A simple definition of nursing philosophy is that it is an “attitude towards life and reality that evolves from each nurse’s beliefs” (June, 2008). This definition grants nurses the freedom to choose their own path when it comes to nursing philosophy. Notable figures in the nursing discipline have added their voices to the debate on the appropriate nursing philosophies and theories. However, each nurse is accorded the freedom to come up with a philosophy that is guided by theories that he/she finds appropriate. The debate whether nursing is an art or a science has a great impact on the formulation of nursing philosophies and theories. Most nursing practitioners consider the practice either as an ‘art’ of doing things, or as a science that defines how things should be done. It is important for every nurse to consider his/her personal nursing philosophy before embarking on nursing training and practice. There are various nursing theories that serve as an outline to personal nursing philosophies. Most of these theories are defined by notable nursing practitioners and scholars such as Martha Rogers, Virginia Henderson, and Patricia Benner. For instance, Henderson’s need theory insists on the importance of making patients and clients independent. On the other hand, Rogers’ theory insists on the need to incorporate patient-care with the patients’ environment. My nursing philosophy focuses on the need to empower each patient when delivering holistic care to clients. This paper explores this philosophy using common nursing theories and applying them to nursing practice.
Nursing is different from many other professions because it represents various ways of performing one profession. Nursing can be best defined as a series of evolving activities that are aimed at delivering quality patient care to the clients. Nursing is more of a public service than it is a profession. The desire to help those who are in need is part of the nursing practice. When helping those who are in need, the nurses need to acknowledge “what is important to the patient” (Austgard, 2006). The act of acknowledging what is important to the patient defines what type of a nurse a practitioner is. It is hard to separate the act of caring from the nursing profession. Nursing is synonymous with caring and everyone who seeks nursing services expects to receive care and attention from nurses.
When dealing with the relationship between nursing and clients, my philosophy leans towards a holistic patient care. This care is patient-centered and is defined by compassion. In holistic patient care, a nurse is able to form a personal relationship with the client. Through this relationship, a nurse gets a chance to understand a patient’s values and beliefs. Moreover, this relationship marks the main difference between physician care and nursing care. A holistic nursing approach allows the nurse to study and understand the bio, spiritual, and social dimensions of a person. In addition, holistic care is all about recognizing that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” (Dossey, 2010, p.14). Therefore, nurses should be concerned with their clients’ mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing.
My philosophy about how nurses should relate with other healthcare professionals is that nurses are supposed to have healthy interactions with these other healthcare professionals. When nurses are able to interact with other healthcare professionals, their services are more effective. Previously, nursing professionals have been victims of flawed hierarchal-communication in the medical field. Communication between nurses and other healthcare professionals has since changed to accommodate an interdisciplinary healthcare setting. As a nurse, one should pursue an effective relationship with other medical and healthcare professionals. This approach will ensure that nurses are able to take care of their clients’ needs.
The nursing profession is synonymous with the clinic or hospital environment. On the other hand, clinic and hospital environments are synonymous with community development. According to McCurry, Revell, and Roy (2009), nursing should be able to “contribute to the health of individuals and the overall health of society”. Therefore, my philosophy is that service to individuals is just as important as service to the community. Furthermore, nurses should strive to promote good health both in their respective communities and in the national level. The philosophy that nursing is more than a profession means that it is unethical for a nurse to ignore the healthcare needs of his/her community. It is the duty of a nurse to take personal initiative in community and national healthcare matters. For instance, nurses should reach out to those people who do not have access to healthcare in their neighborhoods.
This paper has explored my personal philosophy on nursing and how the nursing profession fits into various settings. There are two things that are important to nursing, the aspect of holistic nursing and the need to recognize that each patient has different needs. Understanding clients’ individual values makes the clients feel respected. Furthermore, interdisciplinary communication between nurses and other healthcare professionals enhances the value of nursing practice. My plan is to formulate my nursing practice around this philosophy.
Austgard, K. (2006). The aesthetic experience of nursing. Nursing Philosophy, 7(1), 11-19.
Dossey, B. (2010). Holistic nursing: from Florence nightingale’s historical legacy to 21st century global nursing. Alternative Therapies, 16(5), 14-15.
June, K. F. (2008). Towards a philosophic theory of nursing. Nursing Philosophy, 5(1), 79-83.
McCurry, M. K., Revell, S.H., Roy, C. (2009). Knowledge for the good of the individual and society: linking philosophy, disciplinary goals, theory, and practice. Nursing Philosophy, 11(1), 42-52.