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Personal Nursing Philosophy

Kimberly Willett

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

NUR4142-GAGB-Synthesis for Nursing Practice


I pledge

Personal Nursing Philosophy

Many nurses can affirm they were called to serve and inspired but a desire to help others.

I remember answering the calling to nursing and feeling like my purpose finally made sense.

From the first day I decided to dedicate myself to service and attend nursing school, my desire

has never dulled but I have changed personally. I have developed my own definition of nursing

and a personal nursing philosophy. There are key values and beliefs that I use as my compass

through this journey. Through these three short years in school, I have gained perspective,

experience, and unforgettable patient encounters. Much has changed and in the spirit of nursing,

things are always changing, including ourselves. The goal is to keep advancing in my level of

skill acquisition and establish steps that will help me reach that goal. In this personal philosophy

paper, I will discuss how I define nursing, my personal philosophy, changes in values and beliefs,

and patient encounters. Lastly, I will examine Patricia Benners Skill acquisition the stage I best

relate to, and three steps I will make next to advance in my nursing journey.

Defining Nursing

I believe that nursing is equally part science and part the art of caring. Nursing in its

earliest years started not as a job sought after to make a financial profit from or to lead the way in

scientific research, but to genuinely heal and comfort those in need. Nursing has evolved into a

respected profession and driven by evidence-based practice. This profession at its core is not

only a science, but also an art, despite the evolution. The art of caring is caring for the whole

person, using compassion, creativity, and a nonjudgmental attitude. In the art of caring, each

encounter with an individual is as unique as a piece of art because each individual requires

tailored holistic care. Nursing requires just as much knowledge and skill as it does compassion

and servant leadership. The article, Art, Science, or Both? Keeping the Care in Nursing

elaborates on my personal definition of nursing,

Nursing is known as a scientific profession based on research, theory, and

conceptscentered on the art of caring and focused on health care outcomes.

Nursing is composed of a diverse set of practices and functions, each requiring

specialized knowledge and skills. Therefore, nursing functions do not define the

essence of nursing. The essence of professional nursing care is best embraced by

an approach that includes its artistic and scientific dimensions.

(Jasmine, p. 415).

Nursing care is conveyed through applying nursing knowledge in practice, critical

thinking and interpersonal skills, curiosity, and courage. With nursing being both a science and

an art, nurses are dedicated to lifelong learning to adapt to an ever-evolving profession, system,

and client needs (BSMCON philosophy statement, 2017). There are many perceptions and

definitions for nursing, each holding merit, but I define my practice as artfully applying science

to the holistic care I give my patients.

Personal Philosophy

My personal philosophy encompasses many aspects of my definition of nursing and is

reflective in my nursing practice. As a future nurse, I am committed to providing quality care

that is compassionate, safe, and current with evidence-based practice. It is important that we treat

ourselves and fellow nurses with the same compassionate and respectful care. I believe this is

imperative because nursing is a team effort and we cannot deliver quality care if we ourselves are

suffering. If we practice self-care and supported by a team, we are better equipped to provide

quality care that patients deserve and desire. These qualities are reflected in my nursing practice

through my patient encounters.

I believe compassionate care is my strength and I realize it can make the biggest impact

on others. I like to convey compassion in multiple ways because compassion is limitless. For

example, I offer simple nursing presence or therapeutic touch. As humans, we need to be able to

communicate with others, to interact, and to feel understood and cared for. Many patients lack

that vital interaction in the hospital setting and it has a huge impact on their outcomes and patient

satisfaction. Therefore, I make a point to always talk to vented and sedated patients to promote

dignity, instill hope and to be nurturing. When I talk to vented and sedated patients, I also hold

their hand. Holding their hand provides that feeling of connectedness and feeling cared for. I

have actually had a patient say they remember me and how much it meant to them that I was

present with them.

Safety in patient care is as important as compassionate care. Patients and their families

trust us to do no harm and to protect them from preventable injury and death. As a student nurse,

I ensure safety by always-double checking medications not only when I pull medications but also

before I administer them. Before any procedure that I am unfamiliar with, I always ask for help

and supervision to safeguard against unintentional harm. Safety hits homes for me on a personal

level because my paternal grandfather died because of a preventable medical error in the

duplication of a medication he was given before a procedure. As a nurse, I will always to the best

of my ability protect my patients and provide them with the safe care they deserve.

With an ever-changing profession and active research, it is the responsibility of the nurse

to be up to date with current evidence-based practices. Nursing is a very innovative field that is

geared towards improving efficiency and quality of care. I carry out this perspective of my

philosophy by constantly researching new articles and attending skill fairs. Recently I have been

interested in improving communication and care for those whose primary language is not

English. I have read various articles about quality improvement for those that do not primarily

speak English. The majority of the research suggests that those whose primary language is not

English, report lower quality of care compared to those whose primary language is English.

Based on this simple research and personal experience, I have decided that I will continue my

education and become certified in Spanish translation. Learning to be a Spanish translator

contributes to lifelong learning and dedication to providing evidence-based quality care.

Nurse Patient Encounter

In my immersion experience, I had the honor to care for a new mother as she brought her

child into the world. The goal of care for this patient was to have a natural birth and to have a

healthy baby. The nursing responsibility is to honor that request to the best of our abilities,

providing the care she asked for. Thankfully, no complications arose during her birthing process,

so together; patient, nurse, student, and midwives accomplished both patient goals. This

experience demonstrates the application of my personal philosophy, values, and beliefs in

multiple ways. Throughout her stay with us, we took safe care into the highest consideration. To

safeguard her and her babys safety, both mother and baby were constantly monitored and

reassessed frequently to catch any potential signs of distress. I personally was able to assist in the

compassionate and holistic care of this patient. When she was ready to push, I helped hold her

leg and cheered her on with every push and contraction. I was physically and emotionally present

with this patient, helping to achieve her goal of a natural birth. This experience was a true honor

to be a part of and I am truly humbled by the miracle of birth.


