Definition of Nursing
Nursing is a complex practice that can be defined very differently based on what theory one considers the most accurate. That said, most of the nursing theory stems from the work of Florence Nightingale, who laid the foundations of modern evidence-based practice. She separated nursing from medicine and defined it as putting the patient in the best possible conditions so that the natural healing process would take place (Smith & Parker, 2015).
The modern nursing theories define it as a more proactive profession, but the core tenets remain the same. One of the recent definitions states that nursing is a study of human health and healing through caring. It appears that most definitions share the idea of fostering the patient’s health and well-being by more than just administering drugs.
Assumptions or Underlying Beliefs
The underlying core beliefs of nursing are also known as the nursing metaparadigm. It was formulated in 1984 and focused on the core ideas of person, health, environment, and nursing. According to Wills and McEwen (2019), the concept of person pertains to having physical, psychological, intellectual, and biochemical needs, being an open system, and a holistic whole, more than the sum of its parts. These definitions vary from nursing theory to nursing theory, but they are, essentially, different ways of conceptualizing a human being in need of help. Health is a central phenomenon of nursing, and it means being able to function independently, adapting to life, and achieving unity of mind, body, and soul.
Competing theories suggest replacing health with quality of life, as it is a more holistic and inclusive way of thinking. The environment is the internal and external conditions that affect the organism, the open system to which it belongs, and, in more broad frameworks, the society and history that surround the person. Finally, nursing is the practice that revolves around caring for another, regardless of which parts of caring any particular theory focuses on.
Major Domains of Nursing
The domains of nursing are schools of thought that conceptualize the patient, the nurse’s role, and the focus of practice differently. There are four domains of nursing: needs, interaction, outcome, and caringbecoming. Wills and McEwen (2019) explain the needs domain as one focused on fulfilling the unmet needs of the patient. The role of the nurse is that of a problem solver, and the patient’s role is that of a complex set of problems. Interaction scholars believe that the patient is a human being with a set of needs, who is experiencing an illness, and the nurse is a therapeutic agent that guides the patient through that experience by interaction.
The outcome theory posits stability and homeostasis as the primary outcome of nursing care, and the nurse is the external influence that helps fulfill the deficiency that prevents the patient’s adaptation. Finally, the caringbecoming domain believes that a patient is a person in a disarray of body, mind, and soul, and the nurse has to help the patient through caring, connecting, and mutual meaning-making.
Regardless of the school of thought, theory, or other extraneous factors, nursing is the practice of caring for another human being first and foremost. All domains intersect in that helping patients and finding new ways to meet their health needs is the primary focus of nursing. The future of nursing lies in a more human-centric approach that aims to take all factors of life into account, not just the condition of the organism.
Hassmiller (2019) writes about societal health inequities and how nursing is positioned to help fix them. That increased human connection, compassion, a thorough examination of social and environmental factors, and the increased responsibility will be an enormous burden. I know that I will have to rise to the challenge. The nursing of the future will be primarily oriented toward the humanity of both the patient and the care provider, and that is going to be a critical area of professional development. I am ready to grow not only as a healthcare professional but as a compassionate and caring person.
Hassmiller, S. B. (2019). A New Future of Nursing Report. American Journal of Nursing, 119(7), 7.
Smith M. C., & Parker M. E. (2015) Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice, 4th edition. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.
Wills, E. M., & McEwen, M. (2019). Theoretical basis for nursing, 5th edition. Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands: Wolters Kluwer.