Abstract: This paper explores the personal nursing philosophy I plan to convey in my nursing career. I believe the nature of nursing is rooted in a commitment to public service and the undeniable desire to help those in need. Nursing is more than treating an illness; rather it is focused on delivering quality patient care that is individualized to the needs of each patient. My philosophy of nursing incorporates the knowledge of medicine while combining it with relational, compassionate caring that respects the dignity of each patient.
I believe nursing care should be holistic while honoring patient values. A crucial aspect of nursing is interprofessional relationships, and collaborative efforts among healthcare professionals promote quality patient care. My philosophy of nursing extends to my community in which health promotion is something I will continually strive for.
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Personal Philosophy of Nursing. For as long as I can remember I have been overwhelmed with a longing desire to care for those in need, and I feel this ultimately led me to the career choice of nursing. I feel most fulfilled when I am serving and caring for others, and my personal nursing attitude is one that is centered on compassion and service. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (2012), a philosophy is “an analysis of the grounds of and concepts expressing fundamental beliefs,” and before entering the profession of nursing, it is important to explore my personal values and principles that will guide my nursing practice.
My philosophy of nursing incorporates the knowledge of medicine while combining it with relational, compassionate caring that respects the dignity of each patient. My philosophy is one that focuses on the empowerment of each patient in the delivery of holistic nursing care. This paper will explore the values I feel are necessary for relating to patients as well as health professionals, my personal work culture, and society as a whole.
Personal Philosophy. The Nature of Nursing. The nature of nursing is something that cannot be simplified into one word or phrase. Nursing is more than a profession; it is more than treating those who are ill, rather it is a model of care and service to others, and it is continually evolving. The nature of nursing revolves around a commitment to public service and an undeniable desire to help those in need. It is my belief that crucial aspects of nursing include the prevention of illness, the treatment of the ill, and the promotion of health, as well as caring for clients.
Caring acknowledges what is important to the patient (Austgard, 2006), and I feel this shapes the delivery of nursing care. I believe to say that caring is not intertwined with nursing is to say that breathing has nothing to do with oxygen; for the two go hand and hand, and nursing would not be what it is without its aspect of caring, just like breathing would not be possible without oxygen. The nature of nursing should revolve around respect for each patient and the reverence for human dignity.
The nature of nursing is also rooted in science and medical knowledge. It is the goal to prevent illness and treat those who are ill, and this requires a base level of medical knowledge to make nursing care possible. Since the medical field is something that is continually evolving, nurses must keep up to date with the current best practices and delivery of patient care. Nursing is a process that requires continual research and learning.
Nursing and Patient Care. In regards to nursing and patient care, my philosophy of nursing focuses on holistic, patient-centered care, as well as a caring and compassionate patient relationship. A holistic view of the patient allows the nurse to connect with patients on a relational level in which nurses get to understand the values of patients, and this kind of practice separates physician care from nursing care. “Holism involves studying and understanding the interrelationships of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions of the person, recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” (Dossey, 2010, p.14), meaning holistic nursing is not only concerned with a patient’s physical well being, but it also concerned with patient’s emotional, spiritual, and mental well being.
Nurses, by nature, are concerned with a patient’s comfort, for “comfort remains a substantive need throughout life and, as such, should be considered an indispensable constituent of holistic nursing care,” (Malinowski & Stamler, 2002). Patients who feel comfortable cope better with their illness and have faster rates of healing than those patients who admit to being uncomfortable (Malinowski & Stamler, 2002) and as a nurse, it is my goal to make sure my patient is physically comfortable as well as mentally and emotionally comfortable. It is my mission to make my care centered on the patient’s needs and wishes. I believe it is important for patients to be informed and be active in their care, and I hope to have a collaborative relationship with my patients so that their needs and wants are met.
I want my personal nursing to revolve around building a trusting and caring relationship with patients because “to establish a trusting relationship is necessary in order to see the situation from the patient’s perspective and an absolute prerequisite for acknowledging and realizing a patient’s values,” (Austgard, 2006, p.16). I value what is important to each patient, and even if his or her wishes are something I personally disagree with, it is still my moral and ethical responsibility to treat the personal needs of my patient and work for the best possible outcome.
Nursing and Healthcare Professionals. Not only is nursing concerned with patient relationships, but also it involves relations with many other health care professionals as well, for nursing care could not be effective would not effective without the help of other health care professionals. In the past, health care relationships stemmed from the hierarchal basis, and communication took place on a vertical level, but with health care delivery evolving, interdisciplinary teamwork has become a prominent aspect of inpatient care. As a nurse, I desire to have an open, honest, and effective relationship with other health care professionals while keeping the patient’s needs and wishes as to the driving force for care.
Communication is a key element in any relationship and it is essential in health care relationships. Interprofessional collaborative practice has shown to improve patient outcomes and retention of medical staff (Wood, Flavell, Vanstolk, Bainbridge, & Nasmith, 2009), this collaboration is something I feel is critical for my nursing practice. I would like for my relationship with other health care professionals to be one of collaboration, rather than competition.
