An Assessment of “Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing” As a relatively new professional field that was born of a need for holistic health care performed by empathetic individuals, nursing has historically lacked a certain fundamental scientific process that defines other, more objective fields of study. Many nurses have attempted to apply models and structures to the study of nursing to remedy this deficit, as reviewed over the course of Denver School of Nursing’s Topics of Professional Nursing class. Barbara Carper, the author of “Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing,” attempts to further define the field of nursing by identifying four patterns of knowing: empirics, esthetics, ethics, and personal knowledge. This paper will review Carper’s four patterns and provide personal commentary on her model.
The Patterns of Knowing With her four patterns of knowing, Carper (1978) recognizes that the knowledge used in nursing practice must be organized by “patterns, forms, and structure” (p. 13) that allow nurses and educators to understand the phenomena that occur in practice. The following paragraphs highlight the types of knowledge Carper believes are most valuable to nursing as a profession.
The application of empirics appears to be Carper’s solution to the often-encountered question “Is nursing a legitimate scientific profession?” Carper acknowledges that empirics are necessary to form concrete explanations that are backed by evidence and that contribute…