Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Catherine Harris


Technology and the complexity of the patient care can take the nurse's attention away from caring for the patient to caring for the technology. The purpose of this systematic review was to gather evidence from the literature on tools for measuring caring and the outcomes in order to make that body of knowledge easily accessible to the direct care nurse for implementation. Jean Watson's theory of human caring 'the theoretical framework that guided and informed this DNP project' focuses on human caring processes and experiences. It assumes that effective caring promotes health and outcomes of the nurse and patient. By using such a theory, a systematic review of caring behaviors can illustrate how using caring behaviors with intention can improve patient outcomes as well as nurse satisfaction outcomes. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were identified and articles were appraised using the Johns Hopkins Evidence-based Practice Model and process that nurses at all levels have used to appraise research and non-research for practice changes. Articles were narrowed to10 that met criteria and caring behaviors were recognized. The chosen articles used 5 different tools to measure caring behaviors. Although the individual caring behaviors were identified, the diversity of the tools used to measure and assess caring behaviors did not provide an easy way to assess for commonalities. This review identified areas for future research including, how one tool can be used to measure caring at different levels of care, in an acute care setting, an whether there exists an opportunity to develop common terminology for describing caring behaviors? Future research on using caring behaviors with intention could change nursing practice by changing how nurses perceive their skills and tasks.

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