Disciplines are discussed with references to such characteristics as domain or focus, syntax and language, history and tradition, values, theories, and educational systems. In addition, the shared knowledge, discourse, and practices are discussed as the discipline’s characteristics. Nursing as a developed professional discipline fits all the mentioned characteristics.
Any discipline can be described concerning a range of characteristics. These characteristics include the discipline’s domain or focus, the discipline’s syntax and language, the discipline’s history and tradition, and the discipline’s values, theories, and the associated educational system (Parker & Smith, 2010, p. 5). Furthermore, these characteristics also involve such aspects as shared knowledge and practices (Mosqueda-Díaz, Vílchez-Barboza, Valenzuela-Suazo, & Sanhueza-Alvarado, 2014, p. 356). While focusing on these characteristics, it is possible to state that nursing is a developed professional discipline because it completely fits the mentioned characteristics.
In the 19th century, Florence Nightingale, known as the founder of nursing, proposed a range of principles and guidelines associated with the nurse’s mission, focus, and practice. Nightingale’s principles can be discussed as the first attempt to determine the domain of modern nursing. Each discipline has a specific focus, and the main focus of nursing is health and care (Parker & Smith, 2010, p. 5). Nurses work to address the human needs associated with improving their health and well-being.
The discipline’s syntax and language are also important features to speak about the field of professional knowledge. Nursing is a discipline because it operates the specific syntactical and conceptual system and specialized language to discuss notions, situations, and practices (Parker & Smith, 2010, p. 6). A range of works are written on the issues in nursing, and this fact adds to the discussion of not only the discipline’s language but also about the scope of literature characterized for the area.
The main concepts and principles used in nursing are the result of the analysis of nurses’ most effective practices. Thus, when nurses use these principles, they not only refer to the history of this discipline but also the tradition. Each year some aspects in the field of the nursing transform, and new traditions develop, responding to the needs of the 21st century and creating the history of the nursing discipline (Mosqueda-Díaz et al., 2014, p. 357). That is why the important role of shared discourse and tradition is important for this discipline.
Nursing is a discipline that is based on ethical principles and values. That is why the role of values in the nurses’ conduct supports the idea that this characteristic is typical for nursing as a discipline. Furthermore, theories developed in the field of nursing also form its background. Nursing as a discipline applies many theories in practice, and this fact supports the idea that nursing is a professional discipline with a long history (Polit & Beck, 2012, p. 12). The future nurses acquire the knowledge of philosophical and theoretical concepts associated with nursing in educational institutions, and the system of education is one more important feature to distinguish a discipline among others.
Nursing is a unique discipline whose domain of inquiry involves the shared knowledge of biology, psychology, and medicine as well as the shared practices developed to assist people. Nursing professionals share certain worldviews, theories, and ways of thinking while acting according to the guidelines and principles which are the discipline’s core. Nurses can respond to different professional situations while referring to the tradition and history of the nursing practice. That is why nursing can be discussed as fitting the main characteristics of a discipline.
Mosqueda-Díaz, A., Vílchez-Barboza, V., Valenzuela-Suazo, S., & Sanhueza-Alvarado, O. (2014). Critical theory and its contribution to the nursing discipline. Invest. Educ. Enferm., 32(2), 356-63.
Parker, M., & Smith, M. (2010). Nursing theories and nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.
Polit, D., & Beck, C. (2012). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.