McCurry et al. (2006) quotes, ‘By using nursing models and theories congruent with our philosophical perspectives, nursing knowledge is advanced and practicing nurses become empowered through their ability to use knowledge to transform perspectives, organize critical thinking and articulate rationales for decision making, actions and goals.’ (p.50) Nursing is able to take philosophy and the knowledge gained through clinical experience and increase our abilities as nurses. It allows us to develop better theories and increase the end results for our patients. McCurry (2006) states, “Science theories do not stand alone, but rather, validated theories, together with their philosophical bases and disciplinary goals, are the guiding framework for practice.” (p. 43) Theories and philosophy bases form structured ideas for nursing practice.
Critical philosophy is a form of critical thinking that helps to expose problems. According to Kim (1999), “From the critical philosophy perspective, nursing practice is viewed as a form of social life in which different forms of domination, distortions and misunderstandings are possible.” (p. 1207) Nursing theories need the critical thinking in the form of critical philosophy to help determine what in nursing practice may need to be changed to create better results. Kalofissudis (2007) discusses that science is bonded with philosophy due to generally and universally accepted truths which results in the formation of nursing science. Nursing is a discipline which is gained through experiences and education. Many nursing theorist have referenced the work of philosophers such as Aristotle. “According to Aristotle, human inquiry and behavior were considered to be guided by the end or goal, which is a particular good. (McCurry, 2006, p. 44). The goal in nursing is producing the best result for our patients. This is increased by the use of philosophy in nursing education.
Grace (2013) speaks of how philosophical inquiry is a three step process that helps nursing knowledge expand. She states you must first use “critical consciousness” (p. 64) which is a self reflection process to determine the ethics behind each actions. The second step discussed is analyzing all actions or problems. The third step applying new knowledge gained from these steps. In this case the philosophy helps nurses to assess themselves and the actions taken and apply the new knowledge in future nursing situations. In Kim’s paper similar steps are mentioned for a method to improve nursing practice and knowledge. “This suggests that what nurses do in practice may not be as good as what the nurses believe they are doing.” (1999, p. 1206) The method that Kim discusses uses descriptive phase where the nurse examines actions, feelings and thoughts. The second phase is a reflective phase where the nurse analyzes the intentions and actions. The final step is when the nurse critiques what happened and changes the process for future nursing practice. Philosophy helps nursing to question and critique current nursing practice to create the best results possible for patients.
Grace, P., Perry, D. J. (April- June 2013). Philosophical inquiry and the goals of nursing: A critical approach for disciplinary knowledge development and action. Advances in Nursing Science, 36(2), 64-79. Kalofissudis, I. (2007).The Theory of Nursing Knowledge. Health Science Journal, 4. Kim, H. S. (1999). Critical reflective inquiry for knowledge development in nursing practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29(5), 1205-1212 McCurry, M. K., Hunter Revell, S. M. (2009). Knowledge for the good of the individual and society linking philosophy, disciplinary goals, theory and practice. Blackwell Publishing Ltd Nursing Philosophy, 11, 42-52.