ICU, the concept of caring is important since the nurse has to deal with the patients, relatives and also colleagues. Even though caring is not only specific to nursing, nurses have to learn the aspect of caring and the kind of attitude they need to provide the best care (Hemingway, 2013). The essay seeks to determine the concept of caring and to explain why it’s important to nursing today. The paper will look into the theories of caring in nursing, the benefits of caring, the challenges faced in caring, caring in nursing today, and finally, the standards for practice for registered nurses.

Perspective of caring

The most important thing in the work of the nurses is making patients feel valued and that they matter. When nurses care for their patients with respect and dignity, there is a satisfaction to both the patient and the nurse. The caring attitudes of the nurses make the patients feel like they no longer have problems. Everything the nurse does is acceptable to everyone involved including the patient and his or her family.

The 5Cs of Caring

5Cs includes commitment, conscience, competence, compassion, and confidence. When nurses apply the 5Cs in their workplace, it helps their relationships with their colleagues, their patients and also may help them advance in their careers.


Even though the life of a nurse can be hard at times, commitment to patients is more important. Nurses must always pledge to be at their best. Committing one to work means doing more than what is expected and promising to keep strong values. Another form of commitment is to gain more knowledge and skills by getting more education to improve the care given to patients.


Having a stress free and clear conscience will help a nurse deliver the best care possible to a patient since there will be no personal issues affecting one’s state of mind. Having a clear conscience will always help keep the right attitude and the right state of mind.


The ways in which nurses can be competent in their work include keeping time and never arriving to work late and always being professional towards everything and everyone. Another way is to maintain a high standard in everything regardless of what other colleagues are putting on the table. Being competent also involves asking for help when not sure rather than doing something you are unsure. Another way to be competent is to improve one’s skill to gain the knowledge needed to offer the best care possible and also stay up to date on what is happening in the field.


Having compassion is very important in the nursing profession since it determines how nurses treat their patients. Compassionate nurses are always there for their patients for moral support and also treat them with kindness and consideration all the time. Therefore, there is a sense of intimacy between the nurse and the patients hence satisfaction in one’s job. The more a nurse shows compassion, the more compassion is given back since it affects everyone positively, hence, improving relationships in the workplace.


Confidence makes all the other 5Cs work for the better. Confidence helps one to stay committed, helps to follow one’s conscience, helps to be competent and also show compassion no matter how hard the situation is.

Theories of caring in nursing

Caring in nursing can mean two things. One is when a nurse takes care of a patient who cannot take care of him/herself, and the other one which is of our main concern in this paper is when a nurse is a caring nurse. Caring is whereby; nurses show compassion, concern, and kindness to their patients. The concept of caring is vague and complex, and the understanding, relevance, and function of caring in nursing are still not clear. Caring also means that nurses should be available to support the patient or the patient’s family whenever they are needed. Giving moral support to a patient includes helping a patient with illness until one has recovered and making sure the patient with his/her family is prepared mentally and physically for discharge and supporting them through the transition. Unfortunately, this also means being there for a dying patient by providing comfort and moral support to the family in the last minutes of their loved one. Even though Nightingale formally started the nursing profession, traditionally, before her, the purpose of the nurses had been to prevent diseases and taking care of the health of the people and the needy. (Callahan, 2014).

The Benefit of Caring

Caring makes the patients and their families feel appreciated and that they matter to someone. Caring also contributes to the nurse’s knowledge growing. Acquiring more knowledge happens when a nurse engages with the patient hence adding little knowledge to the already existing knowledge.

Challenges Facing Caring

Technology advancement leads to changes in the focus of nursing practice which then increases workloads and the patient’s awareness. For this reason, caring can lose meaning which may then end up being forgotten. Many nurse theorists started opposing, and this was the beginning of the fear of less focus on caring and changing the emphasis on caring.

Caring in Nursing Today

Caring in nursing has a very important effect on the lives of patients. Caring leads to a form of intimacy between the nurse, and the patient hence nurses contribute greatly to the experiences, safety, and healing of patients. Due to the unstable process caring in nursing has gone through over time; it is of no surprise that understanding caring is still vague. The early opposers brought about doubts and suspicions about caring hence causing unreliability. Even though caring in nursing now seems obvious, it is still seen as work in progress, and something has to be done about it.

 Despite the uncertainty surrounding caring in nursing, there is a lot of evidence to show the positive effect caring has had on nursing practices. According to Summer (2005), high-level skill and knowledge are needed by the nurses to operate new advanced machinery, the old ways where the nurses are involved in the healing process of patients is needed so as not to lose the humanist aspect of caring. She also suggests that nursing is wholly dependent on caring.

Professionally, it has been witnessed that there is so much this modern technology can do for patients as the effectiveness of caring is being researched (Burtson & Stichler, 2010; Porter et al., 2014). Having one intense combined statement about caring in nursing could open up new more opportunities for the advancement of nursing in its practice together with more credibility. To the nurses of today, it is clear how much caring has affected the nursing philosophy and methodology in spite of the confusion created by the nurse theorists.

Standards for Practice

According to the International Council of Nurses (2013), the aim of the nursing standards is to protect the public and to make sure the nurses deliver high-quality outcomes. These standards set the rules for the registered nurses, their education, determine whether the nurses are fit for practice as well as act as a guide for consumers, employers, and the public on what is expected from these registered nurses.

