For years, nurses have been studying Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring, pouring over her theory to learn how to keep caring as the essence of nursing. During the first week of the fall semester, the College of Nursing hosted Watson as part of the BSN Convocation. Throughout different opportunities during her visit, students and faculty were able to discuss theories with Watson and pose for photos with this living legend.
Watson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, is founder and director of the Watson Caring Science Institute. She was named a living legend by the American Academy of Nursing in 2013. At the University of Colorado Denver’s College of Nursing, Anschutz Medical Center, Watson was named a distinguished professor emerita and dean emerita. She is the recipient of 15 honorary doctorates, 12 of which are international.
Watson served as the keynote speaker for the second annual BSN convocation that brought all of the prelicensure students together to form a stronger identity as Gator Nurses. The purpose of the convocation was to remind students that nursing school is about more than classes, skills, tasks, competencies, assignments and tests. Watson spoke on “Beauty and Blessings” and advised all to “see the beauty of the spirit-filled person behind the disease, behind the diagnosis and behind the actions we may not approve of.”
To close her keynote speech, Watson lit a ceremonial candle that has been a part of her speeches all over the world. As she lit the candle, she told the audience to “pass on the light of nursing here today and decide how to continue to bring the light through your life and your practice.”
After the keynote, students heard advice and experience shared by a nursing panel that included Assistant Professor Lisa Scarton, PhD, BSN, who is a diabetes researcher and a member of the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma; postdoctoral associate Dany Fanfan, PhD, RN, who is a native of Haiti; and alumnus Rodney G.B. Clements, BSN, RN, CRNI, who is co-founder of the Florida Africa Foundation and a nurse infusionist. The panel spoke about the global community of nursing and shared their advice and experiences with people from differing backgrounds.