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My Professional Nursing Philosophy

My Professional Nursing Philosophy

Kristin Krajewski
Kent State University

My Professional Nursing Philosophy

In nursing, my attitudes, values and beliefs will be the frameworks that guide the actions
I will take, and encompass the rationale for why I am doing them. In this paper I discuss my own
philosophy of nursing and how it will influence my practice. My personal theory is influenced by
the holistic approach of Betty Neumans Systems Model and the practice of prevention in
Penders Health Promotion Model. There are certain traits nurses must possess to be able to
apply these theories, such as empathy and authenticity. I also discuss the importance of a nurses
roles as a patient advocate, educator and decision-maker. A nurse must use these skills and the
application of these theories to counter the negative issues in health care, such as decreased
quality of care, barriers to access, and rising health care costs. Health promotion and holistic
interventions are the keys to reducing health care costs and providing effective patient care.

My Professional Nursing Philosophy

My Professional Nursing Philosophy
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of philosophy is the rational investigation
of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct. Every discipline has its own
philosophical foundations, and nursing is no different. Developing a nursing philosophy is an
important process that every nurse should explore. It helps to guide the type of nurse they will
become, along with the important theoretical principles to will follow while practicing. Our
beliefs affect our actions, so as nurses we need to analyze our personal values and how they will
influence our patient care. My own personal nursing philosophy is one that stresses the
importance of authenticity, encourages health promotion, and creates plans of care that
incorporate holistic interventions. My philosophy is mostly influenced by the health promotion
model of Nola Pender and the holistic approach of Betty Neumans Systems Model.
According to Betty Neumans model, a person is a client system that is composed of
physiologic, psycholocial, sociocultural, and environmental variables (Craven, 3009). A patient
should be seen as more than just their disease process. Each person has unique personal
characteristics and experiences that affect their behavior (Saleem). These behaviors in turn
influence their health. Health is far more than the medical definition of the absence of disease.
Neuman defines health as the condition in which all parts and subparts (variables) are in
harmony with the whole of the client (qtd. in Saleem). Health is measured by the balance of the
four contexts of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being. If one of these areas is
lacking, a person will not be able to reach optimum wellness (Craven, 2009). I believe it is a
nurses role to examine all four of these contexts and encourage interventions that benefit every
aspect of a persons being.
My Professional Nursing Philosophy

There are few key characteristics and roles that a nurse must be in order to be successful
in applying these theories. A nurses role has expanded to be far more than that of just a
caregiver. Todays nurse is a decision maker, educator, manager, patient advocate, and much
more. A nurse must be able to prioritize interventions, think critically and communicate
effectively all while building a partnership with the patient for their plan of care. A nurse must
practice and refine superior therapeutic communication skills to in order to build a positive
rapport and level of trust with the patient. To reach and impact the patient the nurse must portray,
what I believe to be the most important attribute, authenticity. Patients will react to our
interventions positively if we can demonstrate a truly genuine desire for their well-being. Once a
nurse is in possession of these qualities, they can effectively apply the theories of Neuman and
Pender into practice.
By using the aforementioned techniques, the nurse can determine underlying barriers that
are contributing to a patients negative health behaviors. According to Penders theory,
perceived barriers can constrain commitment to action (Saleem, 2011). We must inspire our
patients by illustrating the reasons they should want to help themselves and how positive health
behaviors will improve their quality of life. It is wonderful that we care for patients while they
are in the hospital setting, but we need to take the steps to ensure health promotion behaviors to
reduce their risk of them coming back. A nurse spends the most time interacting with the patient
over any other healthcare personnel. There are many opportunities to educate patients about their
health status and learn about their personal health beliefs. I can use the time during changing
dressings, bathing or while performing assessments to use therapeutic communication and to
learn more about their perceived stressors.
My Professional Nursing Philosophy

