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Philosophy of Nursing

Kristy A. Gregorich


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Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements in the course Nursing! 431:!Transition!to!Professional!Nursing!Practice! ! in!the!School!of!Nursing ! Old Dominion University





The scope of this paper is to define my personal nursing philosophy based on clinical

practice experiences over the past several semesters and compare them to my initial personal

nursing philosophy that I defined in my sophomore year. The beliefs, values, and theories that

guide my professional practice will be explored, as well as personal and professional goals.

After re-reading my first personal philosophy paper, I was happy to find that the

foundation for my nursing care has not waivered much. I still very much believe that providing

exceptional patient-centered care is the cornerstone to great nursing practice. In order to be

successful the nurse is able to understand and communicate the needs of the patient, be

knowledgeable of available resources, and have the tenacity to stand up for their patients.

Definition of Nursing

In my initial paper I mention M. Jean Watson, Florence Nightingale, and Dorthea Orem

as theorists that captured my philosophy of nursing. While I still think there is a great deal to be

learned from these theorists, I have found through my clinical experiences that the theorist I lean

more towards depends on where in the hospital or community I am working and the patient or

client I am working with.

As the semesters have gone on I have found a love for fast paced, high stress

environments, such as the Emergency Department. Virginia Henderson’s Definition of Nursing

targets this population, focusing on patient safety and nursing knowledge. She defines nursing as

“The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the

performance of those activities contributing to health, or its recovery, or to a peaceful



death that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge

and do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible.”

Henderson felt that nurses who had clear idea of their role were able to define expectations and

identify boundaries, therefore providing safe and competent care (Johnson & Webber, 2010, pgs


My personal definition of nursing encompasses what Henderson and other theorists have

recognized but as times have changed nursing involves much more than any one theorist defined.

Nursing is a group of educated professionals committed to the complete wellness of the patient

and their families, and the community. It requires a specific skillset that includes intellectual

competencies, technical skills, and the ability to think critically. The nursing professional must

be tactful, authoritative, and compassionate and have the capability to talk with patients,

families, physicians, and other professionals even in the worst of situations. The professional

nurse can be seen serving in their community as a member of the Armed Forces, in a hospital,

office or school. Wherever they are, they serve as role models and advocate for a better quality

of life.


The essential purpose of nursing is to establish an environment where mental, physical,

and spiritual wellness is maximized. This is accomplished by nursing professionals using a

three-fold approach. First, care is tailored and provided to the patient based on their specific

needs. In a recent nursing article, Patient-Nurse Partnerships, the authors discuss that the

collaboration between the patient and provider results in better adherence to treatment plans and



outcomes (Doss, DePascal, Hadley, 2011). Second, it is the organization’s duty to educate

patients and their families, and members of the community on disease processes and prevention.

Programs targeting obesity, diabetes, nutrition, and healthy hearts are designed to equip citizens

with the necessary tools to combat deadly diseases. Lastly, nurses serve as role models and

mentors. This starts with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, continuing personal education paths,

and creating learning opportunities for junior nurses and health team members.


Cultural diversity is something that has been explored continuously throughout nursing

school. My initial interpretation was that this referred to one’s race, religion, gender, or beliefs.

As a nursing school senior though, I see cultural diversity as much more. It is the 21 year old

woman that is eighteen weeks pregnant and states she is a heroin addict, it’s the 13 year old that

comes to the emergency room with his grandmother because he has a sexually transmitted

disease, or the parents who decide to take their 10 year old off of life support. It is inevitable that

at some point the nurse will encounter one of these culturally challenging situations. M. Jean

Watson’s Theory of Caring eludes that the key to success when presented with one of these

circumstances is “identifying and caring for the self is a prerequisite for respecting and caring for

others” (Johnson & Webber, 2010, pg 163). The professional nurse must continuously explore

their own feelings in order to provide safe, competent, and culturally appropriate care.