“Health professionals must be able to work in collaborative practice models such as interprofessional teams in order to ensure consistent, continuous and reliable care,” (Wood et al., 2009) and this supports the notion that interprofessional teamwork in nursing care is essential for the best patient care. I feel that effective patient care and positive patient outcomes should be the driving force behind interprofessional health care relationships.
Nursing and Work Culture. Work culture is the attitude and personality of a hospital unit, and I feel that work culture can significantly influence patient care delivery. My preferred work culture would be one consisting of interprofessional collaboration, open communication, and positive attitudes. Teamwork is an essential component of nursing, and I would like to work on a unit in which teamwork is valued and put into practice. Communication is critical for positive work culture, and I personally would like a culture in which the opinion of the staff is encouraged and valued. It is my philosophy that a positive work culture will positively affect patient morale, and this contributes to better patient outcomes. Nursing and the Environment and Society
As a nurse, I feel as though my responsibility to the health and safety of others goes farther than the hospital or the clinic I work in. “Nursing has a disciplinary goal to contribute to the health of individuals and the overall health of society,” (McCurry, Revell & Roy, 2009) and I believe nurses are obligated to promote health in their communities and nationwide. Since my philosophy of nursing is more than a profession and that is something that is focused on the commitment to public service, it would be unethical for me to ignore the health care needs of my community. As a nurse, it is very important that I aid in addressing the healthcare needs of my personal community and environment as well as society as a whole. I feel as though it is my duty and responsibility to take an active role in healthcare issues in the country, including issues such as smoking cessation and primary prevention of health care.
I personally would like to be a resource for my environment and take a role in health promotion throughout society. Nurses across the nation should take an active role in promoting health across the nation in working for the safety of all individuals. Not only do I feel as though it is important to focus on my community, but I also feel responsible for helping those who have limited healthcare access, especially those in underprivileged areas of the world. I desire to take part in medical trips overseas to promote health education and wellness in areas where this information is limited.
The vision of Personal Nursing Practice. My vision for nursing practice focuses on what is doing what is most beneficial to my patient. I hope to build caring, trusting relationships with my patients as well as play a positive role in their health outcomes. No two patients will ever be the same, and my vision is to individualize care for each of my patients so their personal, emotional, and physical needs can be met. I always want to value each patient as an individual and respect his or her needs and dignity. My goal is to empower each patient to be active in their care in hopes of improving patient outcomes. Personally, I would like to continue to practice nursing care that is congruent with the best evidence to date and continue to research and discover better ways of doing things. My vision of my nursing practice is to deliver quality and reliable patient care while promoting health in my community.
Conclusion. Through this philosophy paper, I have explored what nursing truly means to me, and have become more aware of the principles I value for clinical practice. I value holistic nursing and want to value each patient as an individual with varying needs. Respect for every patient is essential in preserving a patient’s dignity. My goal is for the patient to always be the focus of care and to make sure the patient’s values are understood. Interprofessional collaboration is an aspect I hope to implement in my nursing practice in order to better serve my patients. I desire to work in a healthy working environment in which open communication is encouraged. Nursing is something I plan to extend beyond the hospital in an effort to improve the health of my community and the country as a whole. This information and these personal values will serve as a guide for my personal standards of nursing practice.
A personal nursing philosophy involves contemplations of one’s beliefs, principles, and values with direct practice. My personal philosophy began with attempting to answer some questions, such as, “what does nursing mean to me,” and “what is guiding my practice.” In order to define my personal philosophy of nursing, I will address some of the key concepts of my theory, the four meta-paradigms of nursing, the nursing process, the application of my philosophy to my present nursing practice, research, administrations, and education, and finally, my philosophy’s strengths and limitations.
- Key Concepts of my Nursing Philosophy.
My nursing philosophy is characterized by holistic, empathetic, and culturally sensitive care to all my patients and their relatives. It is essential to me to be a patient advocate, provider, teacher, manager, and leader because I think that we as nurses should deliver the highest quality nursing care in order to accomplish excellence in patient outcomes. To me, nursing is about compassion and trying to understand human beings on all emotional, physical, and scientific levels. As a professional nurse, I feel a personal commitment toward life-long learning, through formal education and hands-on experience to better myself and my nursing knowledge.
- Meta-paradigms Concepts
My personal nursing philosophy characterizes the discipline of nursing using the four meta-paradigms concepts: person, environment, health, and nursing. First of all, I believe that the profession of nursing is all about people. Care involves the whole patient and not just a single illness or health concern treated in isolation from the whole. Our holistic perspectives consider all facets of a patient’s life and facilitate optimum quality of life for our patients. Secondly, while human beings are central to nursing, it is also necessary to look beyond the patient to the environment in which he/she lives. This is very important because people are members of a larger community with different features and characteristics that influence greatly our patients, so we cannot separate patients from their environment because they are interrelated. Third, I believe that health is a dynamic state that exists on a continuum from wellness to illness and shifts in response to environmental factors.
