In this paper, I will be discussing my personal philosophy of nursing and the key component that have influenced it. Some of these key components include my self-concept, my values, and my culture. I will not only be reflecting on my own practice, but I will be comparing mine to a similar nursing model called Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort. I will be discussing my strengths, weakness, fears, and gaps of knowledge and how they affect my nursing practice. After concluding these topics, I will then apply all of them into how I currently do and how I will practice clinically in the future keeping all these aspects in mind.
Keywords: philosophy of nursing, self-concept, values, nursing theory
Philosophy of Nursing
Anyone that has ever worked in the healthcare field knows that caring for individuals in their most vulnerable state is a very rewarding yet difficult job to do. Throughout this paper I will be discussing my personal philosophy of nursing and all the factors that affect it. Self-concept, my values and how I believe culture influences my philosophy of nursing will also be addressed throughout this paper. I will later discuss a professional and official nursing theory, framework or model that reflects and support my personal philosophy. I will then be applying my philosophy of nursing into how I currently apply it in my practice as a Registered Nurse.
My personal philosophy of nursing is definitely influenced by my own beliefs, convictions and experiences that I have had all throughout my life. Growing up, my mom was also very sick. Being in and out of hospitals with her constantly allowed me to see the true power of honorable nursing. I learned very quickly that I wanted to be a nurse so that I could be a glimpse of hope to my patients’ families. I believe that one of the most important aspects of my philosophy is being your patient’s advocate. During a general hospital stay, there are so many different interdisciplinary providers that are going to be involved in your patient’s care that want all different things. As a nurse, it is important to be able to be the voice for your patient, advocate for their desires all while respecting the advice coming from the other providers. Although advocacy has not also been recognized as a rightful duty of a nurse, the American Nurse Association that advocacy is now a major component of high quality practice (ANA, n.d.).
Another major aspect of my philosophy of nursing is to continue refreshing my skills and knowledge by keeping up to date with current evidence-based practice. I have met and worked with lots of nurses who are known as “old-school” and refuse to refine their skills based on current practices. This is not only an issue of pride, but a safety concern as well. I believe in order to provide the most efficient care; we must know what new breakthroughs are taking place.
I believe in complete honesty with my patients and integrity must be upheld in and outside of my patient’s rooms all while standing true to my own personal spiritual and ethical values and beliefs.
In order to be an honest, trustworthy and respected nurse, I must be honest with myself. Not many of us enjoy discussing our strengths, weaknesses, shortcomings or gaps in knowledge, but all of these things affect our philosophy of nursing and how we practice. As I develop into an experienced nurse, I hope that things I view as my strengths help me in areas of nursing. I have an extreme control and calamity in stressful situations allowing me to take control in codes, think clearly and not allow fear to overcome during these stressful times. Although I see compassion as both a strength and weakness, I feel as though it has benefited me more than hurt me. I also have very strong communication skills. Thanks to my extensive experience in customer service, I have developed dependable communication skills in all different types of situations. In addition to the previously listed strengths, I strangely enjoy critical thinking! I am also curious to learn how cause-and-effect have played in any situation.
Some weakness of mine include overly empathizing with people and being able to be manipulated. Even though I believe a necessary value to uphold in nursing is compassion and empathy, I tend to grow attached to my long-term patients and some people see that as an opportunity to take advantage of me. Ever since I have started nursing, I have struggled with believing in myself and giving myself the self-encouragement and confidence needed. My weakness and fears go hand in hand. I am fearful of making a fatal error in my patient care and fearful I am not going to catch a critical mistake on my end or anyone’s end for that matter.
I view Cardiology as a major gap in knowledge. Although I know the basics and have educated myself on the most common disease process, I have always struggled with this complex system. This gap in my knowledge influences my self-concept negatively. I see Cardiology as a weakness for me and it causes me to doubt my ability to care for complex diseases within the cardiac system.
My self-concept influences my philosophy of nursing in a few ways. Like I stated above, my strengths include self-control and calamity, compassion, empathy and communication skills. Being an advocate for patients is very hard to do without compassion, empathy or communication skills. In times of need, our patients rely on us to be their voice when they cannot speak. Also, in order for my patients to trust me and be able to view me as an honest nurse, I must be willing to communicate them on any and every level they need.
