The purpose of this paper is to explore my personal beliefs, convictions, and values as they relate to my personal nursing philosophy. Every nurse has a distinct nursing philosophy which is shaped by subjective views just as each individual has his or her own philosophy in life-based on personal beliefs. I believe the nature of nursing is grounded in the devotion to public service and the unwavering desire to care for those in need that are not only individualized but also considerate of the community and environment of those being cared for.
I can honestly say I did not pick nursing as a career but can wholeheartedly say that nursing chose me. One evening a couple of years ago, we were having a family reunion and all of us were sitting and sharing stories and memories of one another. My aunt shared a memory of me of which I had no recollection of from when I was a little girl. The memory was about how I took it upon myself to take care of my sick family members when everyone was going to a festive event. After this story was told, my other family members shared similar experiences they had experienced or observed with me not just with family but within the community. I had no idea that I impacted people in this manner. This enlightening experience made me aware that caring for others and the path to becoming a nurse is embedded deep within me and gave me a profound understanding of who I truly am and strive to be.
Understanding who influences our ability to provide nursing care, it is important to understand our own individualized approach to nursing. Over the period that I have practiced as a nurse while reflecting on the people who have influenced nursing care through theory and application, I have come to understand whose theories I resonate with the most. There are many nursing theorists and essentially all of them blend and provide a holistic nursing approach. However, there are two people who I seem to emulate through my approach in nursing care.
Florence Nightingale “was a nurse who contributed to developing and shaping the modern nursing practice and has set examples for nurses which are standards for today’s profession. Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory defined nursing as “the act of utilizing the environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery” (Gonzalo & Wayne, 2019). Not only has Nightingale influenced my nursing practice by being mindful of the physical nature of the environment a patient is in, but also considering the social and psychological impact the patient’s environment has on the individual and/or community.
Another nursing theorist who I seem to follow in practice is Jean Watson. Jean Watson developed “Philosophy and Theory of Transpersonal Caring” and wrote Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring. Her theory emphasizes “humanistic aspects of nursing as they intertwine with scientific knowledge and nursing practice” (Gonzalo & Wayne, 2019). She created creative factors that are vital “to the caring human experience that need to be addressed by nurses with their patients when in a caring role” (Gonzalo & Wane, 2019). According to Watson,
these creative factors are described as consisting of cultivating the practice of loving-
kindness and equanimity toward self and others as foundational to Caritas consciousness; being authentically present; enabling, sustaining and honoring the faith, hope and the deep belief system and the inner-subjective life world of the self and of the other; cultivating one’s own spiritual practices and transpersonal self, going beyond the ego-self; developing and sustaining a helping-trusting, caring relationship; being present to, and supportive of, the expression of positive and negative feelings; creatively use the self and all ways of knowing as part of the caring process; engaging in the artistry of Caritas nursing; engaging in genuine teaching-learning experiences that attend to the unity of being and subjective meaning; attempting to stay within the other’s frame of reference; creating a healing environment at all levels; administering sacred nursing acts of caring-healing by tending to basic human needs; opening and attending to spiritual or mysterious and existential unknowns of life and death. (Pajnkihar, Štiglic, & Vrbnjak, 2017)
My values and attitude towards nursing encompass all these factors into my daily practice not only as a nurse but as a human being. Developing a caring and supportive relationship with patients and their loved ones creates a level of trust and a unique bond that fosters healing on all levels.
My duty as a nurse goes beyond my local community or area that I work in. I believe that I should have an active role in helping communities in underprivileged areas across the globe, address healthcare issues and provide health promotion. I have a sense of responsibility to provide care for those who have little to no access to healthcare. For me, nursing is a commitment to serving the public through health care, education, and wellness. For example, 2 years ago I embarked on a solo mission to Huancavelica, Peru to address the needs of 165 orphan boys in the poorest region of Peru. Utilizing my assessment skills, I was able to provide health care, tests, and treatments to a 12-year-old boy who had barely eaten over a 2-week period due to increased pain caused by diverticulitis and gastritis. Applying my training, skills, and compassion to improve the health and wellbeing of another is what nursing and being a health care provider is all about.
My personal beliefs and values drive my philosophy as a nurse. However, I understand a patient’s values and beliefs may differ from mine. We live in a diverse world where people come from different backgrounds. Therefore, if a patient’s wishes or decisions are based on something that goes against my beliefs and values, it is my ethical and moral responsibility to treat my patient’s needs and strive for the best possible outcome for the patient. Having the ability to negotiate one’s feelings and/or biases with the patient is extremely important to be aware of. Therefore, listening is a very important aspect of providing care to someone. Sometimes that may entail finding a mentor to guide me through the inner conflict to finding a solution that meets the needs of our patient without compromising my own personal beliefs.
My way of life, personally and professionally, is centered on empathy, integrity, and mindfulness. Providing care as a nurse means having the ability to expand on my core values and holistically understand the patient on the physical, emotional, psychological, and social levels. According to the American Nurses Association, the definition of nursing resonates with me a great deal as it states nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups, communities, and populations.
It is important to incorporate my academic nursing education along with my personal values and beliefs towards my nursing philosophy. Communication is key and is a necessity in healthcare relationships to be able to provide individualized care. “In health care, it is generally believed that collaborative efforts yield better health services and outcomes for the populations that are served” (Green & Johnson, 2015). Those working in healthcare need to be able to work in practice models centered on collaboration, such as interprofessional teams, to ensure coherent and reliable care. Applying the knowledge that I have gained through academic study and experience to communicate and collaborate with various health care professionals allows the ability to provide effective care while keeping the patient’s needs in mind. Pursuing higher education and more training, networking with various organizations, and relying on our colleagues and their experiences to improve nursing practice and care is very important to me. We live in a world where communities are evolving, technology is advancing, the environment is changing, medical practice and care are transforming through ongoing research and application. Therefore, being up to date and applying the innovations that are continuously developing in healthcare by being well informed and trained is imperative to providing competent care at the optimum level.
Being a nurse means facilitating healing through understanding etiologies, diagnosis and treatment, and providing care through empathy and respect for individuals, families, and communities. Having the ability to collaborate with all members involved in the patient’s treatment and wellbeing through education and awareness is a vital component to provide holistic, effective care to the patient. In exploring what nursing means to me and simultaneously becoming more aware of my principles with regards to the value I have towards clinical practice, I have developed a nursing philosophy that is true at my core. I commit to contribute to healthcare in my nursing practice by being an advocate for all my patients, a leader and mentor within the profession and beyond, and strive to propel healthcare for all to promote health and wellbeing.