Anne Boykin & Savina Schoenhofer - Nursing As Caring

The theory of Nursing As Caring is a general or grand nursing theory that can be used as a framework to guide nursing practice. The theory is grounded in several key assumptions:

  1. persons are caring by virtue of their humanness
  2. persons live their caring moment to moment
  3. persons are whole or complete in the moment
  4. personhood is living life grounded in caring
  5. personhood is enhanced through participating in nurturing relationships with caring others
  6. nursing is both a discipline and a profession (Boykin & Schoenhofer, 2001, p.11).


The most basic premise of the theory is that all humans are caring persons, that to be human is to be called to live one's innate caring nature. Developing the full potential of expressing caring is an ideal and for practical purposes, is a lifelong process. (Extract taken from: Nursing As Caring - A Brief Overview of The Theory of Nursing As Caring (Boykin & Schoenhofer))


Boykin, A. (1994). Living a caring-based program. National League for Nursing.

Boykin, A. (1995). Power, politics and public policy: A matter of caring. National League of Nursing.

Boykin, A., & Schoenhofer, S. (1990). Caring in nursing: Analysis of extant theory. Nursing Science Quarterly, 3(4), 149-155.

Boykin, A., & Schoenhofer, S. O. (1993). Nursing as caring: A model for transforming practice. National League of Nursing Publications.

Boykin, A., & Schoenhofer, S. (1997). Reframing outcomes: Enhancing personhood. Advanced Practice Nursing Quarterly, 3(1), 60–65.

Boykin, A., & Schoenhofer, S. (2000). Is there really time to care? Nursing Forum, 35(4), 36-38.

Boykin, A., & Schoenhofer, S. (2001). The role of nursing leadership in creating caring environments in health care delivery systems. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 25(3), 1-7.

Boykin, A., Schoenhofer, S., Smith, N., St. Jean, J., & Aleman, D. (2003). Transforming practice using a caring-based nursing model. Nursing Administration Quarterly27(3), 223-230.

Boykin, A., Schoenhofer, S., & Valentine, K. (2013). Health care system transformation for nursing and health care leaders: Implementing a culture of caring. Springer.

Boykin, A., & Winland-Brown, J. (1995). The dark side of caring: Challenges of caregiving. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 21(5), 13-18.

Bulfin, S., & Mitchell, G. J. (2005). Nursing as caring theory: Living care in practice. Nursing Science Quarterly, 18(4), 313-319.

Dyess, S., Boykin, A., & Rigg, C. (2010). Integrating caring theory with nursing practice and education: connecting with what matters. Journal of Nursing Administration40(11), 498-503. doi:10.1097/NNA.0b013e3181f88b96

Dyess, S. M., Boykin, A., & Bulfin, M. J. (2013). Hearing the voice of nurses in caring theory-based practice. Nursing Science Quarterly26(2), 167-173. doi:10.1177/0894318413477138

Gaut, D. A.,& Boykin, A. (1994). Caring as healing: Renewal through hope. National League of Nursing.

McCance, T. V., McKenna, H. P., & Boore, J. R. P. (1999). Caring: Theoretical perspectives of relevance to nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 30(6), 1388-1395.

Pross, E., Boykin, A., Hilton, N., & Gabuat, J. (2010). A study of knowing nurses as caring. Holistic Nursing Practice24(3), 142-147. doi:10.1097/HNP.0b013e3181dd47bc

Pross, E., Hilton, N., Boykin, A., & Thomas IV, C. (2011). The “dance of caring persons.” Nursing Management42(10), 25-30. doi:10.1097/01.NUMA.0000405223.39798.e1

Schoenhofer, S. O. (1984). Support as legitimate nursing action. Nursing Outlook, 32(4), 218-219.

Schoenhofer, S. O. (1989). Affectional touch in critical care nursing: A descriptive study. Heart & Lung: Journal of Critical Care, 18(2), 146-154.

Schoenhofer, S. (1989). Love, beauty, and truth: Fundamental nursing values. Journal of Nursing Education, 28(8), 382-384.

Schoenhofer, S. (1994). Transforming visions for nursing in the timeworld of Einstein's Dreams. Advances in Nursing Science, 16(4), 1-8.

Schoenhofer, S. O., & Boykin, A. (1993). Nursing as caring: An emerging general theory of nursing. In M. E. Parker (Ed.), Patterns of nursing theories in practice (pp. 83-92). National League of Nursing.

Schoenhofer, S. O., & Boykin, A. (1998). Discovering the value of nursing in high-technology environments: Outcomes revisited. Holistic Nursing Practice, 12(4), 31-39.

Touhy, T., & Boykin, A. (2008). Caring as the central domain in nursing education. International Journal for Human Caring12(2), 8-15