When it comes to patients, nursing is advocating for their well-being. We treat the body as a whole.
I wrote a Nursing Philosophical paper for one of my nursing classes back in the day and this is how I opened the discussion:
What is the definition of nursing? The American Nursing Association (ANA) defines nursing to be “the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations.” (What is nursing, n.d.) Similar to the ANA’s definition, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) also defines the term nursing as the "promotion of health, prevention of illness, and the care of ill, disabled and dying people." (Definition of nursing, n.d.) The International Council of Nurses (ICN) states that individuals of all ages, families, groups and communities are entitled to collaborative care whether these populations are sick or well. These definitions from both organizations emphasize the main purpose of what nurses do and defines the act of nursing to be universal. As nurses, it is important for us to evaluate our own personal values and understand the importance of providing holistic care.
Putting all dictionaries and research to the side, I conclude nursing to be, not only an act of something good, but a duty to what is a necessity. My whole philosophical nursing ideal was focused on Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring and it's easy to conclude: in order to care for a person, you have to see the person as a whole. You have to tend to all the needs of the patient: emotionally, physically, socially, and spiritually.
There are various generational issues that have had a big impact on the image and profession of nursing. The nursing profession is often affected by the image that it stands for, but in reality, several barriers have caused our image to be invisible. Generational issues such as nurse being dependent on physicians and hospital policy, being threatened to lose their job, or having the historical role of being a handmaiden has made the nursing profession silent and less independent. Because of these factors, it has caused nurses to be fearful, insecure, and timid of their profession.
It is evident that the general public are unaware of what type of education it is required for nurses to acquire to be a registered nurse and what it takes to stay knowledgeable with the latest news with evidence based research. The media has also played a big role in making the nursing image be a profession of taking care of others, but without having the possession of intelligence, critical thinking skills, and competency to meet the patient's needs. The "sexy" nurse, for instance, have been a negative stigma that has been associated with the nursing profession for years and it is still be portrayed to this very day.
Despite the generational issues associated with the nursing image, the nursing profession still ranked as number one in the annual list of occupations that portrayed honesty and ethical standards (Finkelman & Kenner, 2016, p. 31). It is a necessity for nurses to know the importance of showing one’s voice and to speak out. Nursing is a complex professional that requires caring hearted individuals with great knowledge to advocate for patient needs. We must take part in being involved within the inter-professional care team and to not be fearful to do so.
Finkelman, A. W., & Kenner, C. (2016). Professional nursing concepts: Competencies for quality leadership (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
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