Stanford Health Care's nursing care delivery system is person-centered and guided by Jean Watson’s, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN Theory of Human Caring (Caring Science). Dr. Watson's theory seeks to deepen our understanding of universal, ethical, and person-centered caring and healing for self, others, and systems.  Caring Science also serves as foundational covenant, guiding nursing practice as both a discipline and a profession. Caring Science Ten Caritas Processes® serve as the core of nursing providing a deeper meaning and work of nursing.  The Caritas Processes® provide guidelines, giving structure and language to what we do while honoring the human dimensions of our work and the subjective experiences of the people we serve every day (Sitzman & Watson, 2013). The Caritas Processes® represent the philosophical foundation of the science of human caring and illuminate how we engage in caring and healing through the art and science of our work through the themes of loving-kindness, compassion, authentic presence, transpersonal relationships, co-creation, healing environments, caring-healing modalities, and transformation. 


“It’s when we include caring and love in our science, we discover our caring-healing professions and disciplines are much more than a detached scientific endeavor, but a life giving and life-receiving endeavor for humanity.”       

~~Jean Watson


Stanford Health Care (SHC) Caring Science journey began in 2007 with a purposeful mission to deepen the understanding of Caring Science through the intentional integration of theory-guided practice principles into the fabric of the organization. The Watson Caring Science Institute (WCSI) and Dr. Jean Watson recognized Stanford Health Care as a National Watson Caring Science Affiliate System™ in 2015 for exemplary integration of caring theory and leadership commitment to Caring Science practices. Focusing on praxis,  research, education, , and legacy, Stanford Health Care has led a number of initiatives and specific activities that have defined our Caring Science Strategy over time: 

  1. PRAXIS recognizes exemplary professional caring practice guided by Watson Caring Science theory, values, philosophy and science

  2. RESEARCH promotes participation and dissemination in Clinical Caring Scholarship and Research

  3. EDUCATION translates and integrates evidence of the Watson Caring Science Philosophy and learning/teaching methods into curriculum development

  4. LEGACY keeps Caring Science alive by sustaining the healing environment culture of caring for staff, colleagues, patients/family and community


Exemplary professional caring practice guided by Watson Caring Science theory, values, philosophy and science

  • Strategic Plan

  • Professional Practice Model

  • Professional Nurse Development Program (PNDP)

  • Nursing Recognition

  • Nursing Celebrations


Participation in Clinical Caring Scholarship and Research

  • Evidence-Based Practice Initiatives on Caring Science

  • Watson Caring Science Survey Self, Co-Worker, Leader

  • Funding Innovation/Demonstration Projects

  • Friends of Nursing Funding

  • Presentation at various National and International Conferences to showcase our Caring Science Integration work

    • Association of Nursing ProfessionalDevelopment, 2014, 2015, 2016

    • HealthCare Con, 2018

    • International Association Human Caring, 2016, 2017, 2018

    • International Caritas Consortium, 2015, 2016, 2017

    • Magnet Conference, 2018

    • South Africa International Caritas Consortium, 2015

    • Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Research Congress, 2015, 2018


Evidence of the Watson Caring Science Philosophy and learning/teaching methods

  • Caritas Coach Education Program Plan – currently have 21 Coaches

  • HeartMath Certified Trainers

  • Nurse Residency Program

  • Foundations of Acute and Critical Care Program (FACC)

  • General Clinical Orientation (NEW)

  • Leadership & Management Academy (NEW) 

  • Mentoring Program

  • Nursing Grand Rounds

  • Schwartz Center Rounds

  • OR Simulation Training

  • International Nurses Program Orientation

  • Professional Development Course

  • Charge Nurse Leadership

  • Unit Educator Training

  • Leading with Heart Workshop

  • Preceptor Program


Sustaining the healing environment culture of caring for staff, colleagues, patients/family and community

  • Patient Experience (CICARE)

  • Wellness Initiatives

    • Self Care/Wellness Resource Guide

    • Care for Caregiver Response & Support (NEW)

  • Renewal Rooms

  • Communication/Language

  • Daily Huddles

  • Visibility Boards

  • Newsletter/Publications

    • Looking Forward Newsletter

    • Magnet Nursing Annual Report

  • Social Media

Through purposeful, systematic integration of Caring Science into Stanford Health Care's professional practice model and formal nursing structures & processes, SHC has seen a strong degree of adoption, spread, and integration across the enterprise. Each project activity builds on the next.  The increased understanding of Caring Science principles both personally and collectively facilitates shared meaning and language, in addition to helping us authentically sustain Caring Science practices for self, systems, and our community. 


  • Sitzman, K., & Watson, J. (2013). Caring science, mindful practice: Implementing Watson's human caring theory. Springer Publishing Company.

--Contributed by 

Grissel Hernandez, MPH, RN, BSN, HNB-BC, Caritas Coach®
PhD Candidate – University of Colorado College of Nursing

Nursing Professional Development Specialist

Schwartz Center Rounds Program Coordinator

Center for Education and Professional Development
Stanford Health Care

@Stanford Nursing 2018