Health is more about quality of life. I work in a hospital where I routinely encounter patients that have experienced trauma in their lives or suffer from multiple chronic and acute physical and mental health conditions. Lastly, I think that nursing involves being with individual patients or communities and being engaged at the moment. Each day we as nurses encounter different situations that require our ability to make meaning of a patient’s situation, such as, attaching significance to those things that can be felt, observed, heard, touched, smelled, or imagined to our subjective interaction with patients. This process of being engaged in meaningful relationships requires we as nurses to be actively involved.
- The Nursing Process
The nursing process uses holistic, patient-focused care, and a problem-solving approach in relationship with patients and their families. Every person has different needs, and thus requires a different plan of action. Care must be planned according to each person or persons involved, which is why we use the nursing process. This system helps us better organize a plan that will accommodate the needs of our patients. While we often assume a nurse only works with an individual, we forget that as nurses our role is to help families and those in the community as well. We can provide direct care to our patients, and use indirect care for families and communities. The nursing process is an excellent way of catering to each patient’s specific needs.
The first step in delivering nursing care is assessment. This is a systematic and dynamic way to collect and analyze data about the patient. Secondly, the nursing diagnosis is the nurse’s clinical judgment about the client’s response to actual or potential health conditions or needs. The diagnosis reflects not only that the patient is in pain, but that the pain has caused other problems such as anxiety, poor nutrition, and conflict within the family, or has the potential to cause complications-for example, respiratory infection is a potential hazard to an immobilized patient.
The diagnosis is the basis for the nurse’s care plan. Third, based on the assessment and diagnosis, the nurse sets measurable and achievable short- and long-range goals for this patient that might include moving from a bed to chair at least three times per day; maintaining adequate nutrition by eating smaller, more frequent meals; resolving conflict through counseling, or managing pain through adequate medication. Then, the implementation takes place. Nursing care is implemented according to the care plan, so continuity of care for the patient during hospitalization and in preparation for discharge needs to be assured. Finally, the evaluation concludes this process. Both the patient’s status and the effectiveness of the nursing care must be continuously evaluated, and the care plan modified as needed.
- Application to Current Nursing Practice, Research, Administration, and Education
My personal belief system has always been to be compassionate and caring. In the nursing profession, you need to have an overwhelming amount of compassion and caring for your patients and their families. You are not only caring for the patient’s physical health but also their emotional needs. For example, I work on the telemetry and med surgical floor where sometimes I take care of chronically ill patients, and there are a lot of complicated emotional issues that need to be recognized and addressed by the health care professional. I found that these patients, once you build a rapport and trust, are the more humble and neat patients to work with.
We spend a lot of our time just talking to them about life and their interests and although we are still taking care of their medical needs, we are supporting them emotionally more often than not. In order to do this kind of nursing, you must have a lot of empathy and compassion. In addition, we need to take a closer look at our society and the main health care issues we are seeing. It is important that we research health problems such as health problems that our patients are presenting. The leading causes of death in this country are diseases or conditions that are lifestyle choices. We need to concentrate on the wellness of the population, instead of being treatment orientated as a health care system. If, as nurses, we are successful in health promotion teaching, then we are doing our jobs to the best of our abilities.
- Strengths and Limitations
No individual is perfect in this world; however, God has blessed everyone with unique strengths that can be used effectively to avoid drawbacks of weaknesses and live a successful life. I think I have a number of strengths that have allowed me to prove myself as one of the best in the nursing field. Self-confidence is an important strength that supported me in accepting challenges throughout my career and goals were achieved through a self-disciplined and emotional maturity, which is one of my other imperative strengths. On the other hand, it is very important that an individual should incorporate her weaknesses in such a way that it may turn into strengths.
Similarly, I am very altruistic, which often seems like a weakness in this rational and materialistic world. However, all these strengths and weaknesses have made me a stable and realistic nurse, who can bring some change in this profession. I have been practicing nursing for one year and cherished dealing with different patients. Now it is my utmost desire to continue my learning process. Since I know that I have a passion for souls, to cater for them physically and in all areas of life, I can achieve this effect as a registered nurse.
As nursing progresses into the 21st century there is some suggestion that survival and advancement of the discipline require the increased engagement of practicing nurses in utilizing and developing specifically nursing knowledge (Cody, 2006; Fawcett, 2006; Silva, 2006). Perhaps a beginning point may be developing a personal nursing philosophy that focuses on areas distinct to nursing as this enables reflection on understanding relationships between personal philosophical thought as related to current issues in the field (DeKeyser & Medoff-Cooper, 2009; Schlotfeldt, 2006). The goal of this paper was to discuss each component of my personal nursing philosophy in relation, how I arrived at my belief, how I encountered each in my practice and how each may facilitate my personal contribution to the current body of nursing knowledge.
My personal philosophy of nursing incorporates components of the traditional nursing metaparadigm (Monti & Tingen, 2006) while also incorporating the concept of social justice proposed by Schim, Benkert, Bell, Walker, and Danford (2006). I believe that nursing is a discipline that encompasses four integral attributes (1) the person, (2) society, (3) health, and (4) nursing which I have discussed in relation to current literature on nursing, using examples from my own nursing experience, including an explanation of how some have allowed me to contribute to the development of nursing knowledge.
