A nursing philosophy explains what nursing is and why nurses practice the way that they do. A philosophy of nursing is usually created by an individual nurses for use in their daily practice. Nurses use their personal philosophy to explain what he or she believes nursing is, the role of nursing in the healthcare field and how the nurse interacts with the patient (McEwen & Wills, 2014). A Nurses philosophy of nursing can guide him or her in practice each day. Before one can explore their own personal nursing philosophy they must understand how nursing theories and philosophies directly affect each. The philosophy of nursing has been defined as the study of problems that are ultimate, abstract and general (McEwen & Wills, 2014). These problems are concerned with the nature of existence, knowledge, morality, reason and human purpose.
Philosophy tries to discover knowledge and truth and attempts to content to identify what is valuable and important ( McEwen & Wills, 2014, p. 25). Philosophy’s most basic level, theory, has been described as a systematic explanation of an event in which constructs and concepts are identified and relationships are proposed and predictions made ( McEwen & Wills, 2014, p. 25). With that being said it is easy to see how a nurses’ philosophy can determine what type of model or theory he or she uses to guide the care he or she provides. Just as nursing theory can help to develop a nurses personal philosophy, it is as important to acknowledge that nursing theories and philosophies both provide a way for a nurse to approach daily practice and individual patients.
My personal philosophy of nursing is not based on a single theory but is a melting pot of many theories that has evovoled as my care has evolved over the years. My individual philosophy of nursing has resulted from being the product of an underserved community and seeing first hand how a healthcare provider’s individual bias can have a negative effect on patients outcome.
Nursing is considered the art of caring and is translated into existence by doing what is right, what is good and ultimately in the best of the patient. I believe that nursing care should be transcultural as well as culturally caring. Just as Florence Nightingale investigated what could be done to address the connection between poverty, sickness and early death during the Crimean war, I believe nursing today should focus on the identification of poverty and discrimination as important contextual factors for an understanding of social vulnerability to disease . I believe that cultural competency should be the driving force behind care and that nursing must seek to address health disparities and risk reductions in doing so.
As nurses as we tend to focus on patient education, interventions, treatments and diagnoses but forget about the human rights aspect and dignity of those who may be social outcasts or of inferior status. It is my philosophy that in order to provide culturally competent care to the underserved and disenfranchised one has to have an understanding of there own value system and biases. The health promotion model of Nola Pender is deep rooted in my philosophy because I believe as her health promotion model states, humans have the potential to change and engage in new behaviors willingly to achieve self-selected goals or outcomes. I believe that we all go through various stages when seeking to make health related changes and it is that intervention which is preformed at the right stage that will have the maximum impact in ensuring that the behavioral change will become a lasting one.
This weeks readings have influenced my view points by helping me to explore the various nursing theories and providing a framework for which to base my own personal nursing philosophy on. The readings have also help me to realize that I had already established my own personal philosophy based on my own personal values and professional growth as well as patient encounters, interactions and knowledge but had not thought of it in abrader sense.
Leininger’s cultural care theory of diversity and universality is based on a belief that people from different cultures can inform and are capable of guiding professionals so that they may receive the kind of care they desire or need from others. A major concept of this theory is cultural competent nursing care uses culturally-based care and health knowledge that is sensitive, creative and meaningful, in a ways to meet the general and needs of the individual or group.
An example of this is when my Hispanic patient asked me about the use of herbal supplements to address their medical illnesses. In an effort to provide care that is culturally competent I take the time to research the herb which the patient wishes to use to see if it will have a negative interaction on the prescribed treatment and if not, not only will I allow the patient to use them, but I encourage it’s use as well, while reinforcing to the patient the importance of continuing to use what I have prescribed also.
Another example of culturally competent care use in my practice is with flu vaccines, I have found in my practice that a lot of african americans decline the flu vaccine for fear of post vaccine illness. I respect the patients right to autonomy, but also educate them on the risk and benefits of the vaccine with hopes that at a subsequent visit they might change their mind. Philosophy and Knowledge Development
Knowledge development is derived from philosophy and I implement this in practice by providing culturally competent care based on Leininger’s cultural care theory of diversity and universality. Leinger’s theory states that people from different cultures can inform and are capable of guiding professionals so that they may receive the kind of care they desire or need(Tomey & Alligood, 2006). This is why I actively involve the patient in his or her care. Positivism and Post-positivism
Positivism supports mechanistic, and reductionist principles, where the complex is best understood in terms of basic components (McEwen & Wills, 2014). Post-positivism accepts the subject nature of inquiry while still supporting rigor and objective study through quantitative research method and is concerned with explanation and prediction of complex phenomenon, and recognized contextual variables (McEwen & Wills, 2014). Positivism is concerned with the positive application of knowledge to assist in human progress. In Nursing Positivism can be used to guide care.
This paper has given me the opportunity to recognize that I have always had a philosophy of nursing. Through self exploration this paper has given me an opportunity to put into words how highly I regard care being provided in a culturally competent manor, because it is by way of cultural competency that we can reach our truly most vulnerable population.
Flaskerud, J. (2007). Cultural competence: What effect on Reducing health disparities? Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 28(4), 431-434.
Maze, C.M. (2005). Registered nurses personal rights vs. professional responsibilities in caring for members of underserved and disenfranchised populations. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 14(5),546-554.
McEwen, M & Willis, E. (2014). Theoretical basis for nursing. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.
Tomey, A.M. & Alligood, M.R. (2006). Nursing theorists and their work(6th edition). Philadelphia, PA: Mosby.