Becoming a Reflective Practitioner: Meaningful Care

The fundamental ways of knowing that have been proposed by Carper can be applied to my personal practice. The empirical way of knowing has always been a primary one in my view: I rely on evidence in my practice. Also, I believe that ethical dilemmas are not uncommon for our profession, which is why the ethical way of knowing important for nurses; in my practice, I am guided predominantly by the Code of Ethics of the American Nursing Association. Given the fact that the nursing activities are typically very situational, I think that the majority of my actions are based on the aesthetic way of knowing as well. Finally, I have to admit that I used to be rather reluctant to accept the importance of the personal way, but I came to realize its significance, especially that of its empathy component (Johns, 2013).

I also think that my initial disrespect to the personal way of knowing is connected to the fact that I value unknowing. Unknowing is a term proposed by Munhall to describe the ability to change the perspectives and accept the point of view of other people (Johns, 2013). I find it crucial for nursing practice, especially in a correctional institution: patients in these settings are often a very vulnerable population. As a result, a holistic and patient-oriented approach is required, which implies listening to patients and their family members or caregivers, trying to understand them, and customizing nursing methods. All these activities require unknowing. For example, I have worked with patients and patients’ family members with different religious beliefs, which makes understanding them difficult unless unknowing is used as a source of evidence. Being open-minded and understanding is crucial for a nurse who wants to provide respectful and meaningful care, which may explain my reluctance to rely on personal views. Nowadays, I try to find a balance between being open-minded and dedicated to my views.


Johns, C. (2013). Becoming a reflective practitioner (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.