Nursing is a science in which all the needs of a person are met through the proper use of the nursing process. With health care as a universal human right, it encompasses a process that involves collaborative care of people of all ages and communities in all settings. Nursing is essential in promoting health, prevention of illness, care of the sick, and disabled people in society. Nursing advocates for the promotion of a safe environment, research, shaping health policies, education, and patient health management systems. The philosophy of nursing examines the truths and ideas in nursing. It is the result of the intellectual effort to understand the relationship between people, the environment, and health.
The nursing profession majorly focuses on using the element of caring, to improve the health of people within their environments. An essential theory in nursing enhances better health care offered to the patients, better communication between nurses, and proper guidance, for research and education. In general, nursing theories are used by practitioners to improve their practice. The nursing paradigms are patterns that are used to show the relationship between the concepts in the theories and practice of nursing. They are essential in developing a better understanding of the nursing profession. The meta-paradigm concept in nursing is a core-unifying element that provides a common and conducive ground for communicating between nursing theories.
The nursing meta-paradigm involves research, practice, philosophy, theory, knowledge base, and the wider educational experience associated with the nursing practice. There are four concepts in the nursing theory that highly influence and determine the nursing practice that includes the person, the environment, health, and the nursing roles, goals, and functions (Rich, 2011). The person is the recipient of the care and in most cases is the patient. This care may be given to people, families, and communities. The environment includes the external and internal aspects that influence the person.
Philosophy in nursing stems from providing competent and optimal care to patients and communities. These values are the stepping stones to be a successful nurse. In my short few months as an RN, my focus is on delivering quality care to my patients. I will be discussing the essence of nursing, my beliefs and values, and my vision for the future.
- Choice of Nursing
I decided to pursue nursing as a profession because of my innate nature to care for other individuals. As a nurse, my care for my patients can be depicted as emotional and physical engagement to deliver positive outcomes and experiences. It is a profession that tailors to the needs of others by developing a therapeutic and quality relationship. The second reason for pursuing a nursing degree was the multiple career paths that the profession offers. As a nurse, I have opportunities to explore other avenues of the profession. I can continue to work as a bedside nurse by providing direct care for my patients or seek specific skills through certifications or areas of medicine. Additionally, with continue higher levels of education, I can pursue advanced practice roles.
- Essence of Nursing
The core of nursing is based on providing compassionate care for each patient. I think this belief should encompass all of the nursing because it creates optimal healing for patients. Through caring, the nurse illustrates a genuine practice and respectable communicable relationship with the patient. The overall effect of caring increases the quality of patient care builds trust and increases outlook on their recovery. Jean Watson, an American theorist, introduced The Theory of Human Caring. In her theory, she outlines “10 carative factors” (Chitty and Black, 2007) that promote a holistic practice of care. Watson viewed caring as the essence of nursing. According to Watson, the role of a nurse is to establish a caring relationship with the patients by engaging and communicating. It promotes a bond and trust between patient and nurse.
- Beliefs and Values
I believe patients come into the hospital seeking healing or recovery from illness. As a result, patients placed their trust and faith into the health professionals. As a nurse, it is vital that their trust is respected, valued, and kept to the best of our ability. Patients require their nurses to appropriately address their needs and speak up when they can not do it for themselves. I believe the patient’s family and significant others play an important role in a patient’s care during and following illness or hospitalization. Their role may be to reinforce the teachings demonstrated or provide direct care to the patient at home. Additionally, family members can be valuable in collaborating in the plan of treatment for the patients. They can provide health information about the patient that the health care provider can utilize to appropriately address the needs of the patient.
In the hospital that I am employed, the health care providers believe positive patient outcome involves a nurse’s collaboration to deliver patient care. Each health care personnel have one common goal, which is the well being of the patient. I believe the health care providers know that nurses are essential to their decision. As a result, they communicate with nurses for their inputs and feedbacks. There is no power struggle. I believe that my own health is overall good. I rarely get sick but when I do, I seek the treatments. I make sure I follow the preventive wellness checkup yearly. Overall, I take charge of my health. I attempt to make healthy decisions on a daily basis. I believe in taking care of the mind, body, and soul. It is my responsibility to be an example for my patients and my family. As a nurse, I believe I should be a role model for my patients.
- Vision for the future
In two years, I hope to have completed my BSN and be a competent ICU nurse. I hope to have obtained enough skills and knowledge that I have confidence in myself and my abilities to fully care for my patients. Also, I hope to take on new challenges and be able to manage the complex patient. Along with taking care of patients on ECMO. Hopefully, being competent enough to be ECMO certified and CCRN certification. Within five years, I hope to be exploring other avenues of nursing. I hope to do some travel nursing across Texas and maybe explore other states. I am hoping I married with a child, so possible stepping away from ICU bedside nursing and trying some procedural areas.
