For those interested in transpersonal human caring, or in relating to self and others with compassion, the Caring Science, Mindful Practice course will begin on January 9, 2019. This is a free, online course and those who fully participate in the course activities will be emailed a Certificate of Completion. You can register for the course here.

This review is based on my memory of the January 2018 iteration of the course. I wrote the review in appreciation of the course and of caring science.

About the course

The course was developed to help people integrate Jean Watson’s Caritas into daily life. Jean Watson is a nurse educator and founder of the Watson’s Caring Science Institute. The Caritas are principles for relating to self and others with compassion.

The course provides one or two short video tutorials each week. These tutorials address the Caritas and other elements of human caring. There is a weekly opportunity to reflect on the tutorials in writing or by creating an image that illustrates your response. Narrative reflections often took the form of a little story told – something that happened – with a comment on how a particular Caritas was in play, or how that Caritas would have made a difference to the outcome. If you wish to receive the certificate, you are also invited to provide affirmative responses to the reflections of other students. I found this took me about two to three pleasant hours per week.

Although the course was originally developed for nurses, I was welcomed as an academic librarian. I believe anyone who cares for others in any capacity and is willing to share their experiences will be welcomed into the course.

Positive aspects of the course

There are many positives to talk about, here are a few that have stuck in my mind.

  • The course is moderated by experienced volunteer tutors. Tutors play an active part in discussions and answer any questions.
  • The course practised what it taught: The tutors and participants created an inclusive, caring environment. The occasional raw story (nurses deal with a lot) was met with compassion and consideration.
  • The course provided a welcome opportunity to slow down and consider the Caritas and other teachings in the context of my life as an teacher, librarian, mum, sister, and partner.
  • The course seemed to accommodate people who speak English as an additional language. No one was precious about the technicalities of the English language, students were all free to express themselves in the various Forums. The videos were clear and could be re-watched if needed. (I am being circumspect here: I don’t want to speak for these students.)
  • It is a free course that provided genuine interaction and opportunities to communicate with other students and a Certificate of Completion. You do not need to pay for the Certificate (many online course charge extra for this).
  • The course is run annually: if you missed this year’s registration you can pop a note in your diary for next year.

Negative aspects of the course

There is only one negative I can think of. There was little opportunity for students to meet outside the course and continue their practice, online or face-to-face. I believe nurse participants are able to join another program for a reduced fee, and this may provide that continuity of practice.

Should you do the course?

If you are interested in compassion or nonviolence and would like an opportunity to explore these concepts with others – yes I would recommend it.

If you are a nurse, counsellor, teacher, or anyone who works with people and would like to try some additional tools to keep compassion alive in your work — you should definitely register 🙂

About the photo

This photo: Lighthouse represents the light of compassion, shining calm and steady over the people all night long.

Lighthouse was kindly shared by photographer John Curley on Flickr with the Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Thank you John!

Published by Rowena McGregor

I am an educator, librarian, & researcher interested in how a transpersonal approach can transform communication and create connections even when we are in conflict. I also love snails -- little metaphors I use to remind myself to take some time to dwell on an idea, to revisit it, to circle around it, for as long as I need before I 'get' it.

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