My philosophy of nursing is focused around four elements: nursing, environment, person and health. Each of these factors are inextricably linked to each other, and to the whole nursing profession. However, by looking at each of them individually, I am able to form a broader philosophy to accompany me throughout my life as a nurse.
There has been much debate over whether nursing is an art or a science, and such debates date back centuries. However, it seems clear to me that nursing is a combination of the two. In order to be a good nurse, an individual must provide care to their patients. Care is, arguably, an art; it is largely subjective, and only a good nurse will interpret the job of caring effectively. In addition to this, however, a nurse must have the capabilities to learn and apply science in their everyday professional life.
The environment can be seen as a physical place in which a person exists. Of course, within the context of nursing, an environment could be the hospital, a patient’s home, or a community. Furthermore, environment can also be used to describe an individual’s mental awareness, whether it is spiritual, emotional or intellectual.
I consider the philosophical ‘person’ to be the recipient of nursing care. This person may be a patient, or a relative or friend of the patient, or another member of the healthcare team. Central to this element of nursing philosophy is to be mindful that each person is an individual with their own unique set of behaviours, values and beliefs. It is vital that each person is approached as the unique individual that they are; this requires a complete unbiased and unprejudiced attitude on behalf of the nurse.
When considering the subject of health, I conducted extensive research into definitions of the term. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) website, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” (World Health Organisation, 2010). This definition encompasses what I believe about health. It is a state of well-being; just because a person has no serious diseases, this does not mean they are healthy. When meeting a patient, my philosophy is to assess their health in a holistic way, remaining mindful of their individual spiritual, intellectual and emotional needs as well as their physical ones. If adopting the WHO definition of health, then illness can be defined as anything that is interfering with the various areas of well-being.
A nurse is so much more than a person in a uniform, paid to take patients to the toilet and to administer medication. In fact, a nurse is a person with an opportunity to make a real difference, both to individual patients and to society. Nursing is a name for a profession that encompasses an innate desire to care for and help people.
Overall, I live and breathe my nursing philosophy. To me, it is not just a set of words on paper; it runs so much deeper than that. As a study towards a career as a qualified nurse, I apply my nursing philosophy on a daily basis. For me, providing good care to patients is not work. Rather, it the very act of it encompasses everything I believe in and identify with.
World Health Organisation. (2011). Definition of Health. Retrieved from