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Running head: CARING 1

Caring: The Essence of Nursing

Chelsey L. Hansen
Dixie State University


Caring: The Essence of Nursing
Caring in the nursing profession takes place every time a nurse-to-patient contact is
made. . . Caring makes a difference to the patients sense of well being (Vance, 2003, para. 8).
To me, this quote expresses what caring is. Caring is the actions a nurse does to make her
patients feel better. Although the ultimate goal is healing them, caring is still present even when
that is not possible. The goal of caring is to improve the sense of well being of the patient, and
make them feel the best that is possible. To achieve this, the nurse does everything in her power
to make them feel safe, comfortable, and well cared for. That is why caring is the essence of
In a study done by Mayer (2012), Mayer wanted to examine what behaviors nurses and
cancer patients perceived to convey caring. From her study she found that there were five caring
behaviors that both the cancer patients and nurses ranked highest. The first item was that the
nurse knows how give shots, IVs, etc. and mange the equipment. The second caring behavior
was that the nurse was cheerful throughout the experience. Encouraging the patient to ask for
help was ranked third. The next caring behavior was that the nurse puts the patient first no
matter what else happens. Lastly, they believed that the nurse displayed a caring behavior when
he/she understood that first times were hardest and paid special attention to them during those
times (p. 299-305).
Last year, I had a nurse who displayed all the qualities listed above. Before having my
gallbladder removed, I had to make a trip to the ER. I was panicked because I did not know what
was happening, and I was in a lot of pain. It also was the first time that I had to go to the ER
alone. The nurse I had was amazing! The first thing she did that comforted me was that she acted
confident. She knew what she was doing. Right of the back, she started an IV, hooked me up to

the equipment, and explained to me the plan of treatment. She also explained to me all the
medications that I was receiving. This made me feel like I was in good hands. The second thing
she did that made me feel cared for was that she was kind. Even though I wasnt in the best of
moods, the nurse was nice to me. She was very friendly and asked me about my interests. What
really made this nurse amazing was that she stayed with me. Being in the ER, was a scary
experience. I didnt know what was wrong, and I didnt have anyone there with me. I think the
nurse could tell that I was nervous. She stayed with me and comforted me throughout the
experience. She even contacted my family. She could have easily left me and gone and sat at the
nursing station, but she did not. This experience, to me, demonstrated what a caring nurse is.
I have also seen the other side of the spectrum. My mother had her appendix rupture
earlier this spring and had to get an appendectomy. The nurse she had was not a caring nurse.
She walked in and out of the room as quickly as possible and only did the required items. She
never explained the medications. She took forever to get pain medications even when she said
she would be right back with them. The only time she checked in on my mother was when she
needed to do an assessment. I know that my mother did not feel cared for.
Caring may occur without curing, but curing cannot occur without caring (Vance,
2003, para. 8). In conclusion, caring is the essence of nursing. Without caring, nurses are not
giving the best quality of care to their patients. In order to truly help patients to heal and have a
positive experience, nurses need to instill a caring quality into all the practices they do. This
means doing everything possible for the patient to make sure that they feel well taken care of.


Mayer, D. K. (2012). Oncology nurses versus cancer patients perceptions of nurse caring
behaviors: A replication study. M. C. Smith, M. C. Turkel, & Z. R. Wolf (Eds.), Caring
in nursing classics: An essential resource (pp. 299-307). New York, NY: Springer
Publishing Company.
Vance, T. (2003, March 20). Caring and the professional practice of nursing. Journal of Nursing.
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