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Theory Of Caring

Introducing YVM's new Nursing Theory and Professional Practice Model

To all the nurses of Yakima Valley Memorial, we are adopting Swanson's Theory of Caring as our formal nursing theory and have updated our professional practice model to reflect this exciting change. By defining what we mean by "care" and "the professional practice of nurses", we help ourselves, patients, families, the full medical team and our community understand why there is no substitute for genuine nursing care. We are using these academic documents to magnify the never ending good work you do at the hospital bedside, in our clinics and in the community. To start this project, we asked a group of nurse leaders to record stories about their career, or a specific meaningful event and viewed how each unique story fit into the characteristics outlined in the Theory of Caring.

We invite you to explore the content below with the hope that it will help you relate to how these documents can help you in your daily routine of nursing, and especially in those defining moments of your career.

Learn more about the "Structure of Caring" »

The Theory of Caring

Nursing theories can help nurses set healthy boundaries as we provide care in an ever-evolving profession that has us working squarely in the middle of a stranger's stressful journey through the healthcare system. The specific challenges of our profession have been well documented in the article entitled "Nurses' perceived and actual caregiving roles: identifying factors that can contribute to job satisfaction". Ask yourself, as a nurse do you know how to set appropriate boundaries when you provide care for a patient, family member, or yourself in order to keep yourself from exhaustion or burnout? Do you feel that your definition of "care" mirrors the expectations of your patients, managers, organization and yourself?

Get to know our new nursing theory's definition of "caring" and the five characteristics of caring by reading this article and listening to the stories of the YVM nurses below.


A nurturing way of relating to a valued other toward whom one feels a personal sense of commitment and responsibility.

Being With

Being emotionally present to the other.

Maintain Belief

Sustaining faith in the other's capacity to get through an event or transition and face a future with meaning.


Striving to understand an event as it has meaning in the life of the other.

Doing For

Doing for the other as he/she would do for the self if it were at all possible.


Facilitating the other's passage through life transitions and unfamiliar events.

The Professional Practice Model

The Professional Practice Model

Nursing theories describe the abstract reasons why we do what we do. A professional practice model, on the other hand, outlines exactly how a nurse can bring about change in their organization to ensure they are able to give care in healthy ways for themselves and their patients. One way to understand why we need professional practice models is to read about the state of the profession in countries that do not have them. Within this article nurses reported a lack of opportunities for career advancement, a lack of opportunities to participate in policy decision making, a perception that their chief nursing officers did not have equal standing with other high level hospital executives, and the expectations to perform tasks outside their scope of practice when medical providers were short staffed.

Our revised Professional Practice Model defines our perfect state in terms of our professional values, professional relationships with each other and the healthcare team, management approach, professional culture, new care delivery system and our compensation/reward profile. When you identify an opportunity for improvement or an ethical dilemma in practice, we ask that you refer to this document as a resource to help YVM get closer to our defined "perfect state" in the mechanics of nursing care.

Professional Values »

Professional Relationships »

Management Approach »

Care Delivery System »

Professional Culture »


YVM has determined that nurses will receive monetary compensation for the time they attend Shared Leadership meetings and projects, and non-monetary compensation for their commitment to excel through the Inspire Program and the achievement of their SMART goals.

Smart Goals

Inspire »

We Want To Tell Your Story...

Every YVM nurse has a story to tell, and we built this webpage to tell yours:

  • When have you been/how have you become the nurse you always wanted to be?
  • How do you express to patients/families that you care for them or for their outcomes?
  • How do you express to your co-workers or to yourself as a nurse that you care for them/you?
  • What does/has the nursing field mean(t) to you?

We are looking for stories that are 4 minutes or less, are free from patient identifiers and have minimal background noise. Tell your story solo or with a friend. Contact (socialmedia@yvmh.org) in Communications to either set up a time to record your story in the sound booth, or send him an email of your story via a voice recorder/memo app. If you type up your story before you record please send us a copy of your transcript so we can post that, as well.

Yakima Valley Memorial patient stories

Patient Stories

Yakima Valley Memorial has been providing care to members of our community for 70 years.

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