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Personal Nursing Philosophy

Rodricka D. Richardson

Delaware Technical Community College


Professional Nursing & Education

Values and Beliefs

Throughout life, I have always been very caring and felt drawn to the plight of others,

especially those of whom have voices that are not always heard, feeling a need to help. It was not

surprising to me when I took a personality test that I was deemed an advocate. Being a voice for

those who have no voice, being able to be a conduit for change for people who are in severe need

of change is something I am very passionate about. I believe that is the responsibility of humans

to take care of and respect each other. This belief is what drives and guides my practice as a

registered nurse. Nurses are put in a special place, whether they work at the bedside or

elsewhere, to be able to advocate for patients in a variety of ways. Nurses can be conduits for

important reform, whether the change be for an individual or a group of people. Being able to

assist others and make positive changes in their life is why I became a nurse, committing myself

to lifelong caring and learning. My personal nursing philosophy is to provide safe holistic care of

patients by educational advancement, utilization of knowledge and data, and practicing respect,

teamwork, compassion, and advocacy.

Education and Lifelong Learning

In high school, I began to learn to become uncomfortable in not knowing, in challenging

what I myself believe to be true to try to aim to discover what is demonstrated to be true. This

journey of learning has been ongoing, and throughout this time I have discovered a passion for

advancing knowledge and education. Throughout college, I was told general education courses

were simply something meant to keep you busy, however as I moved through these courses,

interacting with classmates and professors, I realized how each class could benefit me throughout

my career. My English and communication courses contribute to my being able to effectively


communicate verbal or written messages with peers, patients and family, as well as providing the

foundation to understanding how to do adequate research. The sciences provided a groundwork

to what I learned in my nursing courses and assist in my understanding of how disease processes

can affect my patients. In nursing practice, general education courses provide the foundation

which supports the nurse in evaluation, planning, assessment, diagnosis, and decision making.

Even with a strong educational foundation, nurses must commit to learning throughout their


Lifelong learning is something no one ever stops doing. As a species, learning has been

what has allowed humans to develop and advance throughout the ages. Healthcare is an area in

which the attainment of knowledge advanced the treatment of illness. It is also an everchanging

field with new information and research constantly changing the way that we understand how

diseases occur, progress, and management and prevention of illness. Due to the constant

evolution of the field, nurses must commit to lifelong learning and education in order to provide

the best care for the patient population. Presently the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends

the nursing workforce be 80% baccalaureate educated by the year 2020 and the American Nurses

Association is encouraging proposals for nurses to attain a BSN within 10 years after becoming

licensed (Haverkamp & Ball, 2013, p. 144). I believe that attaining my bachelors will improve

on my practice and help me become a more well-rounded nurse. Having a BSN or higher has

been linked to better patient outcomes and improvement of critical thinking, leadership skills and

communication (Haverkamp & Ball, 2013, p. 145). Attaining my BSN will also allow me to

move forward in achieving an advanced practice degree. Outside of degree advancement, nurses

are also expected to maintain education by completing a certain number of continuing education

credits (CEU) yearly. As a person who loves learning, I feel it is a key component and

foundation to professional progression. Keeping up with current information and advancing my

education is a requirement in being a nurse who can provide the best possible, patient centered,

quality, safe care.

Nursing Theory

From a relatively young age, I have always been interested and open to learning more

about the people and the world around me. I believe that many people can be very closed minded

to cultures outside of their own, though it may not always be malicious or intended. Difference

can be difficult for many people to understand, especially if they have grown up with limited

outside cultural influence and experiences. When I became interested in nursing, I began

researching the healthcare experiences of different cultural and minority groups. The IOM notes

that there is evidence that supports that racial and ethnic disparities exist and affect a span of

diseases and healthcare services (“ASHP”, 2014). These disparities show that there is a lack of

provision of holistic and patient centered care to certain groups. Healthcare costs increase due to

these inequalities and health outcomes of diverse patient populations are negatively affected

(Ayanian, 2015). As I progress in my career, I want this to be my focus and something I strive to

improve upon. The nursing theory that correlates most to my personal nursing philosophy and

what I plan to make a large part of my professional work is the theory of transcultural nursing

developed by Madeleine Leininger.

Transcultural nursing is becoming increasingly important as the world around us gets

smaller and more diverse. Racial and ethnic disparities are becoming more of a concern as the

population of minorities is expected to grow to over half the population by 2050 (“ASHP”,

2014). My personal philosophy centers itself on patient centered care and in order to provide

this, nurses must look at all aspects of a patient, including things such as literacy level and

religious beliefs, in order to determine the most effective delivery of care. Culture is no

exception to this. Having knowledge of other cultures and understanding how cultural beliefs and

traditions may impact an individual's health beliefs and care expectations is integral if nurses are

going to provide holistic, culturally and racially sensitive, care.

