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Philosophy of Nursing Paper

April Fraser

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing


The fundamental principles of nursing has been in existence since the beginning of time.

The need in our society to care for a persons physical, mental and spiritual ailments. It has been

defined in varying ways, and changes from culture to culture. The medical philosophy of nursing

has become more concrete and defined. Bon Secours Memorial College of nursing has several

tenants of nursing that are including in their philosophy of nursing statement. In this paper I will

discuss three; caring, health, and service. These three principals have helped to form my own

clear and personal definition of nursing, and how I will practice as a nurse. The caring tenant of

BSMCON is explained as a holistic approach focusing on the biophysical, spiritual, mental, and

social person. Over the past three years I have learned that it is impossible to completely care for

the patient as a whole without addressing each one of these. Caring for these unique components

of an individual allows for optimal healing of the physical condition. Caring for oneself is also a

vital aspect of nursing. This is often the most challenging as a nurse but also very essential. Lack

of self-care can affect the perception of the patient, nurse patient ratio, alertness, and the ability

to completely present for each patient. The next tenant is health. It is described as a dynamic

state of being on a wellness continuum. Health requires that all including the poor and dying

have equitable access to the health care system. Since being in nursing school I have learned that

health is not only defined as a persons physical wellbeing. For example a person can be diabetic

but have a personal perspective of good health. Health comprises many aspects of the individual.

The final tenant of health is Service; Bon Secours encourages students to develop and apply the

values of respect, compassion, justice, integrity, quality, innovation, stewardship and growth

while providing good help to those in need, in accordance with Bon Secours organizational

mission. The greatest aspect of nursing is service. I first heard the phrase servant leader at

BSMCON. Being a servant leader can be the most impactful part of nursing. Serving includes

being an advocate for your patient and the most vulnerable in our society. It embraces being

change agents and encourages innovative ideas that will continue to enhance the way we

practice. The three tenants continue to influence my definition of nursing and also the way I

practice as a nurse.

My personal philosophy of nursing is reflected in my nursing practice through

purposeful, and thoughtful daily practice. During my nursing experiences I have made

intentional decisions to be caring, holistic, and innovative. It is not always second nature. It is

something that I have purposefully incorporated into my daily practice. My personal philosophy

of caring influences my assessment, and includes a thorough social assessment to make sure I am

caring for the whole patient. Following the admission assessment completely that is provided in

connect care allows me to gain pertinent information about the patients social and cultural

background. I also practice innovation by being engaged in quality enhancing sessions that

happen on my unit. In addition speaking with other nurses about innovative ways to improve the

patient experience such as creating tools that help keep track of the lines when an ICU patient

may have nine or more going at the same time. My philosophy of holistic nursing continues to

guide my daily practice. It motivates me to practice self-care so that I can provide the best

possible care to each patient. One example of purposefully practicing in a holistic manner is in

ICU. I was caring for a patient who had been diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkins lymphoma. He

was in ICU due to complications. He was a very young man and seemed to be handling the

diagnosis well. When charting I try to stay in the patients room when possible. This allows the

patient to have time to share with me and build trust. I noticed his demeanor seemed to change

when his mother entered the room. He became more agitated and impatient. Through several

conversations I learned that his mother was not accepting of his long term prognosis and he was.

I was able to discuss some of his concerns with the nurse case manager. The patient was open to

talking with her and she was able to provide useful mediated conversation between the mother

and son. Being in the ICU environment was emotional draining to the patient. I was also able to

advocate for the patient to have more autonomy and independence while in ICU. This interaction

serves as a reminder to me of having purposeful conversations with my patient when possible

and being an advocate for my patient physically and emotionally. Encounters such as this

continue to influence my values and beliefs.

When first applying for admission to Bon Secours we had to discuss the core values of

the school and how they relate to us personally. I recall thinking to myself that I wasnt sure what

the admissions department wanted to hear. Then I began to write and knew that what they wanted

to hear was about my fundamental values and beliefs. I believe that in order to practice the

principles of caring, health, and service there must be some fundamental beliefs present. They

include, justice, kindness, patience, servanthood. These are my fundamental beliefs and values I

discussed. My values and beliefs have not changed since coming to nursing school. They have

however become more essential to incorporate in each patient interaction. Just as I have grown in

my clinical skillset I have also grown in the practice of my beliefs and values. I think of more

creative ways to incorporate these beliefs, make sure I am practicing them consistently,

practicing self-care, and being aware of myself and any biases I may have been unaware of.

Growth is an optimal word to describe the progression of my belief and value system.

There are specific theories to describe the development of a nurse. Dr. Patricia Benner is

a nursing theorist who first developed the stages of clinical nursing competence. This model is

used to determine the needs of a nurse at different periods in their professional development.

There are five stages in her development theory; Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent,

Proficient, and Expert. The novice student is in their first year of clinical education and has very

limited critical thinking experience and has not seen many patient signs and symptoms in person.

The advanced beginner are new graduates with some knowledge and critical thinking. The

competent nurse has mastered organizational skills and can recognize clinical situations more

quickly. The proficient nurse is able to whole situations and can quickly modify plans of care.

The expert nurse no longer solely rely on rules to guide them, but can also rely on their clinical

experience and knowledge. These nurses very quickly know what needs to be done in a given

situation. The stage that would ardently my current skill set would be advanced beginner. In my

clinical immersion experience I have been able to recognize signs and symptoms, changes in

patient status, and have some limited knowledge on what is occurring, and what the plan of care

may be.

As part of our BSMCON values it is imperative that we practice growth and

development. To reach the next stage of skill acquisition I have identified three goals. The first

goal is to master organizational skills and time management. This will include efficient,

thorough, and timely charting on each patient, being able to quickly prioritize patient care, and

creating a plan of care for the day and be able to make adjustments when needed. The next goal

is to increase my speed and flexibility in providing patient care. Quickly charting on all my

patients independently, quickly and efficiently providing medication, and being able to be

flexible and quickly adjust when plans of care change or patient load changes. My final goal is to

master pattern recognition. This will come with more clinical experience. In is my goal to be a

competent nurse within six months to a year of my first nursing job.

In conclusion my philosophy of nursing has been shaped greatly by the combination of

education, nursing experience, and life experience I have received at BSMCON over the past

three years. It has shaped the nurse I will become, and also enhanced my set of values and beliefs

that I came into college with. These educational experiences will continue to shape the way I

practice and develop as a nurse. The practical, spiritual, and social tools I have gained will be

priceless in my pursuit of becoming an expert nurse.


Benner, P. E. (2001). From novice to expert: excellence and power in clinical nursing practice.
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.