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Personal Philosophy of Nursing

Allison Carlucci

Old Dominion University


As a nurse, it is important to identify and be confident in ones own set of beliefs and

values. In the nursing profession, there will be many situations in which one must know ones

own beliefs and must act accordingly. An individuals personal set of beliefs and values directly

influences their nursing philosophy, which in turn will impact their actions and behaviors within

their profession. A nursing philosophy is how an individual lives out their personal beliefs and

values and incorporates them into their professional actions at the work place. Though I am not

yet a nurse, my personal beliefs and values as well as my pre-established ideas about what it

means to be a nurse, will all contribute to, and influence my philosophy of nursing.

Definition of Nursing

Since ones own nursing philosophy impacts how one practices nursing, it is important to

define nursing philosophy in order to understand the goal of a nursing philosophy. According to

Petrovskaya, nursing philosophy can be defined as follows:

Fashioned after Aristotelian metaphysics, nursing philosophy can, in the view of one

contributor, be envisioned as a study of the nature, scope, and object of nursing with the

goal to define what nursing really is (Kikuchi). Or, philosophy, studied as an academic

discipline (e.g. ethics or philosophy of science) can offer its insights for nursing. (2014,

p. 299)

Therefore, this suggests that nursing philosophy incorporates ethics and seeks to define the

essence of nursing. This definition of a nursing philosophy also suggests that without an

understanding of the need of a philosophy, the nurse cannot be fully prepared to best meet the

needs of their patients. Additionally, it is important to understand and define nursing.

According to the American Nursing Association, nursing is defined as,


the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness

and injury, facilitation of healing, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and

treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, groups,

communities, and populations. (American Nurses Association, 2016)

This definition of nursing is very thorough and I believe it encompasses much of what it means

to be a nurse. It discusses the different aspects of nursing, such as protection, promotion and

optimization of health, prevention of illness and injury, as well as the importance of advocacy as

a nurse. However, it is also important to know ones limits. For example, while it is necessary

to educate patients and advocate for their rights, one must also support their decisions even if

you do not agree with them. Furthermore, I believe that nursing involves caring for individuals

and seeking to promote health in all aspects of their lives including the physical, mental and

emotional. Additionally, as a nurse, I think it is important to encourage patients as well as to

motivate them to reach their optimal health level.

Purpose of Nursing

Personally, I believe that the purpose of nursing is intricately related to, as well as similar

to, the definition of nursing. I think that the purpose of nursing is to promote and restore the

physical, mental and emotional health of individuals in need. Additionally, I think that the

purpose of nursing involves not only caring for the needs of patients, but also advocating for

them and educating them so that they can better take care of themselves when at home. I believe

that part of being a nurse involves demonstrating compassion and understanding for the needs of

patients, as well as being positive and encouraging.


Values and Beliefs

It is important to identify and understand ones own personal set of beliefs and values and

how they relate to and influence nursing. In discussing beliefs and values, it is important to

delineate between the two. Module nine, Philosophy and Values, provides insight into what

constitutes both beliefs and values. Beliefs are ideas that an individual accepts as truth or as

being real. Values are ideals, behaviors, concepts, major themes or social principles that provide

meaning to ones personal life. Values are things such as truth, accountability, integrity, respect

and charity. These values affect the way we live our lives, make decisions and respond to

situations and issues faced on a day-to-day basis. The way in which we develop values is a life-

long process that involves three steps which include, choosing, prizing and acting. The first step,

which is choosing, is the intellectual part of valuing. People tend to consider the potential

consequences of choices when choosing their personal values. The prizing aspect of valuing is

typically emotional; people like to feel good about their values, as well as their choices, and have

them publicly validated. The last step in the process of valuing is acting. Acting involves an

individual consistently acting upon their chosen values, until they become a part of their day-to-

day behavior. All three of these steps are very important to the valuing process. The reason why

it is important for nurses to understand the valuing process is, when nurses understand the

values that motivate patients decisions and behaviors, they can tap these values when teaching

and counseling patients (Taylor, 2015, p. 95). Therefore, knowing my personal set of values

and beliefs, will help me to better meet the needs of my patients when considering educating

strategies. Some personal values and beliefs I have concerning nursing are honesty, integrity,

autonomy, compassion, fidelity, and justice. I aspire to demonstrate these values and beliefs as a

nurse in my actions, words and choices.


Principles that Guide Professional Practice

There are many principles and rules that are important to me which I try to exhibit

throughout my life. Though I do not have any experience as a nurse, and only minimal clinical

experience as a student nurse, there are principles that I hope to take from my life and apply to

my practice as a nurse in the future. Two principles that I want to guide my professional practice

are trustworthiness and integrity. Trustworthiness I believe is important in developing a positive

relationship with a patient. If a patient does not trust their nurse, they could put up a wall that

could potentially block, or inhibit their receptiveness to interventions and education from that

nurse. Therefore, I think it is important to be trustworthy and if you say youre going to do

something, such as come back in thirty minutes, to follow through on your word. In addition, I

believe that integrity is very important as a nurse and hope to maintain integrity in my future

nursing career. Integrity encompasses many principles, including honesty, fidelity, being

responsible, maintaining professionalism in all aspects of your job, as well as being consistent

with your actions and words. An example of integrity and how it can be applied to my future

nursing career would be following all protocols fully and not cutting corners in order to ensure

optimal patient safety and well-being. Therefore, I hope to be trustworthy and have integrity, as

well as follow many other principles, in all things I do in my future career as a nurse.


In the nursing profession, there are many situations that require an individual to act upon

their personal nursing philosophy. Therefore, since an individuals personal set of beliefs and

values significantly influence their personal philosophy of nursing, one must first identify and

understand what they personally believe and value. Additionally, understanding the process by

which one develops personal values is beneficial to a nurse when educating a patient, in order to

make the teaching more valuable by providing appropriate motivation. Understanding how

values and beliefs influence ones personal nursing philosophy will help to increase the quality

of care provided to patients.


This assignment has been very beneficial in that it helped me to identify, reflect upon,

and discuss my personal values and beliefs and how they influence my personal philosophy of

nursing. Additionally, it was interesting to realize how important it is to know my own values

and beliefs, since they significantly impact my definition of nursing and choices, as well as

actions, taken in the workplace. By doing this assignment, I learned about my own set of values

and beliefs, such as trustworthiness, honesty, fidelity, autonomy, compassion and integrity, and

how they will help to shape my personal nursing philosophy as I continue on my journey to

becoming a registered nurse and attaining a BSN.



American Nurses Association. (2016). What is Nursing? American Nurses Association, Inc.

Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/EspeciallyForYou/What-is-Nursing

Petrovskaya, O. (2014). Philosophy of nursing: 5 questions. Nursing Philosophy, 15(4), 298-303

6p. doi:10.1111/nup.12065

Taylor, C., Lillis, C., & Lynn, P. (2015). The fundamentals of nursing: The art and science of

person-centered nursing care. Philadelphia, PA. Wolters Kluwer.

I pledge to support the Honor System of Old Dominion University. I will refrain from any form

of academic dishonesty or deception, such as cheating or plagiarism. I am aware that as a

member of the academic community it is responsibility to turn in all suspected violators of the

Honor Code. I will report to a hearing if summoned.

Name: Allison Carlucci

Signature: Allison Carlucci

Date: March 18, 2016