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Running head: A Personal Philosophy of Nursing 1

A Personal Philosophy of Nursing

David Salerno, RN
Delaware Technical and Community College
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A Personal Philosophy of Nursing

When I asked myself what is nursing; what purpose do nurses fulfill, I discovered there

are many nursing theories and theorists in the literature. Some of these theories contain beliefs that

overlap others, but each with their own unique contribution. I am most intrigued by The Modeling

and Role Modeling Theory, developed by Helen Erickson (1983). I feel it aligns most closely to

my own personal philosophy. While I will not recite the entire content of the theory, much of it is

inferred and correlates to my own philosophy as detailed below. One can easily draw comparisons.

My beliefs are that nursing is a state of being and an art of caring just as much as it is a

science of doing. Every expression of a nurse is just as variable as there are nurses in practice. Just

as no two paintings can be identical, nor can the entirety of two professional nurses. This is not to

understate the importance of science in nursing. Science propels the profession forward, integrates

the profession within a larger societal climate, and develops improved ways of performing skills

associated with nursing. Skills are attainable, I believe the essence of being a nurse is not. I believe

one either has the capacity to be a true nurse, or they do not. The essence of being what I define

as a nurse cannot be taught, given or obtained; it is whats inside an individual regarding how they

perceive the human condition.

Relationships are at the core of nursing practice. Nursing is purposeful in that its driving

force is to ease human suffering, and in cases where it cannot recognizing and honoring the way

an individual accepts their fate and any of the suffering that it entails (Frankl, 2006). Nurses are

caregivers, teachers, role models, counselors, skilled providers, ad infinitum. Holistically, there is

no one part of another human being that a nurse may or may not have an impact on; the biological,

psychological, sociological, and spiritual.

With regard to the most important characteristics a nurse should have, the ability to accept

a person as they are, without reservation is fundamental. Some refer to it as unconditional

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acceptance, others as unconditional positive regard (Rogers, 1951). To see the value in every

person AS a person is at the core of my personal nursing philosophy. It is also essential that nurses

can perceive the world as if through their patients eyes. The art of listening cannot be understated

here. Not only does active listening help us to gain a more accurate perspective of the persons

world, it sometimes helps them come to their own conclusions about their health and well-being.

As quoted by O. Hobart Mower (as cited in Miller and Rollnick, 2004), it is the truth that we

ourselves speak, rather than the treatment we receive that heals us While words alone cannot heal,

the actions that follow from a persons innate ability to know what is best for them certainly can.

The QSEN competency of Patient Centered Care further illustrates my understanding of

how nurses should treat their patients. Koloroutis (2004), eloquently stated the care provider-

patient relationship is one in which the care provider consistently maintains the patient and family

as his or her central focus. The care provider knows that each persons unique life story determines

how he or she will experience an illness. The care provider conveys an unwavering respect and

personal concern for the patient, strives to understand what is most important to this particular

patient and family, safeguards their dignity and well-being, and actively engages them in all

aspects of the patients care (as cited in Disch). This statement captures the core of my beliefs

with regard to the nurse-patient relationship.

One may ask, what does it mean to be a great nurse? What values must be upheld and

what mistakes or weaknesses should be avoided? Complacency and burn out are areas to be

cautious of. Self-care and self-actualization are precursors to any ability in a position of service.

We must practice what we preach. As stated by Alice Petiprin (2016) Role modeling is the

process by which the nurse facilitates and nurtures the individual in attaining, maintaining, and

promoting health. It accepts the patient as he or she is unconditionally, and allows the planning of
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unique interventions. According to this concept, the patient is the expert in his or her own care,

and knows best how he or she needs to be helped. Adoption of these simple truths yields great

nurses. The six QSEN competencies described by the Institute of Medicine in 2003 (as cited by

Sherwood and Zomorodi, 2014) are more than just competencies; they are a statement of values

to uphold and forewarn us of the blunders that are possible when one goes astray from patient-

centered care, teamwork and collaboration, evidence-based care, continuous quality improvement,

and a mindset for safety while employing informatics.

I will consider myself mostly actualized within my education when I reach a level of

Advanced Practice with prescriptive authority in the field of psychiatry. Education is a daily

endeavor, so I will be far from finished once I attain this status. It will however be a new starting

point for me in my career. This level of achievement is not a monetary pursuit or simply due to the

extraordinary high demand for such nurses, but because I have weathered some severe storms (as

most of us probably have) throughout my life and possess what seems to be an innate ability to

serve the population. I feel called to continue to serve this group beyond my current 11-year

tenure. I do not just plan on making a living out of the opportunity afforded to me but instead,

making a difference in the lives of those I serve.

When considering a nurses responsibility to the community I recall a very simple, but

powerful statement that my instructor made during a lecture in my first semester of nursing school;

take the stairs. Something as simple as choosing to labor flights of stairs over taking an elevator

is an illustration of a commitment to wellness by increasing physical activity. This reinforces that

being a role model for individuals and the community at large is an important consideration.

Obviously, my responsibilities and commitments to patients, families and communities do not end

there. Simply put, my responsibility is to commit to being who I am. Who am I? I am a nurse. I
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possess the essence of being a nurse and have been placed in a position to serve others both

individually and at large.

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Frankl, V. E. (2006). Mans search for meaning. New York: Washington Square Press/Pocket

Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (2013). Motivational interviewing: helping people change (3rd ed.).
New York: Guilford Press.

Petiprin, A. (2016). Helen Erickson - Nursing Theorist. Retrieved August 30, 2017, from

Petiprin, A. (2016). Modeling and Role Modeling Theory. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from

Rogers, C. R., PH.D., Dorfman, E., M.A., Gordon, T., PH.D., & Hobbs, N., PH.D. (1951).
Client-Centered Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications, and Theory. Boston, MA: Houghton
Mifflin Company.

Sherwood, G., & Zomorodi, M. (2014). A new mindset for quality and safety: The QSEN
competencies redefine nurses roles in practice. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 41(1), 15-22, 72.