Mrs. Leininger defined transcultural nursing as 'A substantive area of study and practice

focused on comparative cultural care (caring) values, beliefs and practices of individuals or

groups of similar or different cultures.' (Murphy, 2006). This theory’s focus is educating and

preparing nurses to provide culturally competent care for a wide variety of cultures (Murphy,

2006). Discussions surrounding culture, race and ethnicity are often uncomfortable, but they do

not have to be. Being self-aware of one's own cultural beliefs and biases while working to

understand the patient’s culture can assist in encouraging cultural openness and decrease

discriminatory views that may impact how care is provided (Ansuya, 2012). Awareness and

recognition of internal biases allows nurses to actively work to prevent mismanagement of

patient care. These groups are also aware of the biases, discrimination and nuances they face

when seeking healthcare, which can discourage them from seeking it (Collins & Rocco, 2014, p.

6). I believe a huge part of addressing disparities and preventing them is for healthcare

practitioners to become more culturally competent and to increase the number of minority

healthcare workers. One of the Healthy People 2020 overarching goals is to “Achieve health

equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups” (“About Healthy People”,

n.d.). In order to achieve this goal, it is integral that transcultural nursing education and

initiatives become a key component of ongoing nursing education.

In my practice, I try to make myself aware of cultural practices or beliefs that are

important to my patient in order to assist in developing rapport and trust between patient and

myself. When the patient trusts the nurse and feel that their wishes are being respected, they are

more likely to be open and receptive to information as well as active participants in their care,

which may positively impact their health outcomes. I also understand that simply because

someone comes from a certain background does not mean they maintain all practices or beliefs.

Instead of assuming, which may cause the patient to feel discriminated against, I find it best to

ask the patient what their cultural practices and beliefs are. In actively trying to maintain cultural

awareness through education, research and discussions with patients, I believe I can provide

holistic patient centered care to anyone regardless of cultural difference.

Impact of Personal Wellness on Practice

In a profession as physically, mentally and emotionally overwhelming as nursing,

personal health and wellness is very important. Nurses tend to have mentally and emotionally

demanding days in which we work long hours and a variety of shifts. Research has shown that

shift work can be detrimental to overall human health, affecting an individual's ability to get

adequate sleep (Costa, 2010). Sleep is an important part of health as this is the time when the

human body restores and recharges. Lack of restful sleep can negatively impact metabolism,

cognitive function, digestion, mental health, and social life (Costa, 2010). The length of time

spent at work and time dedicated to family commitments, coupled with lack of sleep can also

make it difficult to find the time and energy to perform health promoting activities such as

exercise, healthy meal preparation and healthcare appointments, further compounding all the

negative results of minimal sleep.

In order to provide the best care for patients, nurses must also be at optimal health. Care

and compassion are two components of my personal philosophy and they encompass, not only

patients and their families, but nurses as caregivers as well. As a nurse working at bedside, I

struggle to make my health a priority, but I realize I must have care and compassion for myself.

If I remove the selfless caregiver hat and think of myself as the patient and not the caregiver, I

realize I must address the background and cultures I belong to in order to find a solution to better

my health. The nursing culture in hospitals and healthcare is ever changing, but some of the

changes do not yield positive impacts for nurses or other healthcare personnel. On an individual

personal level, I must address my own attitudes to health and wellness and work to make any

internal improvements to better my mental, physical and emotional well-being. It is also

important that healthcare organizations assess the companies work culture and the health risk

versus benefit to their employees who do shift work and collaborate with said employees to

develop a culture that yields improved overall health for workers (Costa, 2010). This does not

only benefit the employees, but the patients and organization as well. Happy, healthy, well rested

employees are less likely to make errors or miss signals of a decline in patient health, call out of

work less frequently and have improved productivity (Costa, 2010). This ultimately assists in the

support of provision safe and effective care. As a nurse, I must advocate for the profession I am

in to make changes that will benefit my health as well as work internally to maintain my best

level of wellness in order to perform best in my profession.

Conflict Management

The ability to effectively deal with conflict is an important skill to develop as a nurse.

Conflicts can arise at many levels on the field with patients, family members, peers or other team

members. Individuals deal with conflict differently, some handling it better than others. There

are five different conflict management styles. I tend to use the styles of collaborating, competing

and compromising. Depending on the conflict and the people involved however, I may use any

of the five management styles, however I prefer to utilize collaboration. I believe this style

promotes working together with team members, patients and their families to yield the best

results for the patients and assist in maintaining patient centered care. Collaboration allows for

everyone involved in the discussion to give their input and for their voices to be heard and

considered. Patients can make known their cultural, spiritual and personal beliefs and practices

and their expectations of care when utilizing collaboration. Nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists

and other health professionals can provide expert information to the discussion of patient care. In

this style of conflict management, everyone comes to an agreement based on collective input

about a solution, leaving all parties satisfied. While other management styles may be better

suited to other situations, in my opinion, utilizing collaboration in healthcare can yield optimal

results when used appropriately and supports my personal philosophy values such as caring,

communication and teamwork.

