Before I describe my philosophy of nursing, I need to define the term “nursing philosophy”. A basic definition offered by a dictionary, suggests that philosophy is the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them. (Philosophy, 2011) I agree with Edwards, who writes that “philosophy is an attitude towards life and reality that evolves from each nurse’s beliefs”. (Edwards, 1997) My own interpretation of nursing philosophy arises from education, experience of working in health care and personal beliefs. Nursing philosophy in my understanding is a model that guides my thinking about observations and interpretations of events that occur due to interaction of four components of everyday nursing practice: nursing, patient, health, and environment.
For me, a profession, a vocation, art, and science coalesce to become nursing. A person must be truly devoted to caring to choose nursing as a career. A profession then matures into a vocation, a lifestyle, essence of life. A novice nurse launches her career after proving to the society that scientific knowledge obtained during college years are in compliance with the standards proposed by the board of registration. Applying knowledge gained in systematic study signifies nursing as science. On the other hand, being an accomplished nurse is not limited to being educated and experienced. When I think of a good nurse, I picture someone who mastered the art of caring. Each nurse develops her own style of caring, adjusting it to changing personalities and situations in her own distinct way.
The second component of nursing practice is a patient, a recipient of nursing care, although nursing care is not limited to the patient alone. Families, patients’ support systems, other health care workers, as well as community comprise a domain of recipients of care, because they are influenced by it in direct and indirect, negative or positive way. In my opinion, the recipient of nursing care remains the most important component of the four. I believe in patient-centered care, and that nursing would not come to exist if it were not for the patients. I think that patients’ physical and emotional environment should be viewed inseparably from the patient because of their constant two-way influences and interactions. I place a special emphasis on the link between caring and culture. Recognizing that cultures have both differences and similarities in ways of perceiving, knowing, and practicing care allows me to communicate with my patients more efficiently, develop a trusting relationship.
The last component to be addressed is health, which I view as some point on a continuum from wellness to illness. I deem nursing care to aid individuals in achieving their optimal level of wellness. In the effort to accomplish this goal, the nurses must consider the patient himself, as well as opportunities and constraints of the environment.
I apply abstract concepts of nursing philosophy in my everyday professional practice. The mission statement of my hospital emphasizes “delivering healthcare services in a personable, convenient, and compassionate manner, with respect for the dignity of patients and their families.” (Mt Auburn Hospital, 2011) Although patients and situations change from day to day, my philosophy guides me in even the most difficult situations, and I compassionately treat each patient as a respected individual.
Edwards S.D. (1997). What is philosophy of nursing? The Journal of Advanced Nursing, 25, 1089-1093
Masters, K. (2005) Role development in professional nursing practice. Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc. 51-65
Mount Auburn Hospital. Mission and values. Retrieved February 2011 from http://www.mountauburnhospital.org/
Philosophy. (n.d.) In Dictionary.com, LLC. Retrieved February 2011 from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/philosophy