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Tree of Caring Knowledge

ABI TreeConsider the simple, yet beautiful, manifestation of a tree. The tree is often used as a metaphor to symbolize wholeness, life, love and transformation. For the Anne Boykin Institute for the Advancement of Caring in Nursing, the tree depicts caring knowledge as the basis for nursing education, practice and research. We understand that caring science can be represented in various unique ways. We present to you our view of the Tree of Caring Knowledge recognizing that it is dynamic and constantly unfolding. Concepts in this description include the soil, roots, trunk, branches, and the circles and star on the Tree. We invite your responses and insights.

The soil provides the nourishment for continual growth. The soil is a broad picture of the science of knowing including all ways of knowing, nursing situations (the shared, lived experience of caring between the nurse and one nursed), and the community of caring scholars. It is the deliberate conscious commitment to nursing science with the understanding that to be human is to be caring. It symbolizes life and hope.

The roots, firmly planted in the soil, provide stability for the growth of caring knowledge. They represent the philosophies and foundational works that ground grand theories.

The trunk in its sturdiness and stateliness protects the vital functions of the tree, developing knowledge of caring and advancing caring science. It represents the discipline of nursing and the continual evolution of caring science including grand theories.

The branches—ever extending toward the light—bring life to the leaves and fruit. The branches which often overlap represent the many types of caring knowledge:

        Caring and the discipline of nursing
        Philosophical reflections of caring
        Concept analyses of caring
        Theoretical perspectives on caring
        Seminal research studies related to caring
        Research designs and methods for studying caring
        Caring and evidence-based practice
        Caring-based ethics
        Caring and aesthetics
        Nursing practice models grounded in caring
        The relationship of caring to community, health policy and the environment
        Caring leadership and administration
        Caring pedagogy
        Caring and technology
        Caring and education

The circles on the tree represent process and movement. They illustrate the interconnectivity of the branches, the dynamic whole, and complexity.

The star in the center of the tree represents health and well-being, the goal of nursing grounded in caring.