After I have fulfilled my exploration, I would go back to school to obtain a master’s in nursing. I am unsure if I want to pursue Acute Care or Family Practice. In tens of years, I hope to have completed by master’s and working decent hours in the week to provide for family and still be present in their lives. I may investigate sub-specializing in other areas of the population, such as labor and delivery or pediatrics. I may possibly continue to advance my career my obtaining a Doctor of Nursing Practice or Doctor of Philosophy degree.
What strengths do you have that will support the achievement of your professional goals? My strengths included my will power and my resilience. During my journey to obtain my RN degree, I faced obstacles, adversities, and stress. But, I did not let these threats derailed my end goal. I was able to overcome them and use the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. My most important strength is my faith. The foundation of all my goals is faith.
What limitations will you need to overcome to achieve your professional goals? On the contrary, I think my impatience and lack of support will be a factor in achieving my professional goals. Currently, I am not married or have kids. My only responsibility is myself. My main focus is to achieve all my professional goals before I settle down. I worry that when I start a family my priorities towards my professional goals will change.
My nursing philosophy is primarily one of a holistic concern and providing empathetic and sensitive health care to the sick and their immediate families. To me, serving as a dedicated nurse is a way of giving back to society what it deserves, because I believe proper healthcare is the foundation of every development in society. Nursing is a profession with practitioners who are compassionate, courteous, patient, and hold a high sense of dignity and integrity, more so to those they are serving (Dossey, Keegan, American Holistic Nurse’s Association 103-105).
As a result, these beliefs, to be offering the highest quality of nursing care, being sympathetic, and providing a favorable healing environment are three of the greatest goals of my career. As healthcare agents, although it is hard to meet every patient’s expectations, I believe it is important for nurses to make an effort and accommodate their patients’ problems and sacrifice their best for the wellbeing of their clients and other members of the medical fraternity. Therefore, nurses must always endeavor to have good communication skills, the required skill proficiency, and apply a high level of creative and critical thinking when executing their duties.
Moreover, because nursing is an evidence-based profession that requires a proper understanding of human health problems, I hold a personal obligation toward continuous learning, research work, and hands-on experience to improve my nursing skills. Although continuous learning and having the desired level of skill proficiency is important for nurses, the use of common sense in making the right decisions is one of the prerequisites to succeeding in this profession. Therefore, there is a need for nurses to execute all their duties with absolute care, as this is one of the primary methods of ensuring that they win the confidence of their patients.
One thing nurses should always bear in mind before handling any health matters that pertain to their patients is that patients have entrusted their “delicate” lives in their hands; hence, the need to ensure patients are satisfied physically and emotionally (World Health Organisation; Western pacific region 1). To achieve this, wellness and collaboration should be the two primary elements of any nursing philosophy. Wellness is not only a state of being physically okay but also it encompasses spiritual and emotional wellbeing.
Thus, for a patient to be termed as being okay, patients should be able to accept their state of mind by formulating appropriate coping mechanisms with the effects that come with their ailments. On the other hand, collaboration means the ability of a patient to work confidently with nurses through the two developing a relationship that is beneficial to the patient. Finally, because diseases are never selective on individuals they attacks, I believe there is a need for nurses to accept the diversity of patients they treat regardless of their race, class, gender, and degree of sickness.
Although I know at one point making my philosophy practical will be a challenging task, because of the ever-changing roles of nurses, at all times I am always ready to accommodate any changes associated with my profession. In addition, because the responsibilities and demands of the nursing profession are numerous, there is a need for nurses to work hard, be persistent, and always sacrifice all that is at their disposal for the healthy wellbeing of society.
Philosophy is defined as the study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge; embracing and seeking wisdom through reason and the logical presentation of ideas. This concept, I believe, is to strip an idea down to its fundamental basis or theory, analyzing cause rather than effect, then through investigation and exercise, begin to find understanding. When this concept is applied to an existing practice, all parties benefit from an equal and larger pool of knowledge. As a nurse, I see firsthand how philosophy applies to my profession.
How do we define nursing as a practice? After reviewing many journals and textbooks, I found one statement that defines nursing as I see it. Ramona T. Mercer, who is known for her Maternal Role Attainment theory, states that the three major foci for nursing are, “health promotion and prevention of illness, providing care for those who need professional assistance to achieve their optimal level of health and functioning, and research to enhance the knowledge base for providing excellent nursing care.” (Alligood, 2009, p.586) I believe that these three applications stem from the following ideals: family values, happiness, sense of accomplishment, honesty, and responsibility. In order to succeed in these applications, there must be a balance between practice and concern.
There are three major branches of philosophy, natural philosophy, metaphysical philosophy, and moral philosophy. When speaking of nursing philosophy, it is the moral aspect that comes into play most, driving guiding, and defining the practice. This paper will address the theme of the Philosophy of Nursing. I will define nursing as a whole and discuss its primary goals, discuss the aspect of nursing as an art or science, and introduce the theory and how it pertains to the philosophy of nursing. I will then discuss how this philosophy relates to me, how my morals and ethics are shaped by not only knowledge but belief as well.