In addition to proving exceptional patient care, the professional nurse also reaches out to

their community. Community based nursing programs evaluate the population, identify specific

needs, and implement interventions targeted at prevention and management (Maurer & Smith,



2009). Educating culturally diverse populations requires confidence, subject knowledge and

critical thinking skills. The topics provided should be relevant and taught in a manner that the

clientele can relate to. Barriers in community health nursing include funding, accessibility to

resources, and gaining the trust and respect of the targeted population.

Nurses are an integral part of every health care team. They are the mainstream

communication pathway between physicians, patients, families, and care partners. Because

healthcare is a multi-disciplinary team it is imperative that a culture where there is mutual

respect amongst all members of the team and differences in opinions are valued exists.


One of the major principles that guide my care is treating my patients and their families

how I would want myself or one of my family members treated. The things that may seem the

least significant or take the shortest amount of time are the things that are remembered. It’s

getting a box of tissues for the mom that is crying because her baby is sick or getting a blanket

for child that is shivering or comforting the husband, asking if we can call someone for him as he

watches life saving measures being performed on his wife. Taking a few extra seconds and

paying attention to the small details can make a huge difference on outcomes and how they see

their hospital experience.

Another guiding principle in my nursing practice is the Navy’s core values: Honor,

Courage, and Commitment. These standards are something I strive to uphold in everything I do

in life. As a nursing professional this means being proud of what you do and what your

organization stands for. It means advocating for your patient and their best interests, even when



other may not necessarily agree. This also means providing quality care to those that may not

necessarily hold the same morals and beliefs that you do and the ability to put aside personal

differences in order to accomplish the mission.


Over the past three years my nursing philosophy and understanding of the nursing

community has grown, though the cornerstone of my beliefs has remained the same. Just as the

theorists have found, I believe providing quality patient-centered holistic care will improve a

patient’s overall wellness. A nurse that is culturally sensitive and aware of his or her beliefs will

have a positive impact on their patients and their families, as well as the community.

The main reason why I switched in to this profession was because of the endless

possibilities that are available to serve people. As a Navy nurse, my duties will entail patient and

family care, educating and mentoring fellow nurses and junior Sailors, and assisting with policy

and procedures. While I know I plan to continue my education, I am remaining open to which

direction I am heading. The past several years have opened my eyes to many opportunities that

exist and for that I am excited to start on this new career path.




Doss, S., DePascal, P., & Hadley, K. (2011). Patient-nurse partnerships. American Nephrology

Nurses Association, 38(2), 115-125.

Maureer, F., & Smith, C. (2009). Community/public health nursing practice.

Johnson, B., & Webber, P. (2010). An introduction to theory and reasoning in nursing.





Grading Criteria



Appropriate introduction is included. Introduction includes a summary of the philosophy of nursing written in Nursing 300 (5%)


The student’s definition of nursing, whether borrowed or original, is described and explained. (15%)


The purpose of nursing from the student’s perspective is clearly described. (10%)


Assumptions about the relationships between


the nurse and the client in a culturally diverse setting

the nurse in the community

the nurse with other health care professionals are discussed in relation to an appropriate theoretical model(s) (15%)

TWO principles or rules that guide professional practice are identified; and specific examples specific of how these rules have been utilized or demonstrated in a clinical practice experience are described and analyzed. (15%)


Conclusion summarizes main points of paper, describes how personal philosophy has changed, goal for future (10%)


Three (3) or more references are cited in the paper and included on the reference list (10%)


Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation (10%)


Correct use of APA format, including adherence to page limit (10%)






Honor Code Statement:

“I pledge to support the Honor System of Old Dominion University. I will refrain from any form of academic dishonesty or deception, such as cheating or plagiarism. I am aware that as a member of the academic community, it is my responsibility to turn in all suspected violators of the Honor Code. I will report to a hearing if summoned.” THIS IS MY OWN WORK.

Name: Kristy A. Gregorich

Kristy A. Gregorich