Philosophy of Nursing

Philosophy of Nursing Paper

Nurs 300 – Introduction to Nursing Theories and Concepts I

Nurs 431 – Transition to Professional Nursing Practice


The purpose of this assignment is to enable the student to rediscover his or her personal philosophy of nursing, as it exists upon the completion of the baccalaureate-nursing program.

Student Approach to Assignment

            In developing a philosophy for nursing, both as a sophomore and as a senior nursing student, I was able to recognize my own core values and beliefs related to the profession of nursing. While re-exploring my philosophy as written in the first semester of nursing school, I was able to recognize that throughout nursing school my goals and aspirations have changed and my philosophy has become a bit more realistic, but my core beliefs and values have remained constant. My experience and newfound interest in the critical care setting has altered my priorities, but not my core values.

Reason for Inclusion of the Assignment in the Portfolio

             The philosophy of nursing papers were included in the nursing portfolio because they present an opportunity to discuss core values and beliefs related to the nursing profession as a whole. Furthermore, examples of these values that were discussed in the senior nursing philosophy paper also demonstrate the use of communication, leadership, professionalism, and culture in encounters with patients and families throughout nursing school

 v Communication

Ø  Uses therapeutic communication within the nurse-patient relationship.

§  Example: In an example discussed in the Nurs 432 Philosophy paper, I discussed a particular patient that I cared for on the Progressive Care Unit (PCU) at Sentara Leigh. The patient had an extensive medical history, including a stroke resulting in right-sided weakness and the need for a tracheostomy. The patient used a dry-erase board in order to communicate with doctors and nurses, but his weakness resulted in handwriting that was illegible. The doctors and nurses that cared for him did not have the time required to decipher his handwriting in order to understand his questions. As the nursing student assigned to his care, I spent a great deal of time interpreting his messages, as well as rewriting them so that the doctor would be able to understand them during his rounds. I demonstrated the use of therapeutic communication by being patient and taking the time to make sure the patient’s questions would be heard and answered by his doctors.

Ø  Adapts communication methods to patients with special needs.

§  Example: In the example discussed above, I adapted communication methods for the patient who had a tracheostomy and could not communicate verbally. His poor handwriting made communication with a dry-erase board too time consuming for many of the doctors and nurses, so I dedicated much of my day to communicating with the patient and ensuring that his concerns would be acknowledged.

  v Leadership

Ø  Assumes a leadership role within one’s scope of practice as a designer, manager, and coordinator of health care to meet the special needs of vulnerable populations in a variety of practice settings.

§  Example: As a junior level-nursing student in the example discussed previously, my scope of practice did not allow for a strong leadership role. My actions in communicating with the patient and ensuring that the message was received by his doctors, however, served as a method of coordinating care between the doctors, nurses, and the patient. 

  v Professionalism

Ø  Demonstrates accountability for one’s own professional practice.

§  Example: In taking the time to ensure that my patient’s questions could be answered, I was advocating for him as well as demonstrating accountability for my own professional practice. I was fulfilling my responsibility as the nursing student assigned to that patient’s care, while meeting the requirements of my definition of nursing discussed in the paper by optimizing the health of my patient and alleviating his suffering.

Ø  Applies an ethical decision-making framework and legal guidelines to clinical situations that incorporate moral concepts, professional ethics, and advocacy for patient well-being and preferences.

§  Example: In re-writing my patient’s questions for his doctor, I was following an ethical decision-making framework in which I owed it to my patient to do the best of my ability to make sure his doctor recognized his concerns. In doing so, I was advocating for his well-being and his preferences, in that his questions were related to aspects of his care such as passive range of motion and PO fluids. 

  v Culture

Ø  Articulates an understanding of how human behavior is affected by culture, race, religion, gender, lifestyle, and age.

§   Example: In my second example discussed in the Nurs 431 Philosophy paper, I wrote about a patient at CHKD of the Rastafarian religion. The patient’s mother had several requests related to his care, such as keeping a bible in his bed, a black beaded bracelet on his wrist, and crosses drawn in black ink on the soles of his feet. I recognized in the paper that when the patient and his family’s requests were met, their health was optimized and they were in a situation that better promoted healing.

Ø  Demonstrates sensitivity to personal and cultural definitions of health, and how these beliefs influence an individual’s reactions to the illness experience and end of life.

§  Example: In the previously discussed example, I recognized that the family’s definition of health and the rituals they partake in in times of health versus times of sickness influence their reaction to their son’s acute illness, as well as chronic conditions. For this family, the drawing of the crosses on the soles of the feet was a ritual that they performed only when hospitalized or sick, which for their child had been the majority of his life.

Ø  Integrates knowledge of cultural diversity in performing nursing interventions.

§  Example: As mentioned in the previous sections related to culture, I discussed the various interventions I participated in in order to follow through with the family’s preferences related to their culture. 

Missy Gable,
Jul 13, 2011, 2:51 PM
Missy Gable,
Jul 13, 2011, 2:51 PM