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Critical Caring

Contributor: Adeline Falk-Rafael
August 20, 2018

Author – Adeline Falk-Rafael, PhD, RN, FAAN

Year First Published – 2005

Falk-Rafael’s Critical Caring model (used by permissoin)

Major Concepts of the Theory

Caring, Critical Caring Health Promoting Processes, political activism, social justice, public health nursing practice


Hybrid midrange nursing theory

Brief Description

Critical caring is grounded in nursing through Watson’s caring science and Nightingale’s legacy of social activism, as well as in feminist, critical theory. Critical caring emerged from the practice experience of expert public health nurses. Critical caring is conceptualized as a way of being (ontology), knowing (epistemology), choosing (ethics), and doing (praxis) expressed through 7 carative health promoting processes derived from Watson’s 10 clinical caritas processes. Falk-Rafael, A. & Betker, C. (2012).  Also see Critical Caring Model Update!

Primary Sources for the Theory

Falk-Rafael, A. (2005). Speaking truth to power: Nursing’s legacy and moral imperative. Advances in Nursing Science, (28)3, 212-223.

Falk-Rafael, A. (2005). Advancing nursing theory through theory-guided practice: The emergence of a critical caring perspective. Advances in Nursing Science, 28(1), 38-49.

Falk-Rafael, A. & Betker, C. (2012a). The primacy of relationship: A study of public health nursing practice from a critical caring perspective. Advances in Nursing Science, 35(4), 315-332

Falk-Rafael, A. & Betker, C. (2012b). Witnessing social injustice downstream and advocating for health equity upstream: The “trombone slide of nursing.” Advances in Nursing Science, 35(2), 98-112.

Falk-Rafael, A.R. (In press). Critical Caring. In Smith, M. (Ed). Nursing Theory and Nursing Practice (6th ed.) F.A. Davis: Philadelphia



Adeline Falk-Rafael (1943 – )

Adeline Falk-Rafael

Dr. Falk-Rafael is a senior scholar at York University, School of Nursing in Toronto, Canada. During her career, she held a number of leadership positions, including Director of that School and President of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. Since 2004, her scholarship has focused on Critical Caring, a mid-range theory she originally developed for public health nursing.

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