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Running head: PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING

Personal Philosophy of Nursing


Dahlia Rose
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
Nur 4142: Synthesis for Nursing Practice
Dr. Turner
October 18, 2016

I pledge.

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING

Introduction
Three years into my studies at Virginia Commonwealth University for my first Bachelors
degree, my brother had to undergo a kidney transplant with my mother as his donor. The time
that I spent with them in the hospital, I observed the excellent care the nurses provided to them
and in that moment I made the decision to aspire to become a nurse. Shortly thereafter, I received
the joyful news that I was accepted into the Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing
(BSMCON) program. Throughout my time at the college, I have created lasting friendships, have
had unforgettable clinical experiences and have gained the knowledge and skills to help me
become a nurse generalist. In addition, I have embraced the core values of nursing. The purpose
of this paper is to discuss those values, my own personal philosophy of nursing and how they
have and will continue to be implemented into my nursing practice.
Nursing Defined
Nursing is both an art and a science because it requires the heart just as much as the
brain. Nurses care for others who are unable to care for themselves during a vulnerable time in
their lives. Over 150 years ago, Florence Nightingale defined nursing as, the act of utilizing the
environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery (Berman, 2011). Virginia Henderson
later elaborated on the definition of the role of the nurse as to assist the individual sick or well,
in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery that he would perform
unaided if he had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge, and to do this in such a way as to
help him gain independence as rapidly as possible (Berman, 2011).
Similar to the earlier theorists philosophy on the role of the nurse, BSMCONs
philosophy statement is one thing that attracted me most to its program. Three tenets that stood
out to me most include: nurses provide holistic care to promote wellness, prevent disease, restore

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING

health and provide comfort; nurses utilize evidenced-based practice to deliver individualized care
that is sensitive to the clients cultural, spiritual and diverse needs; and nurses are accountable
and are ethically, legally and morally grounded (BSMCON, 2014). The philosophy statement has
helped to guide me throughout my journey at the college and has established the foundation for
my future nursing practice.
Personal Philosophy of Nursing in Theory
My personal philosophy of nursing began with wanting to provide care to those in need
but that has expanded further through the education I attained at the college and its application
through my clinical experiences in the community and hospital settings. As a child, I was always
taught that I should treat others as I would hope to be treated. This has influenced the care I
provide by seeing patients as a whole person and not just the disease or illness that embodies
them. By utilizing this holistic view, I am able to assess the mind, body and spirit of the patient
and implement therapeutic modalities to help them attain health and wellness or to provide
comfort in their final moments. As a nurse, we are our patients advocates and we must do what
we can to make sure that their needs are met. Additionally, each patient deserves the same
respect, dignity and compassion as any other patient regardless of race, religion, ethnicity,
gender, or sexual orientation.
Personal Philosophy of Nursing in Practice
While I reflect on my own personal philosophy of nursing, one clinical experience that
best demonstrates providing a holistic centered approach would have to have been during my
clinical immersion experience at the Intermediate Care Unit at St. Marys Hospital. I had the
opportunity to care for the same patient on numerous occasions. My patient was a twenty-twoyear-old female with an admitting diagnosis of respiratory failure. She weighed over 350 pounds

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING

and had a past medical history of spina bifida and was paraplegic requiring the use of a
wheelchair for ambulation. She had been previously hospitalized for 6 weeks, also for respiratory
failure, requiring the placement of a tracheostomy. Her primary caretaker is her husband, who
reportedly did not provide adequate care to her and she later developed several complications to
include multiple wounds, a stage 4 pressure ulcer on her sacrum, Pneumonia and C-diff. Time
management was key with caring for her, as she had multiple needs to include wound care, foley
catheter care, perineal care, transferring and repositioning with a Hoyer lift, tracheostomy care,
and suctioning. Wound care alone took close to an hour.
On the last day while my preceptor and I were performing wound care, her father came in
to see her and she asked if her husband came too. Her father then mentioned that he did not feel
up for going. After that she went silent, and I looked up to find her crying. I then laid my hand on
her shoulder and wiped away her tears. Later on, as we were giving bedside report to the
oncoming nurse, she opened up to us. She mentioned how she met her husband online and they
married after a year. She was comforted in knowing that despite her history he stuck around.
However, things started to take a turn for the worst and she was now unhappy in her marriage
because of his lack of care and support. She expressed fear of letting him go because he was her
first boyfriend and she felt that no one else would want her. In that moment, my heart sunk.
While we met her physical needs and discharge orders were in place, she still had
emotional needs to be addressed. So even though we were exhausted after completing our 12
hours, we sat with her for a while longer. Through a listening ear, supportive words of
encouragement, quiet presence and intentional therapeutic touch we were able to provide
comfort to her in her emotional time of need. Even after gaining so much knowledge and skills in
caring for her, I felt even prouder that I established such strong rapport and trust with her. I went