My values originate from my childhood, what I was taught to believe in as a child and have developed over time as I have blossomed into my adult life. Although most of my values reflect inside my philosophy of nursing, some beliefs do conflict with my nursing practice. I work in the NICU so none of my patients have a voice to speak for themselves. Advocacy is a constant conflict between the nurses, parents and doctors caring for the particular newborn. There are many doctors who assume a god-complex and there have been times when the parents have stated that they do not wish for any “extraordinary measures” taken, but the doctors fail to abide. I believe in complete honesty as core values in and out of practice so that reflects in my philosophy forcing me to be honest with my patients. I believe in doing my best in all things not for my own gain so keeping up my skills, doing my own research and practicing underneath the most current evidenced based practice supports that value of mine.
My decision-making process is influenced by the ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses. According to the ICN Code of Ethics, we have four responsibilities as care takers. “to promote health, to prevent illness, to restore health and to alleviate suffering…” (ICN, 2012). In order to uphold these values, I must be responsible for thoroughly assessing my patients, educate them on their available options honestly, promote their active decision making in their own care and treat them free of judgements and presumptions.
Being culturally diverse in my nursing care means that I will care for and treat all my patients equally regardless of their cultural or spiritual beliefs, convictions and limitations. I have a belief set spiritually that I follow in my everyday life. I would be lying if I said that I don’t struggle with bringing that into my nursing practice. Being a nurse, I will come into contact with all different types of cultures, some that I just simply do not understand, but it is important to become culturally competent so that ethnocentrism does not occur. Ethnocentrism is a thought process that can occur that compares other cultures to our own while believing that ours in superior (Barger, 2017). Having this mindset in practice, will cause confusion and conflict.
Nursing Model and Framework
A popular nursing model that goes hand-in-hand with my philosophy of nursing is Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort. Developed in the 90’s, this theory focusing on promoting and advocating for comfort in our patients. Some key characteristics of the model include ease, relief and transcendence in our patients. The theory is that if the needs of the patients are met and if the patient is satisfied by our care health-wise, they will feel more at ease and feel relief. Our job as nurses according to this model is to assess and be aware of what our patient’s needs are, developing appropriate nursing care plans and then reassessing later for how the patient’s comforts are (Petiprin, 2016.) Kolcaba’s model relates to my philosophy of nursing because I stated above how important advocacy is to me. The only way to promote accurate advocacy is to thoroughly assess my patient and promote their needs and wants. Along with implementing the most appropriate care, I must communicate with them to find out their comfort levels, desires and how they would like to proceed with their care which reflects Kolcaba’s model of assessing the patient’s comfort.
Application into Practice
My personal philosophy of nursing is translated into practice every day as I treat patients. Patient advocacy, honest communication, and my belief of keeping up with current breakthroughs are my key elements in my philosophy. With that being said, I have and will continue to treat my patients equally, advocating for their care regardless of my opinion and the conflict that it could cause, communicating their diagnosis and treatment options to them honestly, and not relying on my knowledge only in clinical care but instead, keeping up with new evidence based practices.
It is hard to balance business and patient care, but it definitely is possible. Our goal clinically is to provide the best ethically sound, patient-centered care that we possible can as healthcare provider, but it is hard to do so without considering the business aspect of healthcare. There are many current trends that are effecting quality care. One trend in specific is lack of access to care that some individuals have. Private medical insurance costs are through the roof and according to AFSCME, about 29 million people with private health insurance are at a very high risk of financial disaster if they were to endure a serious illness or injury (AFSCME, 2018.). These are real problems and people who are without proper health insurance or fearful of what their financial situation would be if they were diagnosed, fail to get the care they need because of the cost.
This paper gave me the opportunity to share what I view as important. It allowed me to share my philosophy of nursing and the key elements that have influenced how I view nursing. My self-concept, values and cultural beliefs help influence by philosophy of nursing along with researching different types of nursing models. I was able to describe how I put my philosophy into action in my every day clinical practice.