You are on page 1of 6


Personal Nursing Philosophy

Chelsea Acree

Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing

NUR 4142 Synthesis of Nursing Practice

Professor Christine Turner, PhD, RN

March 19, 2018

I Pledge Honor Code-


Personal Nursing Philosophy

A career in the profession of nursing has been my lifelong dream, in which I am excited

to soon fulfill. I am truly passionate about caring for others and contributing to their wellbeing,

especially during some of life’s most vulnerable times. This paper serves a purpose of conveying

my perception and definition of the profession of nursing, and exploring my philosophy of

nursing. My nursing philosophy embodies my personal thoughts on what I find to be true

regarding the nature of the nursing profession.

Merriam-Webster defines the term philosophy as “the most basic beliefs, concepts, and

attitudes of an individual or group.” It is essential to reflect upon my own values and beliefs as

they influence and guide my nursing practice. My nursing philosophy embodies evidence-based

medical knowledge integrated with compassionate care that is individualized to meet the unique

needs of each patient. I value delivery of nursing care that upholds patient dignity, autonomy and

emphasizes holistic wellbeing of each individual. I also feel it is vital that nursing efforts extend

beyond the hospital setting. I value commitment to community service, such as collaborating

with populations as equal partners to focus on primary prevention and health promotion.

Additionally, nurses fulfill an important integral role in political and social realms in the United

States. I feel nursing is a unique profession that is well-positioned to highly influence positive

changes within the healthcare setting, as well as beyond the facility walls.

Originating in the Greek language, the term “holistic” or “holism” encompasses a

meaning of wholeness and entirety. Holistic nursing care is a philosophical approach to the

treatment of illness, addressing domains of an individual beyond the mere physical, such as the

spiritual and psychological components. I firmly believe that optimal health does not equate to

the absence of disease and unpleasant physical symptomology. I view optimal health as a

dynamic state of equilibrium and harmony among mind, body and spirit. The aforementioned

domains are interconnected, in separable, and comprise a whole individual.

An example in which I provided holistic nursing care involved a three-year-old patient

experiencing painful oral lesions due to hand, foot, and mouth disease. My patient’s mother told

me that her daughter had refused rinsing with magic mouthwash, as the patient felt afraid that it

would cause even more pain. To facilitate compliance with the prescribed treatment, I compared

a pink, star-shaped oral sponge submerged in magic mouthwash to a princess wand. I reassured

my patient that the princess wand would alleviate the “owies” (pain), and I allowed the patient to

self-administer the medication with supervision. To further encourage compliance, I had warm

pancakes nearby for my patient to enjoy after the magic mouthwash decreased the pain of her

oral lesions. My patient was able to eat breakfast soon after, which provided a great relief of

anxiety that my patient’s mother was experiencing as her child had refused to eat for days.

Unfortunately, the anesthetic properties of the magic mouthwash did not last long for my patient,

which created an obstacle to administering PRN oral Tylenol when my patient developed a fever.

I inquired about switching the medication order to IV Tylenol. It was communicated that IV

Tylenol costs significantly more than oral Tylenol. I collaborated with members of the healthcare

team to opt for IV Ketorolac, which is a less expensive option that addresses both pain and fever.

I strive to provide compassionate, patient-centered, holistic nursing care that is

individualized and tailored to address the unique needs of each patient that are identified through

detailed assessment. When caring for an elderly individual diagnosed with terminal cancer and

receiving palliative care services, I implemented initiatives to enhance comfort. I organized

nursing care that allowed for extra time to be spent with the patient. I provided quiet presence

while holding my patient’s hand, as they did not feel well for much conversation. I noticed cards

by the window that were delivered by visitors, in which I complimented on. I read the cards to

my patient with their permission. Demonstrating awareness and sensitivity to the influence that

the surrounding environment has on an individual, I asked my patient if they would prefer their

window shades open to allow natural sunlight to shine in the room, in hopes of uplifting their

spirit and promoting their holistic wellbeing.