Primary Goal of Nursing. Nursing is a profession steeped in rich values based on the work of Florence Nightingale. This profession has not degraded over time due to the character of the individuals that commit to this career. It is reasonable to think that each of us chose nursing because of some key beliefs or values that we possessed. These values and beliefs ultimately guide us in formulating our own definition of nursing and what we believe to be its primary goal. Friberg (2011) related to this quote from Florence Nightingale (1860) “put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him”.
This essence of nursing practice continues to be reflected in contemporary nursing. My personal goal in nursing is to give the greatest care to the best of my ability to a patient and his family. To do this, I make a commitment on my part to keep myself up to date with new technologies, evidence-based research, and new protocols, and, to trust in my moral philosophy and beliefs in order to put these tools to best use.
Nursing is an Art and a Science. Scholars have debated for years over the perception of nursing as an art or a science. Those closer to the field see nursing more as an art form; working through medium, process, and product. Those who look at nursing from the outside, however, tend to view nursing more of a science; practice through systematized knowledge and exercise. For much of the history of nursing, the argument has stemmed from the idea of which practice is most beneficial. First, let’s address nursing as an art. The pioneer’s theorists such as Florence Nightingale are referenced as practicing the art of nursing as it pertains to compassion, feelings, trust, and performing tasks with skills.
Each of this ideal is a foundation to the next; without caring the nurse cannot connect with the patient, if the nurse cannot connect, the trust will not develop, without this trusting relationship, therapeutic nursing cannot take place. Therefore, caring is at the center of all-successful nursing encounters. In her book, Novice to Expert Benner states, “One way to separate the instrumental and expressive aspects of nursing is to regulate caring as the art of nursing (Benner, 1984, 170).
Also, the art of nursing is the ability to form trusting relationships, perform procedures skillfully, prescribe appropriate treatments, and morally conduct nursing practice (Johnson, 1994). As important as the art is, however, it relies on science to guide it; as a hand guides a brush to canvass. Now, let’s address nursing as a science. The nurse should have knowledge in biology, chemistry, pathology, and current guidelines for pharmacological therapy. This is an ever-changing body of knowledge. Science also encompasses the skill required to perform technical tasks. Benner’s Novice to Expert model explains the science behind skill acquisition.
As nurses, we are all on a continuum to achieve “expert” in each of the seven domains of competencies. Science makes up the foundation for current practices exercised in nursing. It shapes and drives this practice through knowledge, understanding, and technology. However, the science of nursing can only be applied through the art of the practice; especially in a field where cases are seldom similar. I believe that, in order to be a successful nurse, one must be able to provide the “art” of caring through form, as well as continuing to obtain knowledge, or “science”, through function. The balance of these two styles is essential to providing optimal treatment; each encourages the other.
Roles that Theory plays in my BN Nursing Practice. The study of existing theories provides a framework and guidelines for the nursing field, and it has since as far back as Florence Nightingale in the 1850s. Each of the many theories, as taught in the Bachelor of Nursing program, has something different to contribute to nursing, depending on which area of health care it is applied to. That is not to say that we, as nurses today, cannot think outside of the boundaries of these theories; technological advancement, scientific breakthroughs, and persistent research are ever-changing the way we understand our practice. The theory should be used as the groundwork upon which all other teachings are built; by studying the past, we are more prepared for the future.
The foundation of nursing theories is based on knowledge which is gained through four ways of knowing: empiric, ethics, esthetics, and personal, according to Carper (1978). By building upon the fundamentals learned from obtaining a nursing diploma, my undergraduate education in nursing (BN) gives me the additional tools necessary to establish my nursing practice. Through the study of established methods and practical training (empirically and esthetically), I have laid a strong foundation for practice and exercise. Through observation and experience (ethically and personally), I continually expand my critical thinking and improve my ability with my newly acquired knowledge. Once these theories are established, we use reasoning to be able to formulate them into research, practice, and philosophies.
The three most common methods of reasoning are deductive, inductive, and abductive as stated by Johnson (2010). For most of my nursing career, I have relied on abductive reasoning and intuition, as I have worked in varied intensive care units. Because circumstances vary greatly from patient to patient and case to case, we can never assume an outcome-based solely on previous situations. It is in these experiences where common theories are shaped into our personal philosophies.
Nursing Practice as it relates to my philosophy? As I research this paper, I reflect back with a fresh perspective on the nursing theorist’s past and present. Having been a nurse for many years now, I find that my views and beliefs I held at the beginning of my career differ greatly from those I keep today; whereas early on I supposed that nursing was primarily based on assessment and exercise, now I find that personal values and belief are just as important as practice. Teachers and mentors established a base for nursing philosophy; however, my experiences, both good and bad, have helped shaped my own.
I have come to understand and relate to Florence Nightingale’s approach to nursing, placing caring at the center of all practice. My philosophy is based on key values that place care of the patient foremost: honesty, trust, empathy, advocating, education, observation, and responsibility. Honesty, trust, and empathy are important for me to be able to establish a relationship with the patient. Education and observation are important in being able to provide the best care available; and in worst-case scenarios, providing comfort.
