Sara Horton-Deutsch, PhD, PMHCNS, RN, ANEF, joined the College of Nursing last year as the Watson Caring Science Endowed Chair. As Chair, Horton-Deutsch will continue to advance Distinguished Professor and Dean Emerita Jean Watson’s work in caring science, which has provided a meaningful philosophical foundation to nursing as a distinct discipline and profession, resulting in transformative 21st century models of professional nursing education, research, practice administration and delivery of person-centered health care.
Horton-Deutsch earned her PhD from Rush University in Chicago, completing psycho-neuro-immunology post-doctoral work at the same university. Previously a full professor at the Indiana University School of Nursing, she has experience in an administrative role as the interim department chair of the Department of Environments for Health at the same university. She is currently co-investigator of a funded research project titled "Advancing Multidisciplinary Education for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment" through the National Institute for Mental Health. She is the president elect of the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses.
Work in caring science has generally been focused on curative factors, or "caritas processes" in Watson’s words, that focus on how nurses practice to provide a healing environment for patients. Each of the 10 caritas processes represent reflective practices that nurses should participate in to provide that essential environment for patients. With her educational background in reflective practice, Horton-Deutsch brings a new level to Watson’s work in caring science: "I plan to work with others to build on the evolving science of human caring through education, practice and research," she says.
Caring science can help health care researchers become more effective in understanding and addressing patients’ needs across the lifespan, and the Watson Caring Science Endowed Chair is responsible for extending human caring science through theories and research methods. Horton- Deutsch is optimistic about the potential behind her field of study: "Embodying caring science is empowering and transformational."