There is more to nursing than the medical information and nursing techniques learned
in nursing school. In addition to learning how to interact with patients and try to
connect with them, nurses develop their own philosophies of nursing to help guide
their careers. All nurses have their own philosophies which guide their ethics and
daily practice, and while the philosophies don't develop over night, they are an
important part of nursing practice.
What is a philosophy of nursing?
A philosophy of nursing shows how a nurse approaches nursing. That is, how he or she
interacts with patients, what interventions are used, and what nursing theories or
models are used in order to help patients get healthy. Essentially, a philosophy of
nursing is a nurse's personal handbook of nursing developed to guide the nurse in
his or her career.
Part of this philosophy of nursing is a personal code of ethics. Nurses have a set
code of ethics they follow, which they learn while in nursing school. However, this
code of ethics can be extended and personalized based on the nurse's personal work
situation, which goes into his or her philosophy of nursing.
A nurse may also find he or she uses a particular nursing theory or model frequently.
This nursing theory, which determines how he or she interacts with patients, as well
as determining what types of interventions are used, is also often a part of a philosophy
How is a philosophy of nursing developed?
One of the most effective ways of developing a philosophy of nursing is through experience.
As a nurse practices in the health care field each day, he or she adapts from the nursing
style learned in school to one that works better for his or her specific career situation.
For example, a nurse who works in the pediatric field will develop a different nursing
style than a nurse who works in hospice care. This adapted nursing style is part of a
philosophy of nursing.
A nurse's background also contributes to the development of a philosophy of nursing.
Any personal philosophies a nurse, such as a religious background or personal morals,
can color how he or she interacts with patients. While nurses are charged with remaining
neutral and treating all patients the same, using personal background can help nurses
connect with patients. So a nurse may use his or her background as a starting point for
A nurse uses his or her background, as well as his or her experience, to create a personal
philosophy of practice. It serves as a nursing style, as well as a personal code of ethics
for a nurse, tailored to his or her specific career.