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Ways of Knowing as a Concept

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Ways of Knowing as a Concept
Barbara Carper says, “It is the general conception of any field of inquiry that ultimately determines the kind of knowledge the field aims to develop as well as the manner in which that knowledge is to be organized, tested and applied” (Carper, 1978). It is Barbara Carper who developed the four fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing and they are; empirics, esthetics, personal knowledge and ethics (Carper, 1978). In this paper I will provide clinical interventions that I have used for my patients and explain how they are relevant.
Empirics; the science of nursing (Carper, 1978). According to Merriam-Webster online, “empirical is 1. Originating in or based on observation or experience, 2. Relying on experience or observation alone often without due regard for system and theory, 3. Capable of being verified or disproved by observation or experiment.” (Merriam-Webster, 2013) I believe this to be congruent with evidenced based practice (EBP). For example, ventilator associated pneumonia or foley catheter associated urinary tract infections. Both of these are preventable if we use EBP. For ventilator patients in ICU, it is important to do oral care every 2 hours and endo-tracheal suctioning when necessary. Patients with foley catheters need to have the necessity of the catheter evaluated daily and discontinue as soon as possible. Also, sterile technique is important upon insertion as is daily perineal care. In the ICU I worked in, we would track these infections on a monthly basis. This was a good indicator if we were effective in our patient care. I believe these to be a demonstration of empirical knowledge because they are proven by evidence based practice.
According to Carper, Esthetics is the art of nursing (Carper 1978). Aesthetic knowledge is subjective and intuition based. It is recognizing and appreciating the unique qualities of individual patients, as well as responding with compassion and understanding to help both patients and their



References: Carper, Barbara A. (1978). “Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing.” PhD dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University Empirical. In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. 2013. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empirical.

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