Personal Philosophy of Nursing: The Lessons of Caring

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Caring is an art that has never belonged solely to nurses. However, nurses have made a profession out of caring. It is the betterment of myself within this profession that I have made into my life-long pursuit. Within this pursuit, I have found passions that have formed the basis of my practice: optimizing the variables, enhancing my art, and teaching others the ways of caring. These passions form the core of a philosophy that is culled from my own experiences and the informed by mentors and scholars that have influenced me.

In optimizing the variables, I apply the science and practice the art of nursing within the realm of patient, environment, and health. Optimizing the variable of patient is the work of doing for him, what he is unable to do for himself (Orem, 2001). Whether this is maintaining perfusion or teaching how to prevent infection of an injury, I am helping the patient move closer to health. In optimizing the environment, I am creating an environment that is physically, socially, psychologically, and spiritually beneficial in moving the patient toward health, as well as protecting the patient from the harmful aspects of an environment from which they cannot be separated. In optimizing health, I am crafting a plan that enables the patient to move along the continuum of health in the act of becoming the consummate version of themselves. Balancing these three variables creates the space for the patient, or their body, to do the work of healing and is the challenge that keeps luring me back.

In enhancing my art, I seek to further my knowledge and skills in the discipline. The domain in which I practice is that of the military nurse. The population I care for works day in and day out ensure perfection. For them, failure is not an option. Their standards are the heights of their profession. I dedicate myself to betterment in my profession to ensure that on the day one of my patients needs me most, my skill in caring is as great as their skill in battle.

In teaching others the ways of caring, I apply my fervor for education to ensure the good I have learned is passed on to future generations. I have cultivated nurse mentorships to help guide nurses just starting out. The nurse mentor position is the thing that has tied together all my professional passions. It exercises my skills, tests the bounds of my knowledge, and continues to challenge me. The relationship of these three passions is what has led me to the Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) role. The CNS spheres of influence match my values and philosophy. The program of study has begun to change my thought process and will, no doubt, continue to refine this philosophy. Throughout this journey, I imagine my outlook will change, but I think my passions will likely only grow.

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