It is difficult to assign a sentence definition to the term nursing, as such approach

excludes many essential aspects of the profession. I consider nursing to be an intrinsically

rewarding profession that is profoundly unique. I feel there is not an established definition of

nursing that holds true to each and every nurse; however, to me, nursing entails the delivery of

genuinely compassionate care that is patient-centered and individualized. Nursing encompasses

the ability to effectively communicate and collaborate with all members of the interdisciplinary

healthcare team, with a goal of optimizing patient outcomes. Nurses possess great flexibility to

adapt to changes in the continuously evolving healthcare profession. The nursing profession

upholds patient dignity, promotes patient autonomy, strives to extend efforts beyond the clinical

setting (i.e., communities, political reform, etc.), exercises emotional intelligence, appreciates the

diverse human experience of each patient, imparts knowledge, works toward increasing the

safety and quality of healthcare provided, and implements evidence-based interventions within

the scope of practice to nurture each patient in a holistic approach. Nursing is comprised of

values, ethical responsibilities, clinical skills, medical knowledge, all applied in a holistic


Since writing my original Personal Philosophy of Nursing Paper in NUR 1100, my

perception of the profession of nursing has expanded. Beginning nursing school, I pictured

nursing to be a profession within a hospital setting, which in retrospect, is a very limiting picture.

The profession of nursing transcends the walls of the hospital. Nurses fulfill leadership roles that

bring about transformational changes in healthcare, communities, and within political and social

realms. Throughout the program, I have achieved a deeper understanding of the profession and

attribute greater value to the original components of my nursing philosophy. My deeply rooted

philosophy of compassionate, patient-centered care has remained constant; however, I now

possess a greater motivation to uphold this delivery of nursing care. I feel better prepared to

fulfill my philosophy as I have gained a great deal of holistic assessment skills, emotional

intelligence, and knowledge of safe, evidence-based interventions within the nursing scope of


Nursing theorist and author, Dr. Patricia Benner, discusses her model of skill acquisition

in her book “From Novice to Expert: Excellence and Power in Clinical Nursing Practice.”

Benner’s theory suggests that nurses acquire clinical competence over a course of time through

exposure to a multitude of patient experiences, combined with an appropriate educational

background. The author supports the idea that learning is situation-based and experiential. A

nursing student progresses through five distinct stages of clinical competence, from novice to


The first stage is referred to as novice, an entry to situations without prior experience. It

is expected that individuals in the novice stage possess a limited ability to foresee outcomes in a

given patient scenario. Rules are necessary to provide guidance in the novice’s clinical

performance. Entry into the second stage, advanced beginner, occurs after the nurse has

encountered enough experiences that allow for recognition of meaningful and recurrent

components of a scenario. A nurse transitions into the third stage, competent, when he or she

possesses conscious awareness of their initiatives in terms of distant plans. A competent nurse

experiences feelings of mastery and has the ability to deliberately plan to achieve organization

and efficiency; however, lacks the flexibility and speed of a nurse at the proficient level. In the

fourth stage, a proficient nurse is capable of perceiving a situation as a whole, rather than in

parts, and possesses the ability to modify their plans in response to various events. The final

stage, expert, is characterized by a nurse that no longer relies on rules and guidelines to navigate

situations appropriately. An expert nurse possesses an intuitive hold on the scenario as a result of

their profound knowledge and vast experience, and is fluid and very proficient in their practice.

I consider myself to be an advanced beginner nurse. I feel that my clinical experience as a

student nurse has provided exposure to an array of patient situations that have provided excellent

opportunities for learning and building upon my clinical competence. I refer to rules and

guidelines when navigating patient situations; however, I do not feel that I require assistance

with establishing patient priorities. I value the presence of a mentor to turn to in times of

uncertainty, for influence and guidance.

To facilitate my transition to the next stage of skill acquisition, competent, I can develop

a plan for my learning process. I feel meaningful reflection and discussion can assist in fostering

progression of my clinical competence. Such practices offer a better understanding of nursing

actions, enhances practice, and allows for identification of areas for improvement.

Communication with experienced nurses as mentors can fulfill an important role in facilitation of

the learning process. Additionally, I can request a variety of patient assignments and seek new

opportunities for exposure to scenarios that allow me to build upon my clinical competence and