Individual Nursing Philosophy

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Individual Philosophy of a Nurse

Abstract

Before we can answer the question, “What is your own personal nursing philosophy?” we must first understand what philosophy means. “The term philosophy comes from the Greek and means “love of wisdom” (Benner & Wrubel, 1989, p. 27). Philosophy examines ideas in terms of its origins as well as assumptions about why things are. Blais and Hayes define nursing philosophy as, “a concept that looks at the nature of things and aims to provide the meaning of nursing phenomena” (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 98). So why define nursing philosophy? When defining nursing philosophy, we attempt to gain understanding as to what it is to be a nurse as well as understand the knowledge required. Benner and Wrubel state,

Why philosophy? Because theories of nursing practice, of stress and coping, and of health and illness, whether they are formal or informal theories, are all based on assumptions about what it is to be a nurse, that is, on assumptions about being, knowing and knowledge. (Benner & Wrubel, 1989, p. 28) In describing my own nursing philosophy, I will introduce my experience as a nurse, give my own definition of nursing, discuss my own values and beliefs that are the foundation of my nursing philosophy and conclude with what I believe the future of nursing will be. Individual Philosophy of a Nurse

I have been an RN-ADN since 1997 when I graduated Phi Theta Kappa. Once I graduated, I travelled a lot as a nurse while my husband was in the US Navy. I spent two years in psych nursing working with children, a short stent in med-surgical nursing, and five years as a per-diem RN working between pediatrics and labor and delivery at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital and then worked at Eastern Maine Medical Center as a charge nurse in the emergency room and walk-in-care for the past seven years. In October, I was forced to exit my position as a full time nurse due to caring for my father on extended FMLA. I am currently concentrating on finishing my BSN and plan to return to a new position once I am finished. I feel that with my 16 years of nursing experience ranging from staff nurse, charge nurse and nurse educator, I will find a fitting position without difficulty.

When defining nursing, I compared Florence Nightingale’s definition to that of Virginia Henderson. As one of the earliest nursing theorists, Nightingale defined nursing in Blais & Hayes (2011) as “utilizing the environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery” (p. 100) and her theory focuses more on the ill patient. Henderson however, focuses on the healthy and the ill patient and defines the function of nursing as, The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge, and to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible. (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p. 100) I agree with Henderson’s definition of nursing and would claim my own definition of nursing to be similar. I would define a nurse as a caring individual that agrees to be a caregiver. A nurse needs to be a partner with the patient and their family, an assistant to the patient and when necessary, a substitute for the patient when they are unable to care for themselves in meeting fundamental needs and activities of daily living.

There are many values and beliefs that make up the foundation for being a good nurse. First and foremost, a nurse needs to value caring and the willingness to be a caregiver. Jean Watson’s Human Caring Theory of the science of caring refines caring behaviors as being central to nursing. One of the caring factors of her theory she writes about states, “The ideal and value of caring is a starting point, a stance and an attitude that has to become a will, an intention, a commitment, and a...
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