Term of Award

Summer 1993

Degree Name

Master of Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


School of Nursing

Committee Chair

Sara Connor

Committee Member 1

Camille P. Stern

Committee Member 2

Sharon Horner


Caring has been identified as the essence of nursing. Leininger (1988b, p. 3) even stated that "caring is nursing and nursing is caring." Caring has been studied from many different perspectives. Throughout the history of nursing the caring aspect has grown from a primarily caregiver role, to having a caring intersubjective relationship with the patient. Various studies have been conducted to try and identify which nursing behaviors make patients feel cared for. The purpose of this exploratory study was twofold: (a) to determine what were the most important nurse caring behaviors as perceived by both home care nurses and patients; and (b) to determine if there was a difference between the perceptions of nurses and patients regarding the most important nurse caring behaviors. A scaled questionnaire format of Larson's CARE-Q was utilized for this study. Demographic data was also collected on all participants. The subjects included 61 home care nurses and 52 home care patients. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the results. The results of this study indicated that both nurses and patients included both expressive and instrumental behaviors as most important. Nurses reported an expressive behavior, "listens to the patient," as the most important behavior while patients reported an instrumental behavior, "knows when to call the doctor," as most important. Within the top 10 most important nurse caring behaviors nurses (70%) and patients (80%) listed mostly expressive types of behaviors. Between the top 10 nurse caring behaviors for nurses and patients there were six behaviors common to both groups. Both nurses and patients ranked the category of "monitors and follows through" as the most important. Nurses and patients also shared seven of the ten (70%) least important nurse caring behaviors. Conclusions based on these results and recommendations for further research were suggested.


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