Watson's Theory of Human Caring lends theoretical structure to nursing curricula grounded in Caring Science. A key principle within the theory is the caring trusting teacher-student relationship. This relationship can be threatened by the need to relay instructional feedback to students when performance has fallen below standards. The tension resulting from this exchange is uncomfortable to all concerned and can damage the relationship and lead to even worse student performance. Nursing literature has not reported studies addressing this problem. Communication studies have extensive reports of such research. Feedback Intervention Theory (FIT) is based on skilled facework to improve student outcomes and protect the caring trusting relationship. This theory had not been applied in a nursing educational setting. The purpose of this action research study was to explore the use of communication techniques based on FIT as a tool for nursing faculty to provide successful instructional feedback while protecting the integrity of the caring-trusting relationship between teacher and student. Study participants reported positive changes in their professional communication related to instructional feedback and changed the way such communication is delivered to students so that the culture of caring is supported.

Date of publication

Spring 5-6-2013

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Included in

Nursing Commons