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Nursing Philosophy
Tarah McCurry
Old Dominion University

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An individuals nursing philosophy is an ever evolving. From the day of graduation we

continue to grow and change and nurses. Those early philosophies are often taken from books
and classroom teaching with little human interaction. As we begin our nursing career we often
fall back on the education gained from nursing school to give us insight on how to address
situations and challenges we face daily as nurses. The advancement from student to primary
nurse however now invokes us to embrace the human component .Our education, family, coworkers and work environment help create our own nursing philosophy. Through continued
learning in both formal and informal setting our philosophies are challenged. Through these
challenges our individual values and philosophy as nurses have evolved to make us the nurses
we strive to become.
The definition of nurse is ever evolving. As nursing roles expand and change to include
new technologies and embrace changes in health care so does the definition of nursing and what
it means to be a nurse.
Encompassing autonomous and collaborative care of individuals of all ages, families
groups and communities, sick or well in all settings. Nursing includes the promotion of health,
prevention of illness and the care of ill, disables and dying people. Advocacy promotion of a safe
environment, research participation in shaping health policy and in patient and health system
management and education are also key nursing roles. (International Council of Nursing, 2014).

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The definition above of nursing incorporates the many roles that nurse have embraced.
Historically nursing originated in providing care for the sick, through modern advancement and
education nursing roles have expanded to include health promotion and management. Nurses not
only care for patients in the hospital setting however but in the outpatient setting as well. The
role of nursing also now includes one of educator for both patient and family. Nurses also assist
patients with difficult health decisions. The nursing role has been stretched even further through
advanced practice nurses and the need for updated research and practioner at the bedside. The
physician shortage and allowed an opening or nurses to work under the direction of the physician
to treat and manage patient care keeping the nurse at the bedside and the heart of caring which
has remained a constant throughout nursing.
The expanding definition of nursing has impacted my nursing career. As a primary nurse
I must assess the need of my patients not only physically while they are in the hospital but I must
also assess the needs of the patient after discharge. Assessing patient needs often includes
educating the patient and family members on health care treatments and needs on discharge. I
also assess barriers or hurdles that may impact the patient on discharge in addition to further cost
to the facility or patient.
Nursing Purpose
Purpose can be defined as to set as an aim intention or goal for oneself.
( A nurses philosophy and purpose are often at the root of her nursing career.
A basic philosophy of caring and respect can be set as purpose or goal because after a very tiring
and long day a nurse may no longer feel respected as a caregiver. A goal could be to continue
caring despite the days events and to push forward.

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My purpose for continued nursing is just that, caring. I enjoy making a difference in the
community in which I live. I work to provide patients with the tools necessary to improve their
quality of life. I work toward my purpose one patient at a time with a smile, joke and a kind hand
gently guiding patients toward beneficial decision for themselves. I push them toward the
purpose daily as I work diligently through the task of each day.
Nursing values and beliefs
As nurses continue to evolve and change throughout their career so does ones nursing
values and beliefs. Nurses embrace the core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence.
(National League for Nursing, n.d.). The core values of nursing are the building blocks of
nursing which the nurse continues to evolve. A nurses view of caring evolves from when one
first started their nursing career and continues to change with every meaningful moment. Nursing
beliefs and values will continue to change and evolve as the nurse embraces her role and meets
the daily challenges of nursing.
As a new nurse I focused on the tasks to be completed and care planning as the primary
nurse and less on the patient as a person. My values and values and beliefs evolved during my
career thanks to a very important patient I encountered early in my career. It was late at night on
a busy orthopedic unit, I was making my rounds checking on my patient vital signs, patient
controlled analgesic (PCA), and neuro-vascular assessment on operative limb. The patient
quietly asked me to talk with her I looked at her for a moment puzzled, I had been talking to her
as I was checking all the mentioned tasks. She laughed and patted the chair beside the bed and
said sit down and talk about something other than my surgery or what is to come. The patient

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wanted to hear a joke or two and talk about nothing but more importantly she wanted to feel like
a human and less like a medical procedure. I began to change my nursing philosophy and values
to incorporate providing time for the patient as a person to discuss anything the patient wishes.
Professional practice principles
As the nurse continues to develop and grow in her career principals that she holds close
and dear will still be at the root of all situations that she often encountered. These fundamentals
are formed from family, friends, co-workers, schools, and institution. Two nursing principals
that I use to guide my professional practice to always continue learning and caring. I continue
this in the informal or formal situation and often through patients and coworkers. Through
education I can provide my patient with current and accurate information needed to assist them
with health care decisions. Education is also pivotal in my role as charge nurse, I am often in the
situation where I need to make educated decisions quickly staying up to date on current policies
and education provide me with the tools needed to make these decisions. The second and most
important principal guiding my nursing practice is caring. Caring for patients is the heart of why
I became a nurse. I find this to be the easiest and most difficult part of my job. This can be the
easiest part when I have a patient who just needs a friendly face to talk with while waiting for
test result and the most difficult when caring for patient who dies. However if the days tasks are
easy or difficult caring for me is the reason I became a nurse and it provides me with the basis
for why to many of lifes questions.
Nursing philosophy is ones individual values and beliefs. As ones nursing career and life
evolves and changes each persons philosophy also evolves. The role and philosophy historically
has changed throughout nursing as does the continued role of nursing. Embracing the ever

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changing world of nursing and continuing to exam ones own philosophy is important to
continue grow as a nurse.

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International Council of Nursing. (2014, June 23). Definition of Nursing. Retrieved from
National League for Nursing. (n.d.). About the NLN. Retrieved from
Purpose [Def 6]. In Retrieved March 20, 2015, from

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Honor code
I pledge to support the Honor System of Old Dominion University. I will refrain from any
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 all suspected violators of honor code. I
will report to a hearing if summoned.
Tarah McCurry

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Attached Grading Rubric
Grading Criteria
Appropriate introduction is included. (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%)

Values and beliefs about nursing are clearly

identified. (10%)

TWO principles or rules that guide

professional practice are identified; and a
specific example of how each rule or
principle has been utilized or demonstrated
in your daily practice of nursing are
included. These can be specific examples
from your clinical experiences. (15%)
Conclusion summarizes main points of
*Remember that the conclusion of the
paper should reiterate the main points. It
should never introduce new ideas or things
not discussed in the body of the paper. Try
not to repeat the exact language you used
in other areas of the paper, especially the
introduction. (10%)
Reflection- Reflect on or evaluate what you
learned. (5%)



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

o Correct grammar, spelling and

punctuation (10%).

0 errors= 10%
< 3 errors = 8%
4-10 errors= 5%
>10 errors = 2%

Correct use of APA format, including

adherence to page limit of 6 pages and
Honor Code (10%)


0 errors = 10%
< 2 errors=9%
2-5 errors = 6%
6-9 errors = 4%
10 or > errors =0%

Final Grade: (100%)