Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Constance Hill

Second Advisor

Karen Wayman

Third Advisor

Kathleen Bradley


Caring science, Pediatrics, Perceptions of caring, Nurse care, Medically complex


In a hospital system that transitioned from a non-caring science model to a professional practice model based on the Theory of Human Caring/Caring Science, it is important to measure the outcomes of the care delivery transition. In a non-experimental, cross-sectional, correlational, quantitative study the aim was to compare a pre/post-Caring Science model implementation at a pediatric and obstetric medical center, by assessing perceptions of caring in the medically complex pediatric population and in the nurses that care for them.

This study used a convenience sample of 102 pediatric families enrolled in a complex care program, and 23 nurses providing care to these families. The Caring Nurse Patient Interaction Scale-23 and the Watson Caritas Self-Rating Score, valid and reliable scales, were used to measure perceptions of caring. The results for the patient/family outcomes for the CNPI and the WCRS were statistically significant (CNPI: t(42) = -3.053, p < 0.004 and the WCRS: t(42)= -6.438, p<0.001) between the control and intervention groups. For the nurses pre post survey no statistical significance was found (CNPI: t(19) = -1.374, p < 0.186; WCRS: t(19) = 1.824, p < 0.085).

The family’s perception of the nurses caring behavior did change between the control group and the intervention group. For the nurse participants perceptions of caring did not change with the intervention. The impact of caring science on the pediatric population needs to be understood to improve perceptions of caring in the pediatric population.


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