Many people believe that health promotion services are a waste of time and resources,
but I believe the opposite to be true. Pender argues, Major emphasis on health promotion has
the potential long-term benefits of extending longevity, enhancing the quality of life, and
reducing health care costs (Pender, p.798). I am personally reminded of the old saying give a
man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. In order to
be an effective teacher the nurse must ensure that the teaching techniques being used are
effective and that the plan is individualized to meet the patients learning needs. A nurse must
also evaluate the patients comprehension of the information. One of the propositions of Penders
theory is that the Perceived competence or self-efficacy to execute a given behavior increases
the likelihood of commitment to action and actual performance of the behavior. The patient is
more likely to comply if they fully understand the behavior and believe they can do it.
In order to make preventative healthcare a reality nurses have to do their part to advocate
health promotion and do their part in controlling rising healthcare costs. As a nurse I will do this
by advocating for healthcare for all individuals regardless of their prior condition, social standing
or economic status. I will follow Penders model of health promotion because primary
prevention is more economically feasible than tertiary care. In order for this model to be
successful, we need healthcare administrators that will take responsibility for their actions and
make educated decisions about quality control and allocation of resources. The current practices
of hospitals and insurance companies reinforce the bottom line and profit margins, instead of
being concerned with the quality of patient care. Rising health care costs is a hot political topic in
our country as we face an ominous need for health care reform.
The Neuman Model incorporates the concept of client wholeness, the goal of optimal
health and utilization of primary prevention strategies to maintain wellness (Neuman 111). A
My Professional Nursing Philosophy

positive aspects of the Neuman System Model is that it is open to interpretation and is still
relevant today. An idea I relate to in Neumans Theory is idea of stability, a state of balance of
harmony requiring energy exchanges as the client adequately copes with stressors to retain,
attain, or maintain an optimal level of health thus preserving system integrity ( Saleem). While
Neuman defines stability in her model, her theory itself is contradictory as it is constantly being
interpreted and updated. In 1989 Neuman added the idea of a spiritual variable to her holistic
paradigm. Neuman explained why she added it, Although a new approach for medicine, nursing
has integrated spiritual care into nursing since the days of Nightingale. Research is
demonstrating the importance of the spiritual variable to recovery of health (p.111). Adding
spirituality truly emphasizes the importance of holistic care. We must not only be concerned with
the physiological, sociocultural, phychological aspects of our patient, but also their spiritual
well-being. Neumans basic theory of holistic medicine still holds true today with ability to be
open to interpretation and adapt to the times.
Both Neuman and Peders theories emphasize the importance of nurses continuing their
education. This is an ideal that I will strive to achieve during my professional career. It is
imperative that nurses be informed on the latest evidenced based practices and newest research
findings in order to provide the most efficient and effective care possible. While technology is a
blessing it can also be a curse as well. As nurses, we need to do our part to avoid any
unnecessary expensive and invasive interventions. Many extraneous tests can be avoided just by
a nurse having the proper assessment skills. I think nurses need to get back to the basics. Instead
of a heavy reliance on technology, we need to promote the importance of proper evaluation
techniques and good therapeutic communication skills. Technology should be used in
conjunction with proper assessment technique, and not in place of it.
My Professional Nursing Philosophy

While we have a profession responsibility to patients, we also have the opportunity to be
role models. As a nurse I recognize the potential influence of my own hypocrisy. In the research
paper written by Esposito and Fitzpatrick, one can see firsthand the influence of a nurses own
personal behaviors and how they can affect the health promotion education to patients. In the
study it was confirmed that nurses who believed and engaged exercising regularly were more
likely to recommend it in their patients treatment plan. Nurses that did not exercise regularly
were less likely to do so (Esposito, 2011, p.352). It is not fair to ask things of our patients that we
are not willing to do ourselves.
In conclusion, a nurse has to advocate for the rights of patients, educate them on positive
health behaviors, and manage their care through the effective utilization of available resources.
As nurses we need to be adaptable to different patients and situations and be willing to cater our
approach to every individuals needs. The philosophical ideals of Pender and Neuman will guide
the foundations of how I approach patient care. I will always have the primary goals of
prevention, health promotion and holism in the forefront of my mind. I will also remember that
my own personal behaviors have an influence on my patient and how I practice.

My Professional Nursing Philosophy

Craven, R., & Hirnle, C. (2009). Fundamentals of nursing. (6th Ed. ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott
Williams & Wilkins.

Dictionary.com. (2011). Definition of philisophy. Retrieved from

Esposito, E., & Fitzpatrick, J. (2011). Registered nurses' beliefs of the benefits of exercise, their
exercise behaviour and patient teaching regarding exercise. International Journal of
Nursing Practice, 17, 351-356.

Neuman, B., & Reed, K. (2007). A neuman syestems model perspective on nursing in 2050.
Nursing Science Quarterly, 20(2), 11-113.

Pender, N., & Pender, A. (1980). Illness prevention and health promotion services provided by
nurse practioners: Predicting potential consumers. American Journal of Public Health,
70(8), 798-804.

Saleem, T. (August, 22 2011). Health promotion model. Retrieved from