Nursing Epistemology: My Personal Definition Of Nursing

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines nursing as the “protection, promotion, optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations” (American Nurses Association website, n.d.). The ANA definition is an accurate representation of my personal definition of nursing. It embodies the fundamental duty of caring for both individuals and communities, encompasses the necessity of health promotion and prevention of disease, incorporates the scope of advanced nursing practice in diagnosis and treatment of disease, and includes nursing’s role as an advocate.
My personal
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Carper identifies four components of nursing epistemology: empirics, ethics, esthetics and personal (Chinn, n.d) (Zander, 2007).
Empirical. Knowing is developed through the science and research about natural science, physiology and the pathophysiology of wellness and disease. This is consistent with the logical positivism paradigm of modernist theory. Measuring a blood pressure is meaningless without the scientific understanding of cardiac output. Science is the how I understand the physiologic underpinnings of nursing, and the expected physiologic response. Science is systematic, objective, and logical. It is how I know administering a beta-blocker will reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
Ethical. Knowing is gained through the concepts of rights, obligations and moral duty. Ethics are dependent upon ethical behaviors and morals that are inherent in each individual (Benner, 1982). It is a compilation of professional ethical standards developed by experts in the field and our own individual ethics derived from personal experiences, cultural, spiritual and social
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It is the creative skill of blending science, esthetics and personal knowing into practice. The artistry of nursing is a unique talent that is learned from practice, research and experience. It is researchable, but rarely objective. I believe the nature of nursing is greater than either science or art alone and that caring is the ontological substance of nursing. It is the essence of our personality as a discipline.
Jean Watson’s caring theory defines nursing as both a science and an art. Nursing is “a human science of persons and human health—illness experiences that are mediated by professional, personal, scientific, esthetic, and ethical human care transactions” (Watson, 1988, p. 54). Watson further describes that caring “is the foundational ontological substance of nursing and underpins nursing’s epistemology“ (Watson, 1990, p. 21). Heidegger describes caring as the “basis of all motivation”(Griffin, 1983, p. 289). Without a sense of caring, nothing matters and there is no sense of

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