I was twelve years old, sitting next to my little sister in the hospital room. I could hear ‘beeping’ and ‘whooshing’ from the machines in the room. I remember wondering what all of the machines were doing and why they were connected to every part of my sister. As I look back, one person truly resonates with me: the nurse. The loss of my little sister has forever changed the person I am and the person I strive to be. The nurse in charge of her care was one of those influential moments. She showed compassion and empathy. She made the most tragic experience of my life, a little less scary. The experiences in one’s life mold the foundation of values and beliefs. My sister’s nurse embodies the true character I deem fit to influence my nursing philosophy. Furthermore, with more experiences and knowledge, I find my foundation and my own personal nursing philosophy continues to adapt with each day. The practice of nursing and the dynamic relationship between individuals, whether that be a nurse, a patient, family, or a provider, and the environment plays an integral role in one’s health (McNicholas, 2017).
Nursing metaparadigm is a statement and framework that guides structure and practice in nursing. Metaparadigm involves, first, a recipient of the nursing care: a patient. A person’s “body is made of atoms” (Hewitt, 2018). Atoms primarily include hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. These atoms complete the multidimensional system viewed as a person. A person is a dynamic open system changing in correlation with the environment (Black, 2017). Each individual is unique with diverse and complex components that encompass the whole person. The actions and behaviors are determined and motivated by needs whether that be psycho-socially, biologically, or physiologically to maintain homeostasis: balance.
Furthermore, an environment affects the individual person and the overall well-being of a person. An environment, similar to a person, is a dynamic concept, continually changing and adapting. The setting and landscape of an area determines an environment which includes physical aspects, like weather, air quality, water quality and geographic locations. This concept has effects on biological and physiological states of a human being. A more intimate environment involves the individual’s family and social culture which affects psychosocial environment.
In correlation, the interaction between the individual and the environment That environment “can either promote or interfere with homeostasis and well-being of the individual” (Black, 2017, p. 155). Health is more than the physiological response. I believe health encompasses a holistic view of a patient over a life span, specifically the oscillation between wellness and illness. Health is a multifaceted component that may hold different definitions to different people. I find health to be a state of homeostasis, when “interdependent elements of life” are in balance (Black, 2017, p. 154). When those elements are out of equilibrium, illness may result. For instance, if an individual is in an unhealthy relationship and has many other life stressors. The unhealthy environment may weaken the individual’s immune system and mental health, which may result in illness.
The nursing metaparadigm includes the key components of a nurse and the role a nurse plays in the healthcare team. Idaho Code § 54-1402 defines a license practicing nurse as one whose “acts and services require formal nursing education and specialized knowledge, judgment and skill, which acts and services assist individuals, groups, communities and populations in order to promote, maintain or restore optimal health and well-being throughout the life process.” I believe a nurse is an educated and integral part of the healthcare team that brings personalize care and empathy to patients. The act of nursing should connotates the word nurturing to me. I again think of that nurse that was working with my sister and I remember the calming affect she had on me. She took the time to not only take care of my sister but ensure that my family and me understood every part of the process. Nursing is developing personal relationship with the patient and family members while maintaining a professional boundary to ensure the best possible care for the patient.
Many influential voices have contributed to the continually evolving practice of nursing (Cleary, Visentin, West, Lopez, & Kornhaber, 2018). A more recent voice in nursing stood out to my personal values. Jean Watson’s work evolved from the focus of human-to-human relationships between the patient and nurse. Watson’s theory underscores the importance of “an environment of trust, understanding, and openness so that the patient and [the nurse] can work together in meeting his or her needs” (Black, 2017, p. 178). A key component of Watson’s philosophy I will strive to embody is a genuine attitude of caring for the patient. The patient deserves the utmost respect and human care to promote and protect individual worth and dignity. To incorporate Watson’s philosophy, I must base my nursing practice on my own mental well-being as well as a strong foundation of scientific knowledge based on continual development and research.
With all the above in mind, my personal nursing philosophy will promote not only my patient’s well-being, but my own health. A nurse is a care-taker, a nurturer, a scientist, a mediator, and most importantly, a person. I will recognize that I am a person that also must maintain a balance within my own environment to protect and promote my own health. A recent study examined predictors of resilience in baccalaureate nursing student, which found “resilience is positively correlated to mindfulness and empathy” (Mathad, Pradhan, & Rajesh, 2017). The American Psychological Association, defined resilience as, “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress” (Mathad et al., 2017). I want to be resilient and I believe a strong philosophy and belief system will forecast my resilience as a nurse. In correlation, “nursing satisfaction will improve patient experience” (McNicholas, 2017).
My philosophy will be grounded on my own life experience with influences from elders, who continue to expand the nursing field. The most influential moment in my life was losing my little sister, but from that I will remember the small personal efforts that the nurse made to mitigate the situation for me. I want to take the extra time to help a patient or a family member to feel more comfortable. As a nurse, I want to be a source for the patient whether that be for medical knowledge or for a human connection. I want to be a memorable part of a patient’s experience in a healthcare system that, at times, can feel impersonal.
All in all, my personal philosophy will continue to grow and evolve with my personal experiences. I would like to take my own experiences and remember that one’s health is precious and my actions as a nurse and a human being should reflect that belief. I will advocate for my patient’s health as well as my own health.