Advocating is important when the patient is not able to speak for themselves. And finally, we have responsibility. Responsibility drives me to be ever-improving and learning so that I can be assured of providing the best possible care. All of which is reliant on the others. Having 22 years of intensive care experience taught me a great deal about myself. There were situations where I felt extremely vulnerable and ineffective, such as dealing with aggressive or confused patients that basically rendered me emotionally distraught for some time after the events. In that situation, I needed to learn coping mechanisms to deal with the situations or needed the support of my colleagues to trade with me or help me when those times got tough.
We all need to support and help each other get through our tough days. Ethical issues are a current component of health care. A sound personal nursing philosophy is required to deal compassionately and comfortably with issues such as medical futility, allocation of resources, withdrawal of treatment, use of restraints, caring for homeless people, etc. This also means that we are consummate advocates for the patient and willing to speak up when we do not feel the environment is as safe as it can be. For me, investigation and development of my own nursing philosophy is a prerequisite for a meaningful life and a fulfilling career in nursing. I believe we should be our patient advocate, especially in the intensive care unit where the patients are very vulnerable, and unable to speak because they are sedated, unconscious, or intubated. I face challenges every day at work to the best care I can give to my patients.
On one of those days, I was taking care of an elderly patient who had been hospitalized in the ICU for a prolonged stay and she was on life support. Her condition was not improving and the family was asked to make a decision about the withdrawal from treatment, but the family was afraid of the guilt and responsibility for her death. This family needed reassurance that everything had been done to improve the patient‘s condition but with no success. I sat down with them to explained what withdrawal of treatment meant.
After our discussion, the family understood that by removing the machines, we were allowing natural death to occur. This was the key decision factor because they originally thought they were killing the patient by removing life support. After our discussion, the family agreed to remove life support and to initiate comfort measures. I believe everyone is entitled to a quality of life and when we have exhausted all possible treatment, remove life support while keeping the patient comfortable. Personal experience is a very important influence in developing one’s philosophy of nursing. It adds diversity to known ideas which, in turn, increases the collective knowledge pool and improves nursing as a whole.
But, however great the benefits might be, each philosophy must still adhere to the practice standards of their workplace, and the regulations set by their nursing order. I believe my philosophy of nursing clarifies the requirements in knowledge, human values, and technical skills so they can be organized, analyzed, and evaluated. Throughout my career, I have constantly been evolving my philosophy. Each case, each patient, each experience, all contributing insight to who I am and what kind of nurse I want to be. Through it all, though, the one nursing theory that I relate to the most and the keystone of my nursing philosophy is listed by Dr. Moyra Allen (1987) in the McGill model; health, family, collaboration, and learning.
At the beginning of my career, I was working at Royal Victoria Hospital which is now part of the McGill University Health Center. I remember using a primary nursing care concept. It is basically continuity of care; the same nurses are assigned patients from their admission to their discharge. It gave the nurse an opportunity to participate with the multidiscipline team about the patient’s care, and incorporate the family. I have always believed that that family needs to be incorporated into our care of patients. Too many times, I have seen nurses go in and out of the patient’s rooms without interacting with the family or ignoring them. Families are a big part of the McGill model and in my own nursing practice.
Conclusion. My philosophy of nursing takes into consideration the elements of nursing practice which are the beneficiaries of care, their family, health/illness, and the society around them. It shapes my life and drives my daily experience as I interact with my family, strangers, my environment, and the society around me. As our knowledge increases our philosophy grows; the two becoming tightly woven about one another and becoming ultimately inseparable. It is very difficult to face the demands of caring for people from day to day without a solid foundation of personal philosophy. We are more effective in anything that we do when we understand ourselves, the way we think, and where our values are in reference to others as well as our personal strengths and limitations.
This paper provided a different and valuable perspective for reinterpreting my knowledge of concepts, theories, and philosophy in nursing. It was interesting to document my journey as I reflected on my philosophy of nursing and my career as an intensive care nurse. Our own values and beliefs must be clarified in order to authentically respond to the health care needs of our patients and to society as a whole. The main reason I chose this profession was because of the endless possibilities that are available to care for people. As an ICU nurse, my duties entail patient and family care, educating and mentoring new and fellow nurses, and assisting with policy and procedures. We need to rid society of the totally false dichotomy that nurses are either highly educated or caring.
Example #7 – interesting ideas
For those nurses out there, how would you define your philosophy of nursing?
Answer. It’s been a long road for me. I have to say after all these years it’s about great customer service with a smile. I want to leave my patients thinking that there’s nobody else that can fill my shoes. That the next nurse has a tall order to fill. If the patient wants to call me “Doctor” then that’s ok too. I’ve got a bigger ego than him anyway.
What is the importance of a nurse?
Answer. Nurses advocate for health promotion, educate patients and the public on the prevention of illness and injury, provide care and assist in the cure, participate in rehabilitation, and provide support. No other health care professional has such a broad and far-reaching role.
What is the relevance of philosophy to nursing?
