What is your personal philosophy of nursing?

Updated:   Published

Next, I am entering my final semester of nursing school and I am very excited to finally be done, but first I need to write a letter to my preceptor and include my personal philosophy of nursing. I am having a lot of trouble coming up with my personal nursing philosophy since I am a nursing student instead of a working nurse. I was just wondering if I could get some feedback on other nurses philosophy to help develop my own. Thanks.

Has 33 years experience.

Probably can't help ya... as my personal philosophy is "Whatever works".

Figure out your instructors philosophy... and plagiarize it.

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

This exact same question was posted at the beginning of last semester. You could probably look up the thread and get your data quickly.

You find that many working nurses do not delve into "philosophies" as they are busy working at nursing and have little time to expound useless philosophy about nursing. Ethics, justice maybe, not nursing.

We are nurses and do nursing......no philosophy required.

I truly wish preceptors/mentors/instructors would require work that is actually useful to the reality of working as a nurse in the current healthcare environment.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Everyone has a philosophy -- whether they take the time to think about it or not. We all have beliefs about what nursing is and what is not, values that important to us, etc. Those beliefs influence the choices we make.

Some people are more aware of the underlying beliefs and values that are influencing their actions than other. The previous poster, Caroladybelle, has a philosophy. Her philosophy emphasizes action over introspection and the "hands on" aspect of nursing over the "thinking" aspects. That's OK. A lot of nurses aren't introspective by nature -- and this type of assignment doesn't come naturally to them.

But as a student, your instructors want you to invest a little time identifying your beliefs about nursing and clarifying your values. The exercise will "work out" those "thinking muscles" and help you be more aware of your own beliefs. Examining them will help you be sure that those beliefs are ones you truly CHOOSE to hold and that you can make professional choices that are consciously consistent with your beliefs. Choosing jobs or taking actions that are inconsistent with our beliefs is one of causes of stress and burnout. So it is healthy to clarify your philosophy so that you can use it to guide your choices and life a life of integrity. That's actually what "having integrity" means -- it means living a life consistent with your philosophies and values.

I recommend beginning this assignment by simply making an informal list of the topics below?

1. What is nursing? What is nursing's role in society? What purpose to we fulfill?

2. What characteristics are most important for a nurse to have?

3. What values are most important to nursing? What does it mean to be "a great nurse?" What are the worst mistakes or weaknesses that a nurse should not do or have?

etc. etc. etc. As you make your list, you will be philosophizing -- clarifying your philosophy. Once you have made you rough list and thought about it, you just have to polish it up and write it in the proper format to suit the assignment.

My philosophy? It would be based on the relationships we have with our patients, families, communities, etc. ... and the commitments we make to them ... and to ourselves and our colleagues.

Good luck!

tokmom, BSN, RN

4,568 Posts

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

My philosophy:

1) Make no med errors

2) Catch any pt circling the drain before they code

3) Get out on time

4) get my lunch at the very least

5) Be mindful of burn out

dosamigos76, RN

349 Posts

Specializes in Hospice. Has 7 years experience.

I am in hospice so my philosophy is more directed toward that...

My philosophy:

Educate and support the patient and family of their choices and options.

Return control to the patient-can't do that without knowing their choices and options.

Do my best to support their decisions.

Walk them through the experience.

Remember this is their death, their family member, and their experiences-respect that at all times

Support all the staff I have the opportunity to interact with. Each interaction we have with ANY individual will have either a positive or negative impact. I strive for a positive impact.

I want to always try to leave (a family, a company, or my life) better than when I entered...

leslie :-D

11,191 Posts

awesome response, ilg.

My philosophy in nursing is pretty much the same as is my philosophy in life.

It doesn't matter what specifically it is per se... but it is important that I carry (and stay true to) my personal, moral, ethical values with me at all times.

I fully believe in the holistic model - and that healing is contingent upon the health of all 3 components.

So while I may be focused on my pt who is profusely bleeding, or in excruciating, physical pain...

It's only going to be meaningful if, after symptoms are contained, if we assess for mental or spiritual distress and address it.

Nursing to me, is much more than the medical aspects.

Just as the person I meet in the street corner, is more than their physical appearance.

Perhaps for some, personal life philosophies are indeed, intertwined with how one nurses.

Just something to consider?


Specializes in Acute Care Psych, DNP Student. Has 4 years experience.

Every nursing student and every nurse has a philosophy of nursing. Some are more aware of it than others. This assignment will force you to identify your philosophy. If you get stuck, remove the word "philosophy" and just scribble down on paper what you define nursing to be and your thoughts about the career. Identify the underlying values, roles, and functions. Then you can work it into a formal paper. Go basic and don't complicate it.

tntrn, ASN, RN

1,340 Posts

Specializes in L & D; Postpartum. Has 34 years experience.
tokmom said:
My philