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Running head: NURSING PHILOSOPHY

Philosophy on Nursing

Caitlin Kretschmar University of New Hampshire

NURSING PHILOSOPHY Abstract This paper contains my personal explanation on what Nursing means to me. It goes through the 5 cornerstones of the metaparadigm: Nursing, Health, Environment, Caring and Person. This paper thoroughly explains my opinion on these cornerstones and their participation in the meaning of Nursing. This paper references the mother of nursing Florence Nightingale. The definition of nursing as defined by The International Council of Nurses is also included.

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NURSING PHILOSOPHY Philosophy on Nursing “Nursing encompasses autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities, sick or well and in all settings” (International Council of Nurses, 2010). Nursing can be defined in many different ways; to me nursing is about the characteristics that a person is born with. It takes a special type of person to be a nurse; a person cannot develop the qualities needed for nursing. To me, a true nurse is someone who has a natural instinct to help people. They treat every patient with the same warmth and compassion as a mother would their child. The 5 cornerstones of the metaparadigm are Nursing, Health, Environment, Caring and Person. I took these 5 cornerstones and made them into the pillars of my nursing philosophy. Health is the state at which a persons mind, body, and soul are in. This state could be good or bad. If a person is in bad health or something is not right it is the nurses job to implement a plan and bring that person back to good health. A nurse’s job is to keep people in good health, and prevent bad health. I sincerely believe that a nurse should teach the patient ways to maintain proper health, so that they can continue to practice it when not in the hospital setting. A nurse is there to listen to the patient and advocate for their health. I think that patient teaching is one of the most important aspects of health. Environment plays a huge part in the role of nursing. The environment can be the difference between a short stay at the hospital or a quite long one. Florence Nightingale described the importance of cleanliness in “Notes on Nursing” (1969) cleanliness and fresh air from open windows with unremitting attention to the patient, are the only defence a true nurse either asks or needs (p.34). A patient always needs a clean and fresh environment to recover in. No matter what state a patient is in a nurse should always be

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NURSING PHILOSOPHY by their side. It is the minute things that a nurse does that leaves a lasting impression and helps the patient the most. This could be as simple as lowering the volume of a machine, to ensure a better nights sleep. The environment not only encompasses the setting, it involves the family, religion, culture, and the community. The nurse should be aware of the patient’s culture, and take that knowledge and apply it to the environment. A patient heals better in an environment in which they are comfortable. Caring is the most important characteristic that a nurse should have. Caring to me is showing genuine empathy to a patient, advocating for what is best for the patient no matter what, and doing whatever that patient needs at that moment. A nurse should be able to think what it must feel like to be in the patients position, what would they want if they were in that hospital bed? To me a nurse demonstrates caring by showing every person or patient compassion no matter what the circumstance is. Caring is looked upon as a simple act, but it is so much more. A caring nurse could make a difference in a patient’s emotional state and overall health. The combination of compassion, warmth, faith, love and selflessness would result in a great caring nurse. Also, caring to me is the ability of a nurse to obey patient nurse confidentiality. Every single nurse should harness these qualities. These are the qualities I want to exemplify as a nurse. The last cornerstone of the metaparadigm is person. It takes a special person to be a nurse, a person who was born to be a nurse. On the other hand it is the nurses job to understand that a patient is his or her own person. Every single patient is different. No two patients are the same. Every patient has different beliefs, religions, and morals. It is the nurse’s job to treat every patient equally no matter what his or her beliefs may be. The ability to adapt is a key quality in nursing. A nurse must adapt her care plan around

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NURSING PHILOSOPHY the patient’s cultural and religious beliefs. A true nurse must be unbiased, and should focus on the patients beliefs and not their own. As I pursue my education I can already see these traits appearing in myself. I hope that as I continue my education I develop these characteristics to their fullest extent and become a true nurse. I truly believe that I was born to be a nurse. I cannot wait to see the opportunities this profession brings me. I look forward to the feeling of having made a difference in someone’s life. This here is my philosophy on nursing and as I learn more I hope to add to it.

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NURSING PHILOSOPHY References Nightingale, F. (1969). Notes on nursing: What it is, and what it is not. New York, NY: Dover Publications. International Council of Nurses (2010). Definition of Nursing. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.icn.ch/about-icn/icn-definition-of-nursing/. [Last Accessed November 13, 2012].

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