The patient is a living breathing human being with his or her baggage of perspectives. the nursing professional in dispensing care to that patient is assisted by contextualizing the patient’s needs… As an example, read the following article on “a feminist perspective on stroke rehabilitation”
Medical doctors and nurses, has your perception or philosophy of life changed since you started working?
When I was in nursing school, I remember taking an infant born with rare holoprosencephaly. (You’ll have to look up the web images, but it’s very sad and frightening to view.) On top of that, the infected had a cleft lip and a cleft palate. The baby’s hypothalamus was severely damaged (to say the least), so it would spike temperatures for no reason, among lots of other problems. It would make frightening shrieking sounds, accompanied by seizures. The infant’s eyes would not follow one another. It was a really sad experience.
The family knew well ahead of the time that the baby was going to come out like this. The physician told them way ahead of time, early on in the pregnancy, and recommended an abortion. They had the same problem previously with another of their infants, too. Sadly, they braved on and declared that “Jesus would make it right.” When the infant was born, they were afraid of it, refusing to hold or love the baby. (Who’s going to pay for all this?) The baby was unable to hold down food, because of the cleft palate. Sadly, it was losing weight, so a PEG was placed.
I was so saddened to see all this happening, I began questioning my own beliefs. Throughout the years, I’ve seen families keep their sick family member alive, hardly care of them at home, and bring them in with bad sacral ulcers, so large and deep, you could see their spinal chord, just so they could continue to collect government money sent to them. The stench emitting from their rotting flesh was a terrible thing to endure, as I would change them, several time a night, but it was nothing, compared to the look in their eyes; I saw fear and sadness… and it would be like this until the day they die. I’ve seen families fight over their dead relative’s belongings and finances, while the body was still fresh in the room. Sadly, I’ve seen society at its worse.
I don’t mind old people spraying bodily fluids all over my scrubs as I prep them for a colonoscopy, or getting yelled at or attacked by confused demented patients; I’d go to the ends of the Earth to keep them happy, really. But. if I knew what I was up for in the sense that I would have to face humanity at its worst on a nightly basis, I would have picked another field. Still, there’s another side of me that continues to hope for the best in humanity and pray that eventually, every person finds their way. I don’t know how I feel about God, or Death, especially after seeing all this, I hope that people have souls, and there’s a decent place for me to be, one day.
Contribution of philosophy to nursing?
Answer. I assume that you are a nursing student and a philosophy class is a requirement. I was a business major and asked the same thing. But after taking an intro to a philosophy class I realized how important it is to our thinking a logic. This will be valuable when you deal with patients who are facing disabilities or even death. Take the class and be determined to do your best. It turned out to be one of the best classes I took.
How can i apply philosophy to nursing? I was given an assignment on ways to apply philosophy to my degree, which is nursing. I do not understand jack squat about philosophy.
Answer. I think in the field of nursing, it would be interesting, and rather important, actually, to tie in your personal sense of ethics and morality into what you do on a day-to-day basis. How do you see other people that come to see you? Do you ever condescend to them, even if you try not to? Do you ever feel like you’re their superior? That’s where I would go with things. As far as metaphysics and ontology, it would sort of be hard to tie that sort of thing into nursing.
What is the relevance of philosophy to the nursing courses? please I need answers.?
Answer. Just one of those courses YOU have to TAKE in order to become a nurse! Philosophy is a field of study that includes diverse subfields such as aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, logic, and metaphysics, in which people ask questions such as whether God exists, what is the nature of reality, whether knowledge is possible, and what makes actions right or wrong. The fundamental method of philosophy is the use of reasoning to evaluate arguments concerning these questions. However, the exact scope and methodology of philosophy are not rigid. What counts as philosophy is itself debated, and it varies across philosophical traditions.
I’m a nursing student, and have been assigned to write my own “personal nursing philosophy” and I have no clue where to begin. I believe that Nursing is the caregivers almost like the mother who nurtures the ill, but I don’t know what to put in this 1-3 page paper. HELP
- I feel for you!.. I am in my second semester hoping to get accepted in march, keep my fingers crossed!
- I think that what you started with, is a good concept.
- Tell me why you want to be a nurse.
- What lead you to choose nursing as your occupation
- If and why you think you would be a good nurse
- And what does a nurse mean to you, what do you see when you look at the idea of a nurse.
- I hope maybe this Lil outline helped to give ya some ideas anyway.
Any philosophy and nursing-related films? I have this minor subject in nursing “philosophy of man” our project is to find or look for a philosophy related film and also connected to our course which is nursing….. can you pls help me with that? it almost takes me a week to find one, any English language, and easy to find a film on the web or youtube.
Answer. In the Robin Williams movie “The World According to Garp”, his mother played by Glen Close who is a WWII nurse, jumps up on the bed of an unconscious soldier who has had a stiff hard-on for days. She satisfies herself and relieves his tension. He wakes up, says “Thank you!”, then dies. Now that is a great philosophy. Of course, there are all the movies about Florence Nightingale. And if you Google “nurse ethics movies” you’ll get a list, some funny, some serious.
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