Nursing Standards

Codes such as the competency standards guide the nurses to ensure there is professional competency among them. The nursing standards were developed in 1953 by the ICN and were later introduced to Australia in the year 1985 to act as general standards and also to help transit the nursing education to the next level ((Bryant, 2005). Developing these standards is also very crucial when working with people who use these health services. A lot of research has been done to prove that relationships between the healthcare workers and the patients and their families, and the community at large have a very great effect on the outcome and safety of the patients (Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, 2012; Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, 2013). The standards regulating the nurses are used in all fields. Laws to protect the public should be established and codes of practice that concern the competence of the nurses should be enforced to ensure the practices are safe.

The nursing regulators are responsible for making this happen whereby each developed country have their nursing regulator provide all types of practice standards, codes, and guidelines. All these standards are used to come up with one functional approach that is the most acceptable level of performance to be used during entry into the profession and in practicing any clinical roles. The regulatory authorities use some of these standards as guidelines for other fields such as education and administration.

Competency and Nursing Standards

Competence is the most basic principle in most professional practices. There are two types of competence; internal and external. Internal is when a person and the attribute goes about what they know and what they are capable of, while external is communal and activity-based approaches that take into account the actions that have to be completed. Over the last thirty years, standards of competency in Australia and all over the world have changed from a sign of the basic learning results by which to guide entry to practice nursing to quality of other ranks of nursing such as registered nurses and also the standards of other nursing professions. The change to standards for practice is a very important step that was caused by competency advancing, and, also the need to show clearly what nursing practice is within a number of fields of nursing practice. This not only shows the value of competence but also explains the nursing practice and the standards of practicing nursing that all registered nurses are expected to adhere to.

Australian Nursing Regulation

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) is responsible for developing and approving Australia nursing standards. This is under the umbrella of lawmakers and the registration for health specialists who are responsible for all nurses. In July 2010, this development led to the coming together of the state and territory health professional regulatory boards and 65 independent sections of legislation into the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law).

The titles in nursing that are recorded presently on the register of the public under the National Law include, enrolled nurse, registered nurse, and nurse practitioner. The requirements necessary for the registration standards by the National Law include the arrangement for the professional indemnity insurance; whether one has a criminal past, English language skills, education progress, and how long it was since the last or former practice. Section 39 of the National Law explains that the instructions are meant to guide the registered health specialists. The NMBA starts and approves the quality of registration, how one should act, manual to professional boundaries and the standards for practice to make sure that the standards are clear and are used appropriately by the professionals.

Registered Nurse Standards

Registered nurse (RN) standards contain elements of evidence that will help prevent, form, support, restore and calm a person. Registered nurses are involved with different kinds of individuals, and these can be family members, social groups and, community members. These individuals may be or may not be healthy, and others may have abilities, while others may have health problems which can be mental or physical illnesses and other health problems. These problems can be brought about by physical, mental, growth and intellectual disabilities.

The Australian community is rich in diversity with a combination of cultural and semantic variety and Registered nurse standards for practice are to be studied in these surroundings. Registered nurses appreciate the significance of history and culture to health and welfare. This exercise demonstrates a certain understanding of the effects of colonization on the lives of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultural, spiritual and social lives, which has led to a remarkable inequity in health in Australia.

Registered nurses as controlled health workers are accountable and answerable to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). These are the Registered nurse standards for practice for all registered nurses for the whole nation. These registered nurse standards for practice in combination with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia standards, codes and guidelines should be seen in the actions of the registered nurses and advise the growth of the extent of the profession and the desires of registered nurses. RN practice, as a skilled venture needs nonstop thinking and testing in the surroundings of thoughtful growth and preservation of useful relationships.


Even though it was feared that caring in nursing is lost, it has remained to be a very crucial principle in nursing over time to today’s practice. It seems strange that the people who used to be the advocates of caring in nursing later opposed whether it is necessary and whether it is still in effect. The misconception that the nurses are more focused on the new technology, workloads and the need to be more aware led to the belief that the value and ethics of caring were lost which research has shown not to be true. Throughout its unstable journey over time, the philosophy and methodology of caring are still present. The expected recovery of caring in nursing brings about much hope for caring to proceed being the main principle in nursing now and in the days to come regardless of all the challenges and doubts about its importance.



Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2012).National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards. Retrieved from

Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare (2013).Consumers, the health system and health literacy: Taking action to improve safety and quality.

Burtson, P. L., & Stichler, J. F. (2010). Nursing work environment and nurse caring: relationship among motivational factors. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 66(8), 1819-1831.

Bryant, R. (2005). Regulation, roles and competency development. Geneva, Switzerland: The Global Nursing Review Initiative.

Callahan, J. (2014). Christian Post: 7 Bible Verses That Illustrate the Importance of Caring for Others. Retrieved from

Hemingway, A. (2013). What is nursing care and who owns it? Nursing Times; Online early publication.

International Council of Nurses (2013). Nursing regulation. Retrieved from

Sumner, J.F. (2005). Caring- The foundation of advanced practice nursing. Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing, 4(4), 12-16.

October 13, 2023

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