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Philosophy is the “search for reality and truth” (GoNursingSchools.com, 2009). Nursing philosophy “examines the relationship between truth and principles in nursing” (GoNursingSchools.com, 2009). By examining these truths and ideals helps form the framework for nursing practice. This framework guides nurses by providing them with guidelines on how to provide care. Nursing philosophies can be personal or universal. Personal philosophies belong “specifically to the nurse and reflect the nurse’s values, logic, morals, and ethics” (GoNursingSchools.com, 2009). Universal philosophies “usually belong to groups, organizations, universities, hospitals, or nursing organizations” (GoNursingSchools.com, 2009). Nursing philosophy is “dynamic, therefore it changes over time” (GoNursingSchools.com, 2009). It is influenced by what is occurring at the time. Different nursing philosophies have been created over time.


“Philosophy is not science, and nursing philosophy is not nursing science” (Silva, 2006). Silva (2006) explains that philosophy is the foundation of science, and nursing philosophy is the foundation of both nursing science and nursing research. It is a concept derived from a nurse’s personal experience in collaboration with a nurse knowledge gained from scholarly research. Nursing research includes the assumptions about human beings, variables of the discipline, and the research method (Silva, 2006). All research must be ethical, regardless of quantitative or qualitative the analysis.

Further directions nurses should take are:
(a) Nurses need greater knowledge about and appreciation for the discipline of philosophy
(Silva, 2006);
(b) Nurse researchers must interact regularly with nurse philosophers to grasp more fully that a philosophy of nursing provides a foundation for nursing science and other nursing knowledge
(Silva, 2006);
(c) Nurses must commit themselves in greater numbers to philosophical inquiry as a legitimate method of obtaining nursing knowledge
(Silva, 2006); and
(d) Nurses must prepare themselves for the blurring of distinct disciplinary boundaries as more interdisciplinary fields emerge
(Silva, 2006).




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Florence Nightingale

There are many people that have contributed to the growth of the nursing philosophy over the years. One of these well-known individuals is Florence Nightingale, a woman who greatly influenced nursing in the 1800’s and early nineteenth century.
Nightingale was considered the founder of modern nursing, and spear headed the movement to improve the standards of nursing care in her time (Potter & Perry, 2009). Nightingale was a well educated young woman and moved to Germany against her family’s wishes in order to gain knowledge and practice nursing (Potter & Perry, 2009). From there she went to work in France with the nuns in the French nursing order, and then to Harley Street Hospital in London where she became the superintendent and developed nursing services there (Potter & Perry, 2009). In 1854 Nightingale was asked to lead a group of nurses to Crimea to help the British soldiers (Potter & Perry, 2009). Nightingale visited many hospitals and gained a lot of knowledge about the current care provided by nurses. In the early 1800’s, hospitals were dirty and health care was not provided in the comforting and caring manor that it is today. Nurses were not admired and were often considered unclean and disrespected individuals but Nightingale was determined to change that. In her nursing practice she applied principles of cleanliness, comfort and care, ultimately changing the way nurses all over the world practiced (Pottery & Perry, 2009). Florence Nightingale is an admired woman and has had a major influence of the philosophy of nurses throughout history.



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Jean Watson

Jean Watson’s philosophy of nursing was first published in 1979 as “The philosophy and science of caring.” (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009) Like the title suggests, her philosophy of nursing is based on the science of caring. Watson’s philosophy of nursing is based on her seven assumptions about the science of caring, which are:

  • Caring can be effectively demonstrated and practiced only interpersonally. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
  • Caring consists of carative factors that result in the satisfaction of certain human needs. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
  • Effective caring promotes health and individual or family growth. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
  • Caring responses accept person not only as he or she is now but as what he or she may become. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
  • A caring environment is one that offers the development of potential while allowing the person to choose the best action for himself or herself at a given point in time. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
  • Caring is more “ healthogenic” than is curing. A science of caring is complementary to the science of curing. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
  • The practice of caring is central to nursing. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)

Watson’s philosophy of caring is her ten carative factors. These factors can be seen as guidelines for nurses who are dealing with patients because they form a structure for caring and assisting the patient in the most caring way possible. Watson’s 10 carative factors are:watson.jpg

1. The formation of a humanistic- altruistic system of values. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
2. The installation of faith-hope. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
3. The cultivation of sensitivity to one’s self and to others. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
4. The development of a helping-trust relationship. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
5. The promotion and acceptance of the expression of positive and negative feelings. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
6. The systematic use of the scientific problem-solving method for decision making. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
7. The promotion of interpersonal teaching-learning. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
8. The provision for a supportive, protective and /or corrective mental, physical, socio-cultural and spiritual environment. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
9. Assistance with the gratification of human needs. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)
10. The allowance for existential-phenomenological forces. (Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing, 2009)


References:
GoNursingSchools.com. (2009). Nursing Philosophy. Retrieved December 7, 2009, from http://www.gonursingschools.com/Nursing_Philosophy.htm

Jean Watson's philosophy of nursing. (2009). Current Nursing. Retrieved December 10, 2009, from http://currentnursing.com/nursing_theory/Watson.htm

Nursing Philosophy [Online Image]. (2009). Retrieved December 7, 2009, from GoNursingSchools.com. http://www.gonursingschools.com/Nursing_Philosophy.htm

Potter, P., & Perry, A. (2009). Canadian fundamentals of nursing (J. C. Ross-Kerr & M.J. Wood, Eds.) (3rd ed.). Toronto: Mosby Inc.


Silva, M., (2006) Ethics of Research: Philosophy of Nursing. Amherst, MA: Springer Publishing Company 2006