Philosophy of Nursing: The Art and Science of Caring

According to Chitty (2004), “Philosophies of nursing are statements of beliefs about nursing and expressions of values in nursing that are used as bases for thinking and activity” (p. 230).

Developing a personal philosophy of nursing must integrate the elements of nursing, the individual, the environment, health, and illness. Throughout this paper, this author will describe a personal nursing philosophy developed while working in an intensive care unit. Nursing is the art of incorporating trust, compassion, and caring for the client, as well as science of the pursuit of knowledge, all while maintaining personal beliefs and values.The nursing profession is learned and practiced as an art as well as a scientific skills and knowledge obtained through education and professional experience.

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Human caring involves a will and commitment to care, values, knowledge, caring actions and their consequences (Blais & Hayes, 2011). The theory of human caring was developed by Jean Watson in 1979 to reflect her views on the caring science. The author agrees with Watson’s model because it demonstrates the interrelationship that exists between the nurse and the patient, thereby forming a process of caring from one human being to another (Bailey, 2009).Individual To succeed as a nurse, one must look past the issues and first see just the person.

Not only does the nurse care for the person, the caring must extend to the family as well. Family members’ emotional connections to the patient provide additional and important knowledge to the nurse that may influence the care and the patient’s health (Mitchell, Chaboyer, Burmeister, & Foster, 2009). The client is not considered as just an individual receiving care, but also their family and/or the community in which they live are considered (Lachman, 2009).The focus of the nursing profession has to be the client.

The client deserves fair and caring treatment with respect and dignity regardless of gender, class, race, ethnicity, health, or economic status. Through effective communication, nurses must determine the client’s perception of their health in order to provide meaningful care (Blais & Hayes, 2011). With some exception, patients have little if no choice about the nurses who cares for them, and similarly, few nurses can choose their patients (Hussey, 2009).Therefore, the art of getting to know the client, understanding them on a personal level, and providing them with the compassion they deserve is what makes a great nurse.

This allows a nurse to provide holistic care, with a holistic philosophy of caring for the whole person, not just the diagnosis. “The holistic nursing perspective requires nurses to view each person as a biopsychosocial being with a spiritual core” (Catalano, 2006, p. 408). This author feels an important aspect of nursing that is frequently overlooked is that nurses will encounter situations in which a client will express concerns regarding spirituality.

To deal with this, and to know where to go for help in dealing with this topic, a nurse needs to know of its importance and have the skills and sensitivity to cope with these difficult topics (Hussey, 2009). Nurses inevitably need the skill of caring for the client’s spiritual health as well as the medical, physical, social, and psychological health. Environment The health care environment consists of external and internal influences. According to Watson, “A caring environment offers the development of potential while allowing the person to choose the best action for the self at a given point in time” (Blais & Hayes, 2011, p.

09). Depending on the situation, a therapeutic environment provided by the nurse needs to be conducive to the healing process or the process of dying.Clients affect and are effected by their environments. Teaching is an external influence that offers tremendous value and service when provided to the client.

A knowledgeable nurse knows that every moment can be a teachable moment. Practicing nurses become empowered through their abilities to use their knowledge to change client perspectives, organize critical thinking, and articulate the reasoning for decision making, actions, and goals (Kenney, 2002).Health and Illness The terms of health and illness are both subjective. It has been observed by this author that an individual with a tumor could feel healthy, whereas an individual with no disease or sickness could feel ill.

A nurse must recognize health and illness as an individual state of being that is defined only by the client. Health and illness has been viewed as opposite ends of a health continuum, ranging from optimal wellness to death and includes the six dimensions defined by the client that affect the movement along this continuum (Blais & Hayes, 2011).When a client is ill, they are at their most vulnerable state. During this time the nurse must recognize this and be aware of the importance of gaining client trust.

The contact between the client and nurse usually comes about from a position of unfamiliarity and the usual everyday clues about what it means to trust someone may be absent (Sellman, 20007). Nursing What nursing is can be defined in many ways. It is a profession that contributes to society through a basis of knowledge and a development of caring for individuals, sick, or well.According to Van der Cingel (2009), the role of the nurse is socially sanctioned and aims to enhance the health and well being of others.

For the nursing professional, it is a lifelong learning process. Nurses are caregivers, advocates, teachers, supporters, and listeners. Especially important to this author, nursing is a passion. Nursing is integrated into all facets of life; they are there to welcome life in the beginning and to aide the process of life at the end.

Nursing is truly the definition of altruism or the practice of unselfish concern or devotion to the welfare of others (Blais & Hayes, 2011).Conclusion Nurses should base their foundation of nursing on a personal philosophy. Over time, with experience and personal growth, this personal philosophy will change. During this change from professional growth, the nurse needs to remain trustworthy, compassionate, caring and knowledgeable.

Florence Nightingale stated in 1860 and remains true today that “Good nursing consists simply in observing the little things which are common to all sick, and those which are particular to each sick individual (p. 160).

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Philosophy of Nursing: The Art and Science of Caring. (2017, May 09). Retrieved from