Philosophy of Nursing
My name is Yvette Fonte, and I am a registered nurse who works in a telemetry/ oncology/ surgical unit of Palmetto General Hospital. In this paper, I provide my personal insight into the field I have devoted my professional career to and describe my understanding of nursing and its various aspects.
While the definition of nursing may be simple, it is still a complex notion. On the one hand, the concept may be defined succinctly, like stated in an ordinary dictionary. In this way, nursing is viewed as an occupation in the context of which an individual cares about people who are either sick or injured. On the other hand, this generalized interpretation of nursing phenomenon is too scarce and unable to cover the depth and extent of nursing as a whole. Foremost, definition of this term relates to the scope of practice within which a nurse functions. At the same time, an individual comprehension of professional duties and responsibilities also contribute to interpreting the notion by a nursing practitioner or a person willing to become a specialist in the sector. Therefore, I believe that each nurse should develop one’s own definition of nursing in order to have this concept as a core belief they can refer to as a guideline in diligent and decent work.
In this light, for me, nursing is a crucial part of healthcare delivery system that implies (a) healthcare education, disease prophylaxis and prevention; (b) administration of patient’s treatment; and (c) collaboration with other healthcare professionals and patient’s family members for continuing health outcomes. This definition is rather general and can be applicable to different nursing areas. Similarly, from oncology-based perspective, nursing should be regarded as care for patients with life-threatening and terminal diseases that must involve physical and emotional care on the verge of interprofessional and family-centered collaboration, patient education on discharge and continuing support of whole families rather than a single patient.
Assumptions and Underlying Beliefs
As aptly noted by Masters (2013), a primary task of a nurse ought to be “believe, articulate, and demonstrate the value of nursing” (p. 101). I sincerely support this claim. I am confident that the principle ‘believe in what you do’ should be the primary basis of any occupation, while for nurses, this belief must be the centerpiece of making sense of the work at large. Nevertheless, this belief should not be blind willingness to do one’s best in performing the assigned duties. This ideology has to be an internal belief in commitment to the job to the fullest as well as being sure that this job is worthy and helpful to each particular person and entire target population. Next, articulation of nursing as a professional area of great importance should be not only belief but also an integral part and embodiment of nurse’s daily practice. In this respect, a specialist will show dedication to performance of job-related responsibilities and the fact that this belief is respectfully transited to patients, other healthcare practitioners, and wider community. Moreover, apart from word of mouth promotion of nursing care, so to speak, a nurse should consciously and devotedly perform the duties assigned to their specialty-based role in healthcare. As a result, one will demonstrate the mechanism of action and importance of nursing care within healthcare provision system. Thus, self-understanding, belief and practical embodiment of these two factors must be the guiding principles of a nurse in fulfilling one’s care mission.
I am sure that the above-indicated philosophical considerations are not bold statements but feasible and relevant aspects of nursing. Based on the nursing field within which I work, I was able to test these beliefs in my own work-related aspirations. Of course, oncology is a sphere with extremely hard emotional tension whereas this area of nursing specialty is especially close to death-to-life intersections. In this way, workload that is emotionally burdening is likely to cause tensions between different professionals as well as other stakeholders. Within such emotionally unstable environment, each party involved loses, especially patients whose state is impacted most as a result. In addition to effects on mental health, the whole care process can be flawed. At the same time, I have noticed that the “working in hospitals with favorable practice environments reportedly had fewer needle-stick injuries, lower emotional exhaustion, lower depersonalization, and less intention to leave their current position” (Shang, Friese & Aiken, 2013, p. 208). In light of this finding, I aspired to raise the belief and value system asserting to colleagues that nursing in general and oncology nursing in particular are the occupations of utmost importance. My arguments and passionate articulation of nursing significance, along with each other’s contribution of all healthcare professionals in patient’s and community health, indeed raise the organizational morale in my unit. Such sincere conversations have become a commonplace in the department, especially in the moments of exhaustion, and the whole staff of the unit I work in felt the higher-level confidence and commitment of performing their duties.
Moreover, I noticed that physicians and other staff members were inspired by such changed attitudes towards work and were more willing to collaborate with one another in care provision. Therefore, I tend to believe that a ‘start with yourself’ strategy is implementable and potentially successful. When a nurse believes in a crucial role of the part of one’s duties in the complex healthcare system, respects other professionals, and emphasizes this value accordingly, such an attitude may be viral for all. That is, successful performance outcomes will be ensured for both healthcare setting and community at large.
A set of nursing beliefs should incorporate a number of nursing domains, such as “clinical skills and knowledge; therapeutic relationships; professional relationships; professional development; and advancing practice through innovation and research” (University of Michigan Health System, 2015). These dimensions define the entire scope and complex interrelation of vital components of the entire nursing practice and care delivery. First, a domain related to clinical knowledge and skills is a core of nursing as an occupation since it defines the essence of nursing care and the extent to which it can be delivered. This factor encompasses nurse’s thorough awareness in an integrated system of care provision in the unit or organization as well as one’s direct role in this procedure, such as documentation, policies, patient-family education among others.
Second, a therapeutic domain presumes ethically guided empowerment of patients and their families in light of respect to their cultural and social backgrounds and other diverse characteristics. This role should be based on compassionate attitudes towards patients and their families’ physical and mental health condition. Third, professional relationships must be one more crucial element in nursing practice. Indeed, nurses cannot function as solely professionals in healthcare delivery whereas only collaborative efforts of different practitioners in narrowed healthcare specialties and working in a team are likely to deliver win-win outcomes to all stakeholders, namely, nurses, other professionals, patients and their families, and community as a whole.
Fourth, professional development is another critical constituent of nursing. This factor is not linked to career advancement as a primary concern, though this issue may be considered in this regard. Foremost, the domain refers to comprehensive development of nurse’s professional capacities based on emerging trends, increasing industry needs, and changing consumer preferences as well as personality traits. Good personality and good professional are two core integral and utmost aspects of nursing as a qualification. Finally, the significance of a research and innovation domain should not be undervalued. This is due to the fact that this dimension relates to constant updates in all aforementioned nursing domains as a way to being the most up-to-date specialist in care delivery and meet one’s own, industry and customers’ needs to the fullest.
Undoubtedly, all discussed aspects of nursing practice are inevitably connected as one’s awareness and professionalism in each of these dimensions will determine success of every nurse’s practice as a holistic process. Indeed, only corresponding to the requirements of all domains and their thorough incorporation in nursing practice on a step-by-step basis allows regarding the role of a nurse in healthcare as complete. To illustrate, a nurse’s skills and knowledge in clinical domain define the degree of their capability to organize care with respect to therapeutic and professional relationships domains. In addition, one’s aspirations for constant self-development and professional growth by means of research and innovation are likely to facilitate the quality of care in the scope of the above dimensions among other factors.
As a result, nursing of the future should be positioned as connecting and facilitating link in the context of most important relationships in healthcare sector. Therefore, the task of a nurse will be to use this position effectively in order to maintain nursing beliefs and ensure all-embracing collaboration between stakeholders. Probably, resistance to change in the dated nursing mindset might be the greatest challenge. However, I believe that clear articulation of win-win benefits of such a paradigm shift in understanding nursing will assist in addressing this issue. In this respect, I plan to be a nurse who is a life-long learner to be a high-qualified and up-to-date practitioner and constantly grow as a personality and professional as well as advance my career.