A nursing philosophy is an essential tool for anyone who wants to be successful in the nursing field. It is important for new nurses because it helps them set career goals and determine their approach to different situations. For experienced nurses, a strong philosophy can help them stay focused on their goals when faced with challenges or difficult patients. A nursing philosophy also helps other healthcare professionals understand how you think about certain topics, such as ethics, quality improvement, and patient care issues.
What is a nursing philosophy?
A nursing philosophy is a set of beliefs about the nature of nursing and how it should be practiced. As a profession and form of knowledge, nursing is complex and challenging, making it difficult to define in one sentence or paragraph. Nursing philosophy can help guide you as you navigate your career in nursing.
Why is a nursing philosophy important?
Nurses must make daily decisions that affect their own well-being as well as that of their patients. To do this, nurses should have a solid understanding of the values and beliefs that guide their actions.
Helps nurses make decisions about what is best for their patients
For example, if you believe every person has a right to dignity, you’ll treat each patient with respect and kindness. If you believe everyone has the right to make their own decisions about treatment options, you may encourage people to participate in their care plans. Nursing philosophies are also useful when making difficult decisions about end-of-life care or providing comfort measures when no medical cure is available.
Gives nurses an ethical approach
A nursing philosophy also helps you develop an ethical approach to your work as a nurse. Using these principles to guide your actions, you can make better decisions about how to care for your patients.
Makes nurses objective
Nurses must be aware of their feelings and biases when providing care, so they can remain objective and focus on the patient rather than themselves.
Nurses must learn how to care for patients despite any emotions or personal experiences they have had with similar cases in the past. They also need to be able to provide care regardless of whether they like or dislike someone’s personality or lifestyle choices — all patients deserve proper treatment regardless of these factors.
Factors that influence nursing philosophy
A nurse’s philosophy may be influenced by several factors, including:
Nurses who have different levels of education may have different philosophies. For example, nurses with an accelerated bsn online degree are more likely to have a more developed and advanced perspective than those without a university degree.
Nurses who have been in practice longer will likely have a more mature outlook on life than those who are newer to the profession.
Nurses who grew up in similar environments as their patients might feel more comfortable with some types of treatment than others. For example, if you and your patient grew up in rural areas, you might feel more comfortable with home care than hospitalization because that’s what you’re used to.
How to develop a nursing philosophy
Here’s how to develop a nursing philosophy:
· Begin by identifying your values
What are the things that are most important to you? This can be an extremely difficult task for some people, but it is vital to developing a nursing philosophy. For example, do you value relationships with patients and their families or prefer to provide care through a more technical approach?
· List your beliefs about nursing
What makes a good nurse? For example, do you believe that nurses should have strong communication skills and enjoy interacting with others (including patients), or do you see yourself as someone who prefers quiet time alone while caring for others (such as working in critical care)?
· Reflect on what drew you to nursing
Was it the idea of helping people? The ability to use science? The opportunity to work with a team? Maybe it was something else entirely! Whatever your reason for choosing this career path, take time now to reflect on why it’s important to you — it will help shape the rest of your career as a nurse.
· Evaluate your strengths as a nurse
Think about the qualities that make you good at your job. What do you like best about being a nurse? Is there something you wish you could do more often? What are your strengths as an individual? How do these translate into strengths as a nurse?
· Consider your personal values
Nurses are often called on to make tough decisions, such as whether or not to resuscitate an elderly patient who may not have much chance of survival but whose family wants the treatment. In these situations, it’s important to know your personal beliefs about end-of-life issues. Do you believe in euthanasia? Is it okay for doctors or nurses to withhold treatment if they don’t think it will help? What about when someone’s wishes aren’t known?
Your philosophy should reflect career growth
Your goals may change over time as you gain more experience or go through different life experiences. You should also change your goals based on new challenges in your career path. A good nursing philosophy should be flexible enough to be changed when necessary without losing its meaning or importance.
How to use your nursing philosophy in practice
Your nursing philosophy can guide your decision-making, care, practice, and teaching. You can also use it to guide your research.
When faced with a complex situation or difficult decision as a nurse, think about what you would do based on your nursing philosophy. If there is more than one option for action, consider which option is most consistent with your personal values and beliefs about caring for patients in that situation.
If you are still uncertain, talk over the options with colleagues who have knowledge and experience in areas of nursing care before deciding what course of action to take.
Nursing philosophy is important because it prompts nurses to consider their role as healers and how they can best fulfill it. The best patient care practices are often subjective. Even if you have little or no experience working in healthcare, there are ways you can help improve your nursing practice. All that’s required is an open mind and a willingness to learn more about what good caregiving involves.