QSEN Competencies & Safety

The healthcare system has evolved over the years as humans, scientists and

healthcare professionals have come to better understand health, illness and wellness.

Though much knowledge has been gained, because error is a part of human nature, there

are always areas that can continue to be improved upon in order to attain safer practice.

The IOM recognized this and requested that a set of competencies, be integrated into the

education of healthcare professionals to help deliver the safest care (Sherwood & Zomordi,

2014, p. 15). In relation to nursing, these competencies are known as the Quality and

Safety Education for Nurses, or QSEN, competencies.

When I am providing care, I try to ensure that the patient and patients family are active and

involved in helping develop a healthcare plan that best suits their needs. This includes discovering

the most effective way to deliver information to the patient based on their education level, personal

beliefs, family structure and cultural background (Sherwood & Zomordi, 2014, p. 17). Patient

centered care is the QSEN competency that focuses on this. Evidence based practice is another

QSEN competency that utilizes research and evidence to provide the safest care and avoid errors

(Sherwood & Zomordi, 2014, pp. 18-19). It is my job as a nurse to ensure that the actions I take

while providing care are supported by evidence that show the method in use yields the safest and

most optimal results over other options.

Maintenance of the safety in healthcare also relies on the competency of teamwork and

collaboration. Utilizing this competency requires effective communication between healthcare

disciplines with respect for the expertise of each team member in order to provide quality care

(Sherwood & Zomordi, 2014, pp. 17-18). Miscommunication between team members about

patient care can be detrimental to the patient. As a new nurse, speaking up at times can be difficult

but it is important to speak up and advocate for the patient to maintain safety. I often utilize the

SBAR communication technique in conversation with the medical doctor to provide context and

background about what going on with the patient and what may be needed and express my

concerns. I also provide pertinent background information about patients and what nursing

interventions I have implemented to other healthcare staff members when working to collaborate

patient care in order to provide context. Working with team members from other disciplines has

taught me that we are all experts in our own areas and that we are all integral to the safety and

health of the patients.

Since I am a novice nurse, I frequently utilize resources that are made available to me to

ensure avoidance of errors. I reach out to more experienced nurses or the charge nurse when I

need help and utilize electronic sources to self-assist and find evidence that could assist in

determining the best course of action. These steps involve utilizing safety and informatics, which

is the competency that involves actively working to minimize risk to the patients and using

technology and information to help support decision making, as conduit for communication and

discussion (Sherwood & Zomordi, 2014, pp. 19-20). I also believe it is important to actively seek

out areas of improvement throughout the healthcare system to promote safety. Quality

improvement is a competency that is utilized to address areas or processes that require

improvement against national benchmarks and help improve on practice (Sherwood & Zomordi,

2014, p. 19). Things cannot improve if we do not seek out areas for improvement. Following the

QSEN competencies allows me as a nurse to contribute to and maintain a culture of quality and

safety within my practice.


Being a leader in nursing does not require years of experience or a position in a

managerial role. Many qualities make nurses leaders. The passion I have for nursing relates to

my humanistic views of the world and the passion I feel about social issues and how they can

impact healthcare outcomes. I am an advocate who believes that no one should have to

experience subpar care due to lack of access, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, gender,

sexual orientation or any of the many things that make us unique as human beings. I try to

educate myself on this topic and utilize the information in practice, to educate my peers and to

seek solutions. I wear the hat of a problem solver and educator in this profession. Having the

opportunity to educate others, especially nursing students, brings me great satisfaction. I feel that

nurses should nurture their young and when I take the time to do this, I take part in fostering a

culture of support and comradery. When I learn something new, I view that as an opportunity to

pass on this acquired knowledge to others. I teach patients on how to manage their illness, diets

and healthy lifestyle changes and reinforce positive habits. When a complication or issue arises, I

seek out solutions by using evidence, my knowledge, and working together with peers, the

patients or other team members.

Being a team player and providing support and encouragement to others is also a big part

of leading. When I see another nurse drowning in their assignment, I provide words of

encouragement and offer to assist in any way that I can. I also work to collaborate and coordinate

care, manage conflict, and promote safe practice. I take pride in practicing in a way that models

patient centered, holistic and safe care in order to be an example and positive role model to

others. I stand in confidence in stating that I am a nurse because I am a leader. I lead by standing

strong in my personal philosophy of nursing, by working to maintain and provide safe holistic

care of patients by educational advancement, utilization of knowledge and data, and practicing

respect, teamwork, compassion, and advocacy.



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