Caring represents a basic tenet of nursing that undoubtedly defines the profession. Yet, it remains a somewhat ambiguous term, with a plethora of different ways of conceptualizing it. Using the Walker and Avant methodology of a concept analysis, the internal structure and function of caring as a concept is explored within the context of healthcare for homeless. Research has shown that encounters between homeless population and nurses are not always positive. Faced with the inability to secure stable housing/employment and affected by chronic illnesses, limited access to healthcare, substance addiction and/or mental problems, most homeless persons are clearly disadvantaged. As a result, many homeless individuals feel unwelcomed when seeking healthcare. Homeless health care has to deal with many challenges as homeless individuals tend to experience feelings of disconnectedness and hopelessness. Therefore, it is important to revisit the concept of caring in order to demonstrate that the nurses have a clear potential to make an otherwise difficult situation of the homeless in U.S. today significantly more tolerable.
Key words: caring, homelessness, concept analysis