The Essence of Nursing: Caring, Values, and Future Vision


With seventeen years of experience in the nursing profession, I have come to realize that each day presents a unique learning opportunity. As my journey in nursing has evolved, so have my beliefs and values. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that nursing, at its core, is grounded in unwavering principles. The essence of nursing, encompassing caring, empathy, honesty, trust, communication, and respect, transcends all theories. In this essay, I will discuss my personal calling to the nursing profession, my vision for the future in nursing, as well as how my beliefs and values relate to patients, families, and healthcare providers.

Choice of Nursing

My journey into nursing was not merely a career choice; it was a calling. From a young age, I possessed a deep desire to care for others, provide comfort, and lend a compassionate ear. My grandmother, herself a nurse, played a pivotal role in shaping my path towards nursing. I vividly recall observing her with immense respect as she donned her pristine uniform and nursing cap before tending to her patients.

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Her commitment, understanding, and compassion left an indelible mark on me, instilling values of integrity, honor, and loyalty to the care of others.

At the age of sixteen, while still in the tenth grade, I faced the challenge of an unexpected pregnancy. Despite the hurdles, I remained determined not to become a statistic. Before my daughter's birth, I completed my GED, and just three months after her arrival, I embarked on college classes at the community college.

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The career counselor at the college recognized my potential and suggested nursing as a path. Encouraged by my grandmother, who shared an invaluable nursing rule – that a nurse should not leave the profession without finding a successor – I persevered. Five years, two children, and a divorce later, I successfully completed nursing school.

I firmly believe that nursing was not merely a career choice but a calling that propelled me to overcome numerous obstacles. Even after seventeen years in the profession, the calling persists, urging me to continue learning, improving, and inspiring others. Currently, nursing beckons me to further my education, pursuing both a BSN and MSN, marking the next phase of my career.

The Essence of Nursing

The core essence of nursing extends beyond a mere occupation or financial pursuit. At its heart, nursing embodies caring, empathy, honesty, trust, communication, and respect. Caring serves as the foundational element of nursing, requiring nurses to give of themselves to others, thus capturing the essence of the profession. According to the American Nurses Association (ANA), professional nursing, in its very essence, involves the provision of a caring relationship that promotes health and healing. This principle remains unshaken over the years.

Respect for patients and their beliefs is another fundamental core value in nursing. It is paramount for establishing trust, which, in turn, facilitates open communication between the patient and the nurse. Effective listening, encompassing both verbal and nonverbal communication, plays a pivotal role in nurturing this trust. Jean Watson's Caring Theory elaborates on ten carative factors that contribute to the establishment of a caring relationship between nurses and patients.

Regrettably, the politics surrounding nursing can have adverse effects on these core nursing principles. Hospital politics can impact patients, families, staff, and even the broader community. They affect relationships within departments and staff ratios, inevitably influencing the perception of nursing as a whole. Negative relationships and poor communication skills can lead to a perception of nursing as unqualified or uncaring, a perception that is challenging to rectify once ingrained.

Beliefs and Values

I firmly believe that patients have the inherent right to make decisions about their own bodies. However, this right is often impeded by a lack of education, particularly among first-generation Mexican immigrants in Texas. Census data from 2010 revealed that educational opportunities for many Mexican immigrants were limited, with males receiving an average of 8.8 years of education and females 8.5 years. In some indigenous areas of Mexico, this figure plummeted to a mere 2.5 years. To enhance informed consent comprehension, federal agencies like the FDA, the Office for Human Research Protection, and the National Cancer Institute recommend consent forms written at a 6th to 8th-grade reading level, but there remains a disparity between these recommendations and the actual consent forms produced by these agencies, with some averaging a reading level as high as 14.

Families play a pivotal role in health promotion and decision-making, and a patient's cultural beliefs and values can significantly influence their perception of the healthcare system. For instance, the Gypsy culture tends to avoid hospitals whenever possible, only seeking medical attention in life-threatening situations or crises. The Hispanic immigrant population may hesitate to seek medical care due to immigration fears, considering clinical staff as potential members of government agencies such as INS. Furthermore, among Hispanics, the extended family provides crucial support, and family decisions often take precedence over decisions made by healthcare providers.

One of my beliefs is that healthcare providers have become overly specialized, often neglecting holistic patient care. The shift towards Advanced Practice Nurses serving as primary healthcare providers promises to address this issue and offer a more comprehensive approach to patient care. Nurses, guided by Jean Watson's carative theory, strive to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of their patients, recognizing the importance of creating a nurturing environment that supports human caring and facilitates patients' primary human requirements.

Reflecting on my own health, I realized that I was not setting an exemplary standard for the nursing profession. While I had consistently educated my patients about diet modification and exercise, I had neglected to follow my own advice. This realization prompted me to become more conscientious about my nutritional intake and daily exercise routine. I began scheduling annual physicals to assess my health and discuss a care plan with my healthcare provider. I firmly believe that, as a nurse, I should embody the principles I advocate for, striving to be the best version of myself, even at forty-one years old.

Vision for the Future

My future in nursing holds several exciting prospects. I am currently employed as a staff nurse in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) within the Perioperative Services Department of our hospital. My responsibilities encompass direct patient care, relief charge duties, staffing assignments, and conflict resolution. Over the next two years, I plan to obtain certification in my specialty through ASPAN while simultaneously pursuing my MSN degree. Our hospital is on a growth trajectory, with the Perioperative Services Department slated for expansion, doubling both in size and patient capacity over the next three years. This growth aligns with my career aspirations and offers a multitude of opportunities for professional development.

One of my passions lies in precepting new nurses and students, providing encouragement, monitoring quality indicators, and formulating policies and procedures. In five years, I aspire to complete my MSN degree as a Clinical Nurse Leader and secure a permanent preceptor position within Perioperative Services. This role will allow me to impart my knowledge and experience to the next generation of nurses, influencing the future of nursing one nurse at a time.

Looking a decade into the future, I hope to have found my niche within the nursing profession. My goal is to continue shaping the future of nursing, even if it means doing so one nurse at a time. I am committed to nursing as a lifelong vocation, as long as my physical abilities permit.


My journey in nursing has been characterized by determination, adaptability, a thirst for learning, and strong organizational skills. The unwavering support from my family and friends has played a pivotal role in my success. Additionally, the encouragement and guidance from my peers have fueled my determination to complete my degree. While the road ahead may be challenging, with stress looming as a significant obstacle, I eagerly anticipate these challenges as I pursue my BSN degree.

Updated: Jan 17, 2024
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The Essence of Nursing: Caring, Values, and Future Vision. (2016, Mar 05). Retrieved from

The Essence of Nursing: Caring, Values, and Future Vision essay
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