In order to develop a good nursing philosophy, one must know its definition. According to Weidenbach, nursing philosophy “is an attitude toward life and reality that evolves from each nurse’s beliefs,” (Edwards, 1997). In other words, philosophy attempts to answer the question of what nursing is and explains the core beliefs and values of nursing.
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Originally, I had thought that my nursing philosophy is to treat all my patients as I would like to be treated and to always have a positive attitude to pass on to others. However, after reading and learning from other theorists as well as my peer’s response, I decided to reflect and revise my philosophy to be more specific to my nursing practice. My new nursing philosophy is to assist my patient achieve their optimal health and to improve their quality of life. This can be achieved through caring, individualized care and being professionally responsible.
Before I elaborate on my nursing philosophy, I will first identify the four nursing concepts that my philosophy of nursing addresses: person, environment, health, and nursing. I believe that a person is an integrated being with intrinsic dignity and worth. To be able to properly care for them, one must consider them as a whole. To do this, one must include their psychological, social, physical, spiritual and cultural aspects of their life when developing a care plan. Environment can be defined as the person’s external influencing factor. This includes the person’s demographics, socio-economic status, access of to health care, and social support. Nurses must keep in mind that a person is in constant interaction with their environment. A proper and comfortable environment can influence the person’s recovery time as well as adherence to prescribed treatment. My third concept, health, is the absence of illness. Nurses should focus on the patient’s main health complaint as well as other symptoms and overall wellness of the person. Nursing is the actual process of nursing. It is the process in which the nurse assess and diagnose patients and implement and evaluate care plan in order to restore patient’s health back to their optimal state of health. All interactions between the person, environment, health, and nursing are dynamic and interdependent.
In order to understand my nursing philosophy, I should first define what I mean by optimal health. Optimal health is the overall wellness and well-being of a person, not just the absence of disease. It is the health goals that a person can realistically achieve to feel their personal best and be able to carry activities of daily living independently.
Caring is a universal need that is an important in the delivery of nursing care. Through caring, nurses shows respect and appreciation for clients and their individuality (Cook, & Cullen, 2003). When we practice caring, patient feels connected, trust is easy to establish, and patient feels important and more supported. In addition, patient feels less anxious and more likely to be more cooperative and provide feedback which all makes for a better recovery time. According to Watson, it is during “transpersonal caring that nurses connect with the patient in the patient’s space, timeframe, and personal life,” (Cook, & Cullen, 2003). ). When nurses does not effectively transmits caring attitudes/actions to their patient and families, it can create tension and misunderstandings that can delay the patient’s recovery. Some ways that we can show caring is active listening, being aware and honoring patient’s beliefs, acknowledging their feelings and concerns, and to demonstrate understanding.
As we all know from previous experience, each of our patients are unique so we cannot use the one-size-fits-all approach. As a nurse, it is important to consider and assess our patients carefully so that we can develop an individualized care plan that is specific to the patient to increase the effectiveness of treatment. Also, when planning a care plan for patients, it is very important to determine a person’s perceptions of his or her own needs to be able to provide appropriate individualized care plan (Chitty, 2004). According to Maslow, humans, regardless of their backgrounds, have five basic needs (food, oxygen, rest, sex, activity, and shelter); however, it is still up to the individual to determine which basic needs is more important them (Chitty, 2004). For example, a 30-year-old homeless patient (patient #1) who have undergone CABG would probably value food and shelter more while the 30-year old corporate banker (patient #2) who had undergone the same surgery would probably be more concerned about his sex life and rest. In this case, the nurse would focus on collaborating with the social worker to arrange housing for patient #1 and physical therapy and education on appropriate sexual activities for patient #2. We should also take into consideration the patient’s beliefs, religion, culture, age, background, and resources into perspective into the patient’s plan.
Lastly, for nurses to work effectively with patients, they should be professionally responsible. One of nurse’s responsibilities is to ensure that their patients are safe at all times. Nurses should always assess their surroundings for hazards; perform safety checks such as 2 identifiers and “time out” before doing any minor (giving meds) and invasive procedures (surgery); and most importantly, to not practice any nursing therapies/treatment that you are not competent to do. Next, it is nurse’s responsibility to be prudent. Nurses should use good judgment when faced with a problem/dilemma. This means, using our critical thinking skills, common sense and evidenced-based practice to ensure patient’s health and safety. In addition, nurses should maintain integrity when dealing with patients and must be always accountable for their actions. As I mentioned earlier, trust is essential to nurse-patient relationship. Patients depends on nurses to accurately assess their condition and to communicate it to other health care members, to perform competent interventions and to maintain strict confidentiality. Nurses must also be accountable for their actions and to report errors that might jeopardize patient’s health and safety. Lastly, it is the nurse’s responsibility to increase their knowledge by pursuing higher education, attending work-shops and special classes.
By practicing caring, being professionally responsible and by providing individualized care, I hope that I will be assisting all my patients to achieve their optimal health.
Edwards, S.D. (1997). What is philosophy of nursing?. Journal of Advanced Nursing, (25), Retrieved from http://www.ruth-s-coleman-college-of-nursing.com/What_is_a_philosophy_Edwards_Art.pdf
Cook, P.R., & Cullen, J.A. (2003). Caring as an imperative for nursing education. Nursing Education Perspectives, Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3317/is_4_24/ai_n29019728/?tag=content;col1
Chitty, K.K. (2004). Professional nursing: concepts and challenges. Missouri: Saunders.
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