When you are in a profession as important as I am, it is principal to be in touch with your “why”. Understanding your reason for choosing a career allows you to uncover what fuels your passion by helping you become connected mentally and emotionally. The foremost thing about personal philosophies is that every single person is different. People who choose the same profession have many different reasons for pursuing it based on their values and beliefs. Philosophy roots from the ancient Greek world as philo-sophia, love of wisdom. Wisdom develops from experience, through reflection, seeking to understand relationships, and how to lead a flourishing life (Meehan, 2017).
The philosophy of nursing is one’s personal perspective and reflects their purpose of nursing education and practice. It encompasses one’s values, beliefs, actions, and ethical behaviors and goes beyond day to day beliefs we carry and conduct. The philosophy of nursing is vital to the nursing practice and the well-being of the patients, as well as the nurses. Without such, one purpose of being a nurse may diminish overtime. As a nurse it is important to take a step back and remember what it means to be a nurse when going through hard time such as burnout or no longer feeling fulfilled with the job. Remembering your own philosophy reminds you why you responded to the call of nursing in the first place. Having such values and beliefs provides exceptional care to oneself and those they care for.
Values are things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. Our core values highlight what we stand for and determine our priorities (Jeffrey, 2019). Throughout life our values change. Values that suited you as a child change as you become a young adult (excitement); things that were important as a single working person (promotion) may not be as important when you are married or have children (family). It is a fact that our values change as people mature but it is also true that many remain the same across time. Beliefs are our own opinions of the way things are and what we believe to be true. We form these beliefs from an early age, based on environment, what we are told, and what we have observed and experienced. Beliefs are more difficult to update due to the fact that staying the course is much easier than questioning yourself and everything you have believed in for a lifetime.
Values refer to my standard of behavior and judgement of what is important in life. As a person my top values are family, compassion, health, and success. Personally, family is everything, they are there during the best and worst times of my life, they give me a sense of belonging, and they love me unconditionally. As a nurse my top values are compassion, trustworthiness, humility, and curiosity. Although my top values changed with the different roles I play, the eight I listed above belong to the list of core values that make up my personal philosophy. Beliefs are assumptions that I hold true that are related to past learned experiences which affect morals and values. One of my main beliefs about nursing is that every individual should receive the same standard of care no matter their race, sexuality, cultural beliefs, or social status. It is also my belief that nursing should incorporate holistic care of patients in order to achieve and maintain the greatest quality of life. Personally, I believe that my values and beliefs are things that every human should understand and uphold. I believe that by doing this, patients could receive a higher quality of care in every aspect.
My personal philosophy is to treat every patient as if they were family. Family is there for you during the worst times of your life, and as a nurse I am often present during my patients’ worst times of their lives. For example, if my patient was family, I would treat them with nothing but compassion, be trustworthy, know the fine line between confidence and arrogance, and never stop learning about ways that I can help them. Patients want their nurses to be compassionate, trustworthy, and to advocate for them when they cannot. As a person and a nurse, I find these to be a part of my core values. I know personally if I was in my most vulnerable state, I would want someone to care for me and advocate for me as if I was family. I often think of my mom in my patients position and think about what type of care I would want a nurse to give her. Many patients come in without family, confused, and scared. It takes one person to treat them as if they were family, to show them that they are by their side and will do whatever it takes to make them comfortable and at ease.
My personal philosophy is a statement that each and every professor declared before we started clinicals. When you actually begin to put this philosophy into play, your routine ways suddenly become inhumane and cold. Treating patients like family not only improves their quality of care but allows them to feel like a person rather than an obligation to an oath. I believe that everyone should incorporate this into their care as we care about more than our patient’s diagnosis, we care about them as persons too. When you apply this statement to your nursing care, you begin to realize your primary role isn’t to just sustain a life, but rather to recognize and attend with open arms and an open heart to the complexity of life.
A personal philosophy is more than a blanket statement that covers one’s values and beliefs. It is the reason you are the way you are, and the reason you chose your profession. It is a reminder during the tough and soul-searching times. Taking a step back to revisit our personal philosophies gives a sense of purpose and is the motivation that drives you to be successful. Our values and beliefs help us create the future we want to experience and keep us humble. When us as nurses develop our own personal philosophy of nursing, it benefits our careers and the lives of our patients and their families. Nursing is a privilege taken on by those who have answered their calling by helping those who cannot help themselves.