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The ANA defines nursing as “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations” (American Nurses Association website, n.d.). The 4 metaparadigms of nursing are person, environment, health/illness, and nursing. All 4 are interrelated and describe the central interest of the nursing discipline (Gunther, 2011).
The ANA addresses the 4 concepts in its definition of nursing.
The person is central to the ANA definition. Nursing considers a person as a whole and not only the present illness. The nursing process allows a nurse to focus on a patient as an individual. In defining nursing, the ANA addresses the concept of The Person when referring to “the individuals, families, communities, and populations” (ANA website, n.d.). By collecting pertinent data, nurses identify patient’s current responses and the ability of that person to manage his/her care, and are then able to make clinical judgments about individual, family, or communities’ response to health problems or life processes.
One of the six essential features of nursing put forth by the ANA is “attention to the range of human experiences and responses to health and illness within the physical and social environments” (ANA website, n.d.). Nursing is concerned with human responses as they relate to the person’s environment whether it is in the hospital or in the community. With the help of the nursing process, nurses assess the person’s environment through the collection of subjective and objective data, perform risk assessments, identify safety hazards, and implement safety practices that will improve the patient’s health status and prevent further injury or illness.
The first two concepts are closely related to the third concept: Health/Illness. It is also addressed in the ANA’s definition of nursing. Nurses use critical thinking to promote and restore health, and prevent illness. Through evidence-based practice, nurses are able to provide scientific rationales for the nursing interventions chosen to reach appropriate patient goals. Emphasis is often placed on patient education, the basic purpose of which is to provide patients and their families with the necessary skills that will enable them to optimize their health and functioning (Taylor, Lillis, LeMone, & Lynn, 2011).
The fourth concept refers to the actions a nurse takes when providing patient care (Gunther, 2011). This concept incorporates within itself the first three and it is embodied in the ANA definition of nursing as a whole. Nurses use a unique knowledge base to diagnose and treat a wide range of human responses to a variety of factors, including not only the physiologic but also the sociologic, spiritual, and environmental factors. Nurses establish and carry out a plan of care for each person individually through the use of well-established actions to facilitate health and healing.
American Nurses Association website. (n.d.). www.nursingworld.org Gunther, M. (2011). Theories and frameworks for professional nursing practice. In J. L. Creasia, & E. E. Friberg (Eds.), Conceptual foundations: The bridge to professional nursing practice (5th ed.). Retrieved from https://evolve.elsevier.com Taylor, C. R., Lillis, C., LeMone, P., & Lynn, P. (2011). Fundamentals of nursing: The art and science of nursing care (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
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