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The Nursing Philosophy


TheNursing Philosophy

TheNursing Philosophy

Nursingis one of the most interesting professions in the world. This ispartly because this profession impacts on almost every aspect of ourhuman existence. Throughout time, nurses have been trusted with ourhealth. Ideally, this implies that there is no room for error as faras discharging of their duties is concerned. To achieve these highlevels of excellence, Hildegard and Peplau (2012) note that nursesfrom all over the world are expected to strictly adhere to a specificphilosophy that ideally spells out what is expected of theirprofession. In this paper, we are going to explore the nursingphilosophy as presented in Elizabeth Norman’s book WeBand of Angels.A lot of focus is given to how this philosophy has changed over timeand what this means to the nursing profession as a whole. It is ofimmense significance to explore the concepts of nursing, person,health and environment as expressed by the author and whether thereare any nursing theories that can help understand these concepts.

Accordingto Norman (2013), serving humanity is at the core of the philosophyof nursing. Apparently, this philosophy directs the thought andemotions of nurses on what they believe to be true regarding thenature of their profession. More so, besides endorsing ethical valuesupheld as basic, it provides a basis for all nursing activities. Withhumanity at the core, Norman (2013) notes that this philosophyemphasizes on serving the health needs of all individuals regardlessof their color, race or religion. Actually, this is the collectivemission of all nurses throughout their career which requires alifetime commitment to enhancing the wellbeing of all families andcommunities. In the United States for instance, the nursingprofession is guided by the principles of faith, human ecology, andcommunity-based health care. For this reason, it is founded on thevalues of equality, partnership, compassion, excellence andstewardship.

Accordingto the nursing philosophy, the nursing profession is both as art anda science. As an art for instance, nurses are expected to pass onwhat they have learned regarding health care in the most human way.As such, it is in their best interest to be caring, compassionate,nonjudgmental and culturally sensitive. In fact, Norman (2013) notesthat this profession is more of a calling because one can hardlyachieve all the above traits if he or she does not have a passion toembrace the creative approach to providing world class health care.This is so because not all patients have the needs or respond to thesame stimuli in the same way.

Thescience, in nursing, is depicted in the way nurses use their skillsto apply what they have learned in theory to practice. Apparently,during training, these health practitioners are often taken through acourse of critical thinking, communicating, analyzing and solvingproblems. In addition, they are taught the evidence of chemistry,physiology and microbiology behind human health on which they have tobase their practice on. Ideally, this makes the entire professionscience based. And since science keeps on changing from time to time,Hildegard and Peplau (2012) note that nurses are left with no optionbe to be lifelong learners.

Howthe Nursing Philosophy has changed over Time

Asnoted above, nurses are lifelong learners. Ideally, this implies thatsome elements in their profession keep on changing from time to timehence impacting the philosophy and approach to their actual practice.Not so long ago, Norman (2013) notes that health care was provided inthe most basic way. Today, however, a lot has changed, forcing allhealth practitioners including nurses to shift their method andtactics. One of the most defining moments as far as this change isconcerned is the remarkable advancements in technology. As Olin(2014) notes, technology has reached a level of sophistication thatwas never heard of thirty years ago. The impact of this has been thedevelopment of sophisticated equipment that has greatly improvedhealth care and nursing in general.

Theadvancement of technology has also seen the extension of the nursingpractice to new environments. Close to thirty years ago, mostpatients could receive their health care in hospital setting. Todayhowever, this care is given in a myriad of settings including homes,schools and workplaces. In addition, the actual deliver has becomeinter-professional meaning that other stakeholders in the healthsector are playing a significant role in bettering the entire nursingexperience. The resulting effect on the nursing philosophy over timehas been a growing emphasis on the need of nurses to embracecollaboration with these stakeholders.

Anothersignificant evolution in the philosophy of nursing has been the movetowards cultural sensitivity. Apparently, nurses as health caregivers are entrusted with not only the health of an individual butalso his emotional and spiritual wellbeing. According to Hildegardand Peplau (2012), this implies that they must uphold very highethical standards in the discharging of their duties. In addition,the manner in which they deliver their services must be sensitive tothe cultural values and virtues of their clients. It is perhapsbecause of this reason that the iconic white uniform has beenreplaced by scrubs of different colors and patterns.

TheConcepts of Nursing, Person, Health and Environment

Thebook “WeBand of Angels”by Norman (2013) centers on the plight of nurses during the Battle ofthe Philippines war in early 1940s. The narrations in the book bringabout a version of nursing that had never been witnessed before orhad never had a lot of publicity. As it is always the norm, war hadall sorts of consequences one of it being the depletion of thewellbeing of everyone including those directly or indirectlyinvolved. Nurses become the beacon of hope at a time where nearly allhealth infrastructures were destroyed (Norman, 2013). In their ownbravery, they went ahead and set up field hospitals in the junglesfrom where they attended to the most devastating cases to the best oftheir ability. They endure all sorts of things including fear,brutality and starvation. Surprisingly, all these acts ofselflessness and bravery were never honored back home (Norman,2013).).

Theplight of nurses during all this period serves to highlight just hownoble and critical their profession is. Despite the harsh conditions,their services were dearly needed thus prompting them to risk theirown lives for the sake of others. According to their conscience,health is paramount and the life of every person matters (Norman,2013).). In addition, setting up field hospitals at the epicenter ofbattlefields served to illustrate how any environment can beconverted into a health care center in times of need. The mostdevastating injuries of war do not always have the privilege ofwaiting or holding on. As such, the faster they get health careregardless of place and time the better.

VirginiaHenderson’s Need Theory

Anursing theory is often defined as a framework that offers guidanceto nurses in their quest of offering the most ideal health care.There are different theories and nursing models used today becausehealth care delivery has become very sensitive in the current fastmoving environment. According to Olin (2014), the numerous models areall important because a particular approach used in a particularenvironment or situation might not the effective in another. Despitethis however, one factor that is common with all theories is theclear definition of the role of nurses. There is also an apparentdescription of the nursing process as it relates to the differentideas behind the particular nursing theories.

VirginiaHenderson’s NeedTheoryis one nursing model that can help one understand WeBand of Angels. First,the model highlights the crucial role that nurses play in the generalwellbeing of humanity (Olin, 2014). According to the author, thesehealth practitioners are directly entrusted with not only our health,but also our emotions and feelings. As such, their unique function isto assist individuals, whether sick or well to better their happinessand comfort. As demonstrated in the book, it should be nurses’ mainobjective to ensure that they increase their clients’ independenceto promote their healing. Ideally, this is the number one calling ofthe nursing profession. The nurses in WeBand of Angelswereselfless enough to demonstrate that they put the welfare of theirclients before their own lives a true definition of serving theircourse with passion (Norman, 2013).


ElizabethNorman’s book is a complete masterpiece that depicts the stridesthe nursing profession has made over the years. The hardships thatnurses went through during the war are proof enough that theirs ismore than a calling than just a career. It is for this reason thatevery nursing philosophy is built on the passion of wanting to servehumanity in the best possible way. Every outstanding nurse out thereis one who has conquered all odds and strived to uphold very highethical standards in the discharging of his or her duties.


Hildegard,E. &amp Peplau, R. (2012). The Art and Science of Nursing:Similarities, Differences, and Relations. NursingScience Quarterly, 4(2),315-321.

Norman,E.M. (2013). WeBand of Angels: The Untold Story of the American Women Trapped onBataan. NewYork: Random House Trade Paperbacks.

Olin,J. (2014). Nursing Theories and a Philosophy of Nursing. JHolist Nursing, 22(3),379-398.