Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


The way patients view the care they receive has far reaching implications for the healthcare environment. Nurses need to know what constitutes caring behaviors for their patients. Because of nurses’ constant interaction with patients and families, nurses may play an important role in monitoring patients’ satisfaction. Satisfying patients is vital for healthcare agencies to survive in today’s competitive healthcare environment. This investigation used an expo factor design to partially replicate a study by Wolf et al. (1998) in order to explore the relationship between nurse caring behaviors and patient satisfaction. Jean Watson’s (1979) philosophy and science of caring framework guided this investigation. This investigation took place in a healthcare facility in a Midwestern rural community, unlike Wolf’s study that took place in an urban setting. Questionnaires were sent to 250 patients who had stayed at least one night in the healthcare facility. Sixty-eight patients (N=68) responded (27%). Patients’ perception of the most received nurse caring behaviors was measured. Data were obtained by using the Caring Behaviors Inventory (CBI) questionnaire and ranking the results in order. The highest scoring items on the CBI were (a) calling the patient by his/her preferred name, (b) being honest with the patient, (c) showing respect for the patient, (d) using a soft, gentle voice with the patient, and (e) demonstrating professional knowledge/skill. In addition what the patients rated as the highest indicators of patient satisfaction of the nursing care they received were measured. These results were obtained by using the Patient Satisfaction Instrument (PSI). The five highest scoring items were (a) the nurse is pleasant to be around, (b) a person feels free to ask the nurse questions, (c) the nurse is understanding in listening to a patients’ problem, (d) the nurse is skillful in assisting the doctor with procedures, and (e) the nurse gives good advice. The relationship between nurse caring behaviors and patient satisfaction was also explored. The results indicated there was a relationship between nursing caring behaviors and patient satisfaction (r=.83, p=.00). These findings suggest that like Wolf’s findings for an urban area, nurse caring behaviors in a rural setting relates to patient satisfaction. Information on nurse caring behaviors may help the nurse educator to define and explain to the student the importance of nurse caring behaviors and patient satisfaction. The use of the CBI and PSI questionnaires in various acute care settings, with nurses in actual practice situations could be used to communicate the value of caring to nurses and decision-makers. Educational sessions that encourage caring behaviors should be supported. Performance reviews should incorporate caring behavior as an expected standard of practice.


Eileen Deges Curl

Date of Award

Fall 2000

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 2000 Carol A. Groen


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