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Essay on Service above Self

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I have never given much thought to what my nursing philosophy may be, though I have heard the term once or twice it’s not a major emphasis in nursing school. I think as student nurses we are hyper-focused on having the right answer, memorizing drugs, and not making mistakes that we never think about something as fundamental as what we believe about nursing as both a lifestyle and profession. To me, I was too immature in my position to develop a nursing philosophy, someone like Florence Nightingale or one with a DNP or Ph.D. is the only one qualified to construct such a thing. It’s only now that I realize that a nursing philosophy is dynamic, personal, and global. Blais and Hayes (2016) list and explain four concepts that pattern most nursing philosophies, person or client, environment, health, and nursing (p.101).

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Holistically, the nursing school teaches the student nurse that the client is the center of care. We are taught to maintain an environment conducive to healing and collaboration, it promotes that health is the absence of illness or infirmity and is a basic human right. Who helps to manage all of this? The nurse through the values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence. My nursing philosophy, simply put is service above self. Nursing is a call to service, if every nurse when they showed up to work remembered that they weren’t there for a promotion or a paycheck and aimed to serve others always, it could be transformative. In my faith, we strive to develop a servant’s heart. What this means is from a biblical perspective, a servant serves at all times in both good and bad conditions. This can be seen in the story of Ruth and more importantly Jesus Christ (Mark 10:45).

Service above self means service first. Who have I come to serve, the client and their families, the community, my colleagues, and my facility? The answer is all of the above. Service also entails good stewardship, of knowledge, personal and environmental resource, the autonomy afforded to us, and the privilege to care for others. As inexperienced as I am, I understand that clients and their families deserve warmth, consideration, trust, and respect. I understand that our health and person can sometimes be an extension of the environment, but sometimes the opposite is true too. In this symbiotic relationship, we not only influence the client’s environment, but the environment influences us. Maintaining the best environment is mutually beneficial for the client and nurse to feel safe, healthful, and clean is an integral piece of the care bundle. The degree of well-being should not overlook the statistical and clinical definitions but should also incorporate what is both realistic, attainable, manageable, and acceptable to the client. Health to me is mind, body, and spirit, a client’s self-concept and perception of their health are equally relevant to achieving a feeling and state of health.

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