How A Personal Philosophy of Nursing Helps Your Career

Have you defined your personal philosophy of nursing?

Whether you realize it or not, many factors influence your perceptions of this important profession.

Your beliefs are a product of:

  • Your interactions with patients,
  • Patient families and other healthcare professionals,
  • The knowledge you obtained from the classroom.

Defining your philosophy provides you with a deeper connection to those beliefs and values that initially led you into the profession. It can also help you strengthen your knowledge, attitude, and skills.

So, what is a philosophy of nursing?



Defining a Personal Philosophy of Nursing

As a current or aspiring nurse, you have beliefs about what nursing means to you. Those beliefs affect your decisions, actions, and reactions.

Because your theories and philosophies affect the choices you make every day, it is only right to identify them.

What is your personal philosophy of nursing? It is the sum of your beliefs; what it is, what it is not, and what it can be.

A Personal Philosophy of Nursing for Students

You deeply relate to the values, skills, and traits that you feel a nurse must embody.

In a profession as important as nursing, being in touch with your “why” is crucial.

Defining a personal philosophy of nursing is your way of uncovering what fuels your passion for this exciting profession.

Understanding this “why” will help you become connected mentally and emotionally to your work. It is no secret that connection plays a significant role in nursing.


A Personal Philosophy of Nursing for Practicing Nurses

You may feel that you live your philosophy every day, so why would you need to define it?

You often hear that nurses must overcome a series of demands to provide top quality care. As a practicing nurse, you can relate to the long hours, high-pressure situations, and constant flow of physically challenging work.

Developing a personal nursing philosophy, and revisiting it regularly, will help you overcome these demands by staying in touch with what drives you.



How to Write a Personal Philosophy of Nursing

It is very common for nursing students to be assigned the task of writing a personal philosophy of nursing.

Preceptors and instructors often hand down this assignment to get their students thinking in new ways. It’s also helpful in preparing new nursing graduates for their first job interviews.

Each person likely already has a philosophy, they just have yet to formally define it.

Begin defining your personal philosophy of the nursing profession by first answering the questions below:

  1. What is nursing?
  2. Why is it important to me?
  3. What does a nurse bring to society?
  4. Who makes a great nurse?
  5. What qualities and skills are important for nurses?
  6. Which values should every nurse have?
  7. What mistakes should a nurse never make?

Creating this list will prompt you to begin clarifying your personal philosophy of nursing.

This will make it easier for you to combine them into an overall philosophy. Expanding your individual answers into a complete philosophy can be accomplished through the following exercise:

STEP 1

Begin by defining exactly what nursing means to you personally.

This is not a formal definition; seek to weave your answers from above into explanatory sentences.

STEP 2

Include one story (or more) that elaborates on some of your values, traits, and skills.

STEP 3

Discuss how you personally intend to impact society through your nursing.

STEP 4

Close by highlighting the values, traits, and skills that mean the most to you.

If you can, tie these qualities into your past, current or planned future experiences.


What’s Your Personal Philosophy of Nursing?

Writing a personal philosophy of nursing provides you with a deeper connection to the beliefs and values that initially led you into the profession. It can also help you strengthen your knowledge, attitude, and skills.

Taking a moment to create your own philosophy helps you to remember why you love what you do.



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