The nursing profession is not just a job, it is a higher calling. The amount of work, time, and emotion that goes into nursing practice holds nurses to a much higher standard than the average nine to five office job. Nurses must be proficient in a background of anatomy, physiology, and the way drugs and diseases work. Nurses must also combine that knowledge with sharp critical thinking skills and an unconditional compassion for humankind.
While every nurse is unique in their own way, I hope the values that I have in my daily living can affect the way I conduct myself while on duty as a practicing nurse. The same theme seems evident in most nursing philosophies; caring, health and wellbeing, environment, and clinical excellence through education. As I contemplate what my philosophy of nursing is I have discovered that I also incorporate these aspects of nursing into my own personal values of what I believe it is to be a nurse.
My personal belief system has always been that a nurse should possess strong ethical and moral values, a passion for caring, and a commitment to lifelong education. Ethical and Moral values One of the greatest challenges in nursing is how to integrate appropriately one’s own values and beliefs into the professional practice. The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient and the patient’s family. Patient respect, advocacy, honesty, and privacy are four qualities that any human deserves and are especially important in the healthcare setting.
The American Nurses Association states, the nurse promotes for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient (Association, 2001). Although it is important to understand that these qualities are nursing roles, the nurse must collaborate with all healthcare providers such as doctors, therapists, social workers and case mangers using these qualities to maintain the patient’s rights and needs. With a wide array of religions, cultures, and values it is not practical for everyone to come to n agreement of one single belief system. In my practice I establish relationships with parents of the critically ill infants I care for. As I matured as a nurse, I have learned, through parent-nurse relationships, to respect their beliefs and values without prejudice. Such consideration does not suggest that I necessarily agree with or condone their choices, but I respect the parents themselves as human beings. Caring Nursing practice embraces the totality of human experience from before birth through death in a most human and intimate manner.
Nurses are closely involved in the unique moments of human tragedy and human triumph. It is the nurse who attends to the patient at a time when the patient is most vulnerable and the patient’s needs are critical for survival. In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurses face this situation often. I have been at a patient’s bedside working for hours to save a baby’s life that results in the crushing pain of watching a parent choose to end their baby’s agony and let their baby go.
It is through these extremely difficult times that the extent of caring nursing is seen. According to Jean Watson (2008) in her book, Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring, she states that “Caring science as a starting point for nursing as a field of study offers a distinct disciplinary foundation for the profession; it provides an ethical, moral, values-guided meta-narrative for its science and its human phenomena, its approach to caring-healing-person-nature-universe.
It reintroduces spirit and sacred dimensions back into our work and life and world” (Watson, 2008). This foundation of caring is inherent in my belief system. In the nursing profession you are not only caring for the patient’s physical health, but also their emotional needs. In the NICU, this also includes the parents and their family. I find that in my day-to-day interaction with parents, I am not only caring for their infant’s medical needs but also for their emotional well-being.
As nurses, we give them ourselves, a caring individual that they can open up a personal corner of their lives to and share with us their deepest fears, as we care for them or their loved one during one of the most awkward and distressing times of their lives. We see them at their worst and at their best, and through it all they trust us implicitly to be caring, confidential and skilled. Education I believe knowledge is the core of success in nursing. A nurse must know diseases and disease processes.
To be effective as a nurse one must be able to apply classroom knowledge and skills to the workplace. Nursing education is more than just memorizing facts. It requires learning the underlying principles, analyzing them, and then, applying them to our everyday clinical practice. Because the demands and the accountability of the nursing profession are so great, nursing education at any level must be a partnership between student and the educator. Nurses have the unique opportunity to promote health in patients through education.
From diaper changing to at home care, informing and educating the baby’s parents is part of my everyday nursing duties in the NICU. Nursing education is constantly evolving with new and developing nursing theories. A Caring Science curriculum lays a solid foundation for reconnecting the heart, soul, mind, emotions, and the human spirit of students and teachers alike; it invites passion, intellect, moral ideals, and love into our classrooms and curriculum, restoring humanity and human caring-healing knowledge and practices for now and the future (Hills & Watson, 2011).
I believe that education in nursing is part of my everyday practice. As I grow in my profession, I learn new ideas and principles as well as new policies and procedures. My Philosophy My personal belief system has always been that a nurse should possess strong ethical and moral values, a passion for caring, and a commitment to lifelong education. My ethical beliefs are grounded in what I believe is fair and just. I will advocate for my patient’s rights and uphold my patient’s beliefs without prejudice. My moral values are based in my belief that all persons deserve equality.
I will treat my patients with equal rights and dignity. I believe a nurse should have a strong passion for caring. It is important to me to provide my patients and their families the highest quality nursing care possible while creating a caring, respectful, and healing environment. I believe nurses have a commitment to keep current in knowledge and skills and seek self-enhancement through perpetual learning. By doing this, we will not remain stagnant in our beliefs, but evolve professionally through our nursing practice and technological advances.
My vision for myself as a nurse is that I will always continue learning, not only from textbooks, but from interactions with other members of the healthcare team and by being involved in the experiences of the patients and their families. I want to learn each day, and apply what I’ve learned to improve my skills as a nurse. Conclusion Florence Nightingale once stated, “A profession, a trade, a necessary occupation, something to fill and employ all my faculties, I have always felt essential to me, I have always longed for, consciously or not. During a middle part of my life, college education, acquirement, I longed for, but that was temporary.
The first thought I can remember, and the last, was nursing work…” (Cook, 1913). In nursing school, I remember learning about Florence Nightingale and her theories. I thought she was such a brave and courageous woman of her time. I wanted to be like her and go out into my nursing career dedicated to changing the world. As I have matured and grown as a nurse I still have feelings of wanting to change the world, only the world I speak of is a forty eight bed neonatal intensive care unit. I am blessed with helping change the world of the babies; I like to call little angels, and their parents. Sometimes the change is wonderful and sometimes it is heartbreaking but I consider it an honor to be their nurse.
Association, T. A. (2001, June 30). Code of Ethics for Nurses. Retrieved from American Nurses Association: http://www. nursingworld. org Cook, S. E. (1913). The Life of Florance Nightingale. London: Macmillan and Co. , limited. Hills, M. , & Watson, J. (2011). Creating a Caring Science Curriculum: An Emancipatory Pedagogy for Nursing. New York, New York: Springer Publishing Company,LLC. Watson, J. (2008). Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado.