Carper Four Ways of Knowing and Different Types of Nursing Theories Danielle Berg, Hailey Hunter, Anh Nguyen, Michael Seeley & Christopher Wilson Maryville University
Dr. Deitra Watson
September 06, 2013
Carper Four Ways of Knowing and Different Types of Nursing Theories It is essential in nursing to continue learning and applying knowledge to the everyday practice. In doing so, it is important to understand how to organize, test, and apply knowledge to nursing. Barbara Carper identified four fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing which are necessary for the teaching and learning of nursing. Carper's four fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing are defined as empirical, ethical, personal and aesthetic (Carper, 1978). A different method of analysis is required to find evidence, understand each pattern and develop knowledge about each pattern. Empirical knowing or knowledge is simply the science of nursing (Hunter, 2008). Empirical knowledge in nursing literature had a late start having only been around since the 1950’s. Since then, there has been an increasing importance placed on the development of a body of empirical knowledge on nursing. With empirical knowing, science of nursing can be categorized into general law and theories (Carper, 1978). The pattern on knowing labeled as “nursing science” does not reflect the same characteristics as the more advanced sciences. Nursing attempts to assess knowledge, question its validity and take the information and incorporate it into specific situations. This can be expressed in facts, specific concept or theory which can be used to predict specific outcomes. Currently, in the development of nursing science, new concepts and experiences continue to occur in health and illness with regards to human life. These new concepts and experiences in the nursing sciences should be seen as breakthroughs in nursing. Carper expresses the need for nursing to expand empirical knowledge because the nursing discipline has not been able to achieve a scientific model to practice with (Mantzorou & Mastrogiannis, 2011). However, for knowledge to be effective it must incorporate ethics, aesthetics and personal knowing (Mantzorou & Mastrogiannis, 2011). The ethical component of Carper’s way of knowing was thought to be “the moral component of nursing” (Mantzorou & Mastrogiannis, 2011, p.254). This component of knowing draws on the underlying values and beliefs of the nurse. Ethical knowledge can be voiced by language and theory. Ethics is evaluated on fairness, excellence and accountability. It is these values that help the nurse form their core beliefs and eventually develop their own nursing philosophy. Mantzorou and Mastrogiannis (2011) state “for nurses the process of ethical knowing such as advocating for their patients and clarifying the meaning of life and living, can change all the existing values in health care” (p.254).This quote stresses the importance of the ethical component of knowing for nurses and how it can be utilized to advance health care. A nurse knowing his or her own morals goes beyond the ethical code; it includes all actions that are believed to be right and wrong in nursing practice. Carper’s empirical knowing and aesthetic knowing are used as pathways leading to knowledge. Carper’s fundamental component of a personal knowledge in nursing is a continuous process of knowing one’s self. According to Chinn and Kramer (1999), “One can truly know another person through knowing the self.” Through the nurse-patient relationship, as nurses, we give all that we are able to with the relationship and use this to benefit both the nurse and the patient. Thus, both the nurse and the patient are able commit and give to his or her fullest potential. Carper’s fundamental pattern of personal knowing is said to be the fundamental that is the most difficult to teach grasp. The personal knowledge component includes...
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