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Nursing Philosophy

Katie Bowling, RN

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

Professor Karyn Schultz, MS, RN, CNE

NUR 3240

March 5, 2017

Honor Code I Pledge.


Nursing Philosophy

Nursing is a profession that requires heart, dedication, compassion, and willingness to go

above and beyond. Nursing is a calling that will test ones mental, physical and emotional

strength and continues to show that miracles are possible. The patients well being is at the heart

of nursing. According to Harmer and Henderson (1955), the nurses role was to assist the patient

and promote health, to recover, or die peacefully when the patients are unable to do so for

themselves. This nursing philosophy is important in promoting independence for each patient.

Nursing involves caring to all aspects of life including the mind, body, and spirit, empowering

patients to participate in the their care and provide a foundation to optimize wellness and recover.

In order to achieve theses standards of nursing care one must possess qualities such as justice and


Virginia Hendersons definition of nursing involved promoting independence, providing

for basic needs, and treating the mind, body, and spirit of the patient (Masters, 2017). Henderson

felt that the mind, body, and spirit of the patient was intertwined and health could not be

achieved solely by treating one aspect. Promoting independence allows for the patient to take

control of their care and can help in the transition from hospital to home environment. According

to Masters (2017) the basic needs listed by Henderson included adequate nutrition, sleep,

temperature regularity, cleanliness, communication, and mental well being. These are basic needs

that all need to be met in order to heal and optimize health. As nurses, it is important to strive to

assist in meeting these basic need for patients and promote independence.

Patients and their families do not always possess the tools needed to optimize recovery

and health promotion. As nurses, it is important to recognize that patients and family members

often feel vulnerable and fearful when an illness is present and nurses can educate and provide

support during difficult times. Providing support to the mind, body and spirit is essential in

recovery and while someones wounds may heal from a car crash their emotional well being may

be compromised and full recovery comes from attention to all aspects of life. Basic needs such as

proper nutrition, a trusting environment, adequate sleep, and sunlight are all important in the

recovery process. During times that the patients are unable to care for themselves a nurse is there

to support the individual and family while encouraging them to participate in as much care as

possible. Participation not only gives that patient and family practice a sense of purpose and

motivation is developed. Supporting the mind, body and spirit, meeting basic needs, and

encouraging participation are essential to providing compassionate and just care to the patient.

Compassion and justice are two qualities that are influential to improving patient

outcomes. Patients look to nurses are someone that should be trusted to provide that best care

possible. Justice involves supporting the patients rights, meeting their needs, and respecting

their healthcare decisions (Bon Secours Health Systems, Inc. [BSHSI], 2017). Empowering the

patient to make decisions for themselves and respecting their decisions without judgment is

important in the nurse-patient relationship. BSHSI (2017), describes compassion as a value that

encompasses showing empathy, acceptance, concern, and providing hope to whose seeking care.

Compassion is a core value that validates to the patient that the nurse cares for them as a human

being not another number. Exemplifying the values of justice and compassion in the nursing

practice lead to improved patient outcomes.

In the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) parents are often fearful overwhelmed by their

extremely fragile and ill infants. As a NICU nurse, educating and supporting the family on the

infants condition is just as important as supporting the infant. The NICU is an unfamiliar

environment and leads parents to feel out of control and unable to provide the basic needs for

their infants. A young, first time mother, with no support from the father or family found herself

feeling hopeless and overwhelmed with guilt that she could not care for her infant. As the nurse

caring for her infant, moments were set aside to allow the mother to share her fears and feelings

of inadequacy and work through her own personal feelings in order to establish expectations and

plan of how to care for the infant. This was a time where the mother needed compassion, justice

and empowerment. Over the next few months while the infant was in the hospital the mother was

encouraged to participate in activities such as diaper changes, baths, feedings, and temperature

checks. The mother learned to care for her infant who was severely premature. The mother began

to be able to identify subtle changes in her infant, as they were becoming ill and how to voice her

concerns to the nurse and physician. Upon leaving the hospital, the infant went home with the

young mother and has been thriving since discharge, growing and reaching milestones. Meeting

the basic needs of patients and their families while encouraging participation in care lead to

better patient outcomes.

After a year of nursing practice, ones personal nursing philosophy has evolved and

changed to understand the importance of the foundations of nursing practice and patient

participation in outcomes. Supporting the emotional and physical aspects of life and having

patient participation are some of the most important factors affecting the success of care. Patients

and their families are unable to truly recover without attention to these factors. A personal touch

and showing compassion helps strengthen the nurse-patient relationship and allows patients to

feel respected as a human being.

The nurse can optimize health, prevent illness, and support patients recovery by

supporting all aspects of life and possessing qualities such as compassion and justice. Patients

often feel vulnerable and by encouraging participation in care and decision-making,


empowerment follows. Better patient outcomes, illness prevention and smoother transition in

care are achieved with these nursing measures. Nursing requires knowledge, skill and heart. With

these qualities patient care is optimized.



Bon Secours Health Systems, Inc. (2017). Our Values. Our Mission. Retrieved from

Harmer, B., & Henderson, V. (1955). Textbook of the principles and practice of nursing. New

Yirk, NY: Macmillan.

Masters, K. (2017). Role development in professional nursing practice (4th ed.). Burlington, MA:

Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.