What is philosophy to a nurse and why is there a philosophy of nursing education? One might assert philosophy is something that is performed by academics in dusty libraries and is meant for a select group of people. But nothing is more true. Nurses perform one of the most important jobs in this world. They take care of all those who can’t take care of themselves. This is invaluable to a civil society. They do the jobs that no one wants to do but no one wants to live without. We should approach such an important job with the gravity it deserves. We must recognize that being a nurse is not just about changing sheets and giving sponge baths. It is also about truly caring and supporting those who can’t support themselves live a dignified life. That is why I want to take the time to talk about a few attributes that should included in nursing philosophies.
The most important attribute in philosophy of nursing is compassion. When dealing with the elderly or sickly one needs to relate to their feelings and needs to take good care of them. Every patient should be approached as an individual and be allowed to feel like a complete person. Nurses should also keep themselves accountable. This means carrying responsibility for the well-being of their patients. It is not helpful for a nurse to blame a patient for a fault if they have not delivered the best care possible. Third, a nurse should always stay professional. Being a professional and being compassionate can at times strengthen each other but also weaken each other. Professionalism can help leaving personal prejudices outside of the workplace which allows a nurse to open up and be more compassionate. But being too professional can also create a distance between the nurse and a patient. This can lead to a patient feeling as a burden to the nurse. A good nurse will be able to strike a good balance between compassion and professionalism. Finally don’t forget to take care of yourself. Many nurses work too many hours because they care too much. But it is important to remember that you need to care of yourself first before you can adequately take care of other patients.
One can also follow a philosophy class on the philosophy of nursing and some universities even offer doctorates in the philosophy of nursing. I believe we should recognize nurses are important for the correct function of our society. Their work can at times be very hard and some patients are often ungrateful. But they continue to work hard for the care of everyone that needs this. I want to share this philosophy of nursing paper with you. Janice Denehy talks about why a philosophy of nursing is important and how a nurse can learn to articulate her own philosophy through her work. It is a great read and it is in line with my articles on coaching philosophy and leadership philosophy. Another wonderful resource is ”Nursing: The Philosophy and Science of Caring.” This books sets out to investigate the meanings of the words often used by nurses to describe their profession. Words like ‘caring for others’, ‘therapeutic care’ and ‘nursing care’ are investigated. This is a great book for anyone looking for a solid philosophical foundation of nursing.