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Department of Nursing; Gundersen Health System, Wisconsin, USA

Contributor: Danny Willis & Jill Blackbourn
September 14, 2018

Practice/Theory Exemplar (Watson Caring Science)

Main Site: La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA

Used by permission

Description of the setting


Key nurses involved in implementation

Denise Nicholson, BSN, RN, Nursing System Specialist, Caritas Coach, Advance Care Plan Facilitator, Registered and Certified Clinical Aromatherapist

Beth Smith-Houskamp, PhD, RN, Chief Nursing Officer, Administrative Chief Operating Officer

Theoretical Framework

Watson Caring Science is used to guide nursing practice and is infused throughout the system. Caritas is at the center of the professional practice model. Gundersen Health System is proud to be designated by Dr. Jean Watson as a National Watson Caring Science Partner of Watson Caring Science Institute.  Our Nursing Professional Framework – with Caritas as the foundation – supports, guides, strengthens and empowers our more than 2120 RNs, LPNs (NPs, CNMs, etc. as well) to evolve in their professions as individuals and as a whole.


Caritas and Healing Environment are foundational to the entire system. Some examples of this are:

Key Literature Sources:

Watson, J. (2008). Nursing: the philosophy and science of caring. Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.

Watson, J. (2005).  Caring science as sacred science.  Philadelphia, PA:  F.A. Davis Company.

Watson, J. (2010).  Postmodern nursing and beyond.  Boulder, CO:  Watson Caring Science Institute.

Watson Caring Science website

Approach to evaluation of outcomes:
Practice Recommendations: 

This has been approved by chief nursing officer with plan for two individuals to attend each year.

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