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING

home that night feeling like I made a difference to her by simply providing an active presence
and showing that I care. That feeling is one of the reasons I aspired to be a nurse and I am
grateful for that experience.
Values and Beliefs
Since the beginning of nursing school when I wrote my first personal philosophy of
nursing paper in Nur 1100, I would say that my values and beliefs have remained unchanged.
Humility, equality, kindness, compassion and empathy are just as important to me now as they
were then. Yet with the clinical experiences that I have had and the knowledge that I have gained,
I would say that my values have been strengthened. There have been many circumstances that
did not coincide with my own personal beliefs or values, yet I was able to maintain a sense of
professionalism so that I did not compromise the care or safety of my patients. I learned that
regardless of the situation, I have to maintain a nonjudgmental attitude and provide the best care
I can to my patients since I am accountable as their nurse to be ethically, legally, and morally
grounded (BSMCON, 2014).
Benners Skill Acquisition Model
In Patricia Benners book, From Novice to Expert, she discussed how nurses transition
through five levels of proficiency to include novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient,
and expert. Novices have a lack of situational experience and rely on rules to guide their
performance. Advanced beginners have had some situational experience and therefore can
demonstrate marginally acceptable performance. A competent nurse is one that has had about
two to three years in the same clinical area with similar experiences. Unlike the advanced
beginner, the competent nurse is able to think more analytically and is able to handle multiple
tasks simultaneously and coordinate them appropriately. A proficient nurse, is able to analyze a

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING

situation more holistically with focus on long-term goals. They are able to recognize situational
changes, prioritize them and then respond accordingly based on prior experiences. Lastly, an
expert nurse has more intuition and is able to handle a situation more seamlessly and effortlessly
than less experienced nurses. (Benner, 1984)
Based on Benners skill acquisition model, I would have considered myself a novice at
the start of this semester. However, with my clinical immersion hours coming to a close, I would
now consider myself an advanced beginner. With the experiences I have gained so far, I would
say I have become more proficient in assessments, medication administration, documentation,
lab draws, time management, prioritization, communicating with the interdisciplinary team and
other skills that are not as common such as heparin drips, blood administration, NG tubes,
glucostabilizers, bipap, ostomies, wound care, foley insertion/removal, and more.
Even though I feel I have gained proficiency in the skills and tasks of a nurse, the most
rewarding thing I have learned is seeing the bigger picture. As I learned, I can walk into a
patients room and look at them for a minute or two and can assess their progress or digression in
their illness process. For instance, knowing that a patient is there for respiratory failure, I would
focus on whether they have the appropriate rise and fall of the chest, is their breathing effortless
or labored, are their oxygen saturations good, is their color appropriate for their race and so on.
Based on that knowledge, I am able to assess the situation and can then implement and revise a
plan of care based on client outcomes.
While I have gained so much this semester, I know that I still have much to learn and
experience in order to move to the next level in the skills acquisition model. In order to transition
to a competent nurse, I will need to gain more independence in my role as a nurse. I will need to
be proactive in gaining as much experience as possible and seek out opportunities for

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improvement when necessary. Lastly, I will also need to become more proficient at analyzing a
situation and act appropriately.
Conclusion
When I first walked the halls of Bon Secours Memorial of College of Nursing, I did not
quite know what to expect but was eager to begin my journey. I have gained valuable
experiences in the clinical and educational setting that have helped further build the foundation
for my personal philosophy of nursing. I have learned the skills and knowledge necessary to
maintain a holistic, patient-centered approach to provide the best care to my patients. I will
continue to uphold the core values of nursing and advocate for my patients. Despite any
circumstance I am presented with, I will maintain a sense of professionalism, dignity, respect,
and compassion. I will forever cherish the memories I have made throughout my time at
BSMCON, and I look forward to embarking on a new journey as a licensed registered nurse.

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY OF NURSING


References
Benner, P, (1984). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice.
Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.
Berman, A., Snyder, S., & McKinney, D.S. (2011). Nursing basics for clinical practice.
Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson.
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing Student Handbook. (2014). Richmond, VA:
Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing.