KM Swanson

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Kristen M. Swanson            




Kristen M. Swanson



Theory of Caring (1991)

Kristen M. Swanson,

Family and Child Nursing,
University of Washington.

Email Address: kswanson@u.washington.edu


Dr. Swanson has empirically developed a middle range theory of caring which she and others have replicated and/or tested with individuals, families, and groups experiencing a variety of health challenges.


A theory of caring and dementia. Muriel B. Ryden, PhD, RN. American Journal
of Alzheimer's Disease®July/August 1998;13(4): 203-207. (
1998 American Journal of Alzheimer's Disease Abstracts).
Abstract: This paper explores the applicability of Swanson's mid-range theory of caring to work with persons with dementing illness. The definition of caring and the caring process inductively derived by Swanson from research with samples of women in a perinatal context have relevance for both formal and informal caregivers of persons with dementia. The nature of severe dementia necessitates modifications in applying the theory. However, the well-being of this vulnerable population may be enhanced when practice and research are based on this rich conception of caring. This theory of caring provides structure to the sometimes amorphous characterization of an ethic of care and gives meaning and direction for work with persons affected by dementia.


# In Practice

Gail Anderson, a midwife on the midwife-led unit (MLU), Craigavon Area Hospital Group Trust, Northern Ireland presents a case study of a birth in the MLU where Swanson's theory of caring is utilised for the plan of care and its applicability to the care provided in the unit is discussed.

This theory of caring, as proposed by Swanson (1991), encapsulates the philosophy of the MLU. It moves away from the medical model that defines pregnancy as a pathological condition requiring medical intervention (Bryar, 1995) and the belief that birth is normal only in retrospect. The medical model stresses the structure and function of the body rather than the uniqueness of the individual.

Last Modified: Thursday May 20, 2010

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