Values and Beliefs

I wrote a personal nursing philosophy paper at the beginning of nursing school and I

took time to reread a nursing philosophy paper from the beginning of school to compare my

beliefs and values. After some reflection, the changes I have noticed between now and then are

not changes in character and key values, but in approach and attitude. I still value compassion,

integrity, trust, courage, quality care, kindness, and nonjudgmental attitudes. It is not that any

enthusiasm has been lost either, but I have been humbled. The learning I have experienced is

beyond what I would have predicted, and that is how I have changed. True learning is more than

studying the concepts and facts within textbooks. I have learned empathy over sympathy. I have

learned not to listen to respond, but to be present and therapeutic. I have learned the meaning of

servant leadership and have been inspired by it. I have learned that nursing presence is just as

powerful, if not more, than words themselves. I have learned that becoming a nurse is an

honored opportunity in which you are an active part of others lives. I began chasing this calling

to fulfill a self-desire to care for others. The true learning is realizing this calling is not about

ourselves, but about selfless devotion to service.

Benners Theory

Patricia Benner developed a nursing theory that proposes that through education and

experiences, a nurse can progress into stages of skill acquisition. The focus of this theory is on

how a nurse acquires nursing knowledge and not on the actual nurse. A nurse can gain

knowledge and skills, referred to as the knowing how without learning the theory, knowing

that (Benner, p. 2-3). Learning is beyond the classroom and textbooks, because much of the

essential learning for nurses happens in their clinical experiences. Benner believes that

experience in the clinical setting is crucial for nursing because it allows nurses to continuously

grow their knowledge base and to provide holistic, competent care to patients. Benner developed

a model based on this skill acquisition. In the acquisition and development of a skill, nurses pass

through five stages of proficiency; novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient, and expert

(Benner, p. 13). Based on a nurses education and experience, the nurse fits somewhere on the

scale between novice and expert.

My Skill Acquisition Stage

I believe I fit somewhere between Novice and Advanced Beginner on Benners stages of

clinical competence. Novice is defined as a beginner with no background experience related to

the situation in which they are involved in. Beginners have difficulty in differentiating between

relevant and irrelevant aspects of the situation. Most all nursing students, new graduates, and

nurses returning to practice after an absence are considered novices on Benners scale (Benner, p.

20-22). Advance beginner on the scale is when a nurse can demonstrate marginally acceptable

performance those who have coped with enough real situations to note (or to have pointed out to

them by a mentor) the recurring meaningful situational components (Benner, p. 22). An

advanced beginner is efficient and skillful in parts of the practice area, needing intermittent

supportive prompts from a mentor. For the advanced beginner, they may or may not be within a

delayed time period because knowledge is still developing (Benner, p. 22-25). I see myself as a

novice because I will be a new graduate and there are still plenty of situation I have yet to

experience. I also see myself as an advanced beginner because I have had many experiences

already and I can have acquired skills that are past the novice stage. While I feel I may be past

novice, I also do not feel I have fully moved on to advanced beginner. The best explanation of

where I am on Benners scale is that I am transitioning between novice and advanced beginner.

My Next Three Moves

After establishing what stage I am at in relation to skill acquisition, my next step is to

plan my next three moves to advance. The first move I will make is to start my career as a nurse

and perform the best I can during orientation. Orientation is for the advanced beginner and is

easily the next step that I can make to move from my transition between novice and advanced

beginner. Orientation is the perfect opportunity to acquire more skills, knowledge, experiences,

and seek the guidance and direction of a mentor. Secondly, to better prepare myself to move to

the next skill acquisition stage, I will continue to seek opportunities for growth through skill

fairs, committee meetings, and working full time to gain much need experience to move forward.

When it comes to gaining experience, it takes time to acquire more experiences and will be my

step that takes the longest. My third step will be learning Spanish that can be accomplished

simultaneously with my second move. I would like learning Spanish to be my third move so that

I may be a translator to help a vulnerable population whose primary language is not English.

Becoming a Spanish translator will contribute to lifelong learning and cultural competence. I will

aim to finish these 3 steps within two to three years. After completion of these three moves, I will

be prepared to become a competent nurse on Benners scale.


In conclusion, I believe nursing is an art and a science, and that as a future nurse, it is my

responsibility to deliver compassionate, safe, and evidence-based care. While my beliefs and

values have not changed since I started school, my perspective and attitude have. Becoming a

nurse is an earned opportunity and an honor to sever others during their time of need. I am in the

transition between a novice and advance beginner on Benners stages of skill acquisition. I have

goals of that will help me grow and move forward, such as learning Spanish. It is incredible to

reflect and see how much I have changed and the growth I have experienced. Nursing school has

been a life-changing experience for this first chapter of my nursing journey, and I am looking

forward to the next as a new nurse.



Benner, P. (2001). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing practice. New

Jersey: Prentice Hall. pp. 13-34.

BSMCON philosophy statement. (2017) (pp. 1-2). Richmond. Retrieved from




Jasmine, T. (2009). Art, Science, or Both? Keeping the Care in Nursing. Nursing Clinics Of

North America, 44(4), 415-421.