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Personal Philosophy of Nursing

Everyone has their own set of values and beliefs. One of the great challenges for nurses
is how to incorporate their own values and beliefs into their professional practice. Several years
ago, my personal philosophy of nursing changed. Both my father-in-law and my niece were
diagnosed, treated, and ultimately died from cancer. As a result of those experiences, the
relationships I build with my patients and families became the focus of my nursing care. I
started thinking of the whole family as my patient. I was aware of the changes in my practice,
but I didnt recognize them as a change in my nursing philosophy. My nursing care had always
revolved around patient advocacy, and I am still a strong patient advocate, but my definition of
patient has changed.
According to the American Nurses Association (2004), Nursing is the protection,
promotion, and optimization of health and abilities; prevention of illness and injury; alleviation
of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human responses; and advocacy in health
care for individuals, families, communities, and populations (p. 7). I wholeheartedly agree with
their definition and thinks it encompasses the core values of nursing. I believe nursing represents
the very essence of caring and compassion, and does so within the scientific community. Each
nurse has their own reasons for entering the profession, and mine ultimately comes down to
caring and compassion.
To be a nurse, you must have a subject of your nursing care. I care for adults who are in
need of sedation for a procedure because of anticipated pain or anxiety. My personal nursing
philosophy is most like Katie Erikssons in regards to her definition of what constitutes a human
being. She emphasized that the human being is fundamentally a religious being, but all human
beings have not recognized this dimension (Alligood & Tomey, 2010, p. 97). Eriksson believes
in serving with love and existing for the sake of others; giving people faith and hope. According
to Alligood and Tomey (2010) her definition of a patient is someone who is suffering (p. 97). I
work with many cancer patients who are suffering and still have faith and hope. In my practice, I
strive to instill hope and a little humor into each encounter.
According to Jean Watson, the environment and the person are connected. According to
Alligood and Tomey (2010), she believes a magnetic field of expectation is created every time
the nurse enters their patients room (p. 99). I have experienced this phenomenon and I believe it
to be true. It only takes one, calm, healing personality in the room to change the entire
atmosphere. I believe people are emotionally connected to their environment, and nurses can
have a great influence on their patients emotional state.
I agree with Katie Erikssons statement, health and suffering are two sides of the same
movement, and they are integrated into each other and constantly present in a human beings
life (Alligood & Tomey, 2010, p. 200). But I also believe health is not just a medical state in
relation to illness, but it refers to a wholeness of oneself. I have seen essentially healthy and
emotionally well people who are dying and also people who are physically healthy but suffering
terribly. I see health as a fluid movement on a continuum that encompasses ones body, mind,
and soul.
When I think of the paradigm of nursing, I think of the saying physicians prescribe,
nurses provide. When I was a younger nurse, my definition of nursing would have included all
of the procedures and tasks nurses perform. As my nursing has evolved, my definition has
changed. I now believe nurturing, caring, and compassion to be more important than the tasks I
previously though so important. I agree with Katharine Kolcaba in that nurses assess, provide,
and reassess all while providing comfort and optimizing the patients comfort level (Alligood &
Tomey, 2010, p. 711). But I most often think of nursing as creating a relationship with the
patient and their family; which closely correlates with Jean Watsons theory of transpersonal
caring (Alligood & Tomey, 2010, p. 98). My nursing practice is centered around therapeutic
communication and building trusting relationships with my patients. I strive to connect with
each of my patients on their level and I give them my undivided attention while providing
compassionate care. Because of my personal experience as a patient and the family of a patient,
I have empathy for those I care for; this makes me a better nurse.
I work in the hospital setting. My hospital is a nursing run magnet facility where nurses
make most of the policies. Nursing theory can be seen everywhere you look at my facility.
Nursing theory helps nurses to process and analyze situations, plan nursing interventions, predict
patient outcomes, and then ultimately to evaluate its effectiveness. The number of advanced
practice nurses in my hospital is growing exponentially and with it you can see an increased
emphasis on nursing theory. Evidence-based practice is utilized to implement nursing protocols
for which nursing is driving patient care. It is an exciting time to be in nursing as it seems the
sky is the limit and anything is possible. It is not by accident that nursing run magnet hospitals
have better patient outcomes; this is nursing theory at work.

Alligood, M. R., & Tomey, A. M. (2010). Jean Watson: Watsons philosophy and theory of
transpersonal caring. In M. Curtis & D. Miles (Eds.), Nursing theorists and their work
(7
th
ed., pp. 91-112). Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
Alligood, M. R., & Tomey, A. M. (2010). Katharine Kolcaba: Theory of comfort. In M. Curtis &
D. Miles (Eds.), Nursing theorists and their work (7
th
ed., pp. 706-721). Maryland
Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
Alligood, M. R., & Tomey, A. M. (2010). Katie Eriksson: Theory of caritative caring. In M.
Curtis & D. Miles (Eds.), Nursing theorists and their work (7
th
ed., pp. 190-221).
Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
Wurzbacher, E. (Ed.). (2004). Nursing: Scope and standards of practice (pp. 7). Silver Springs,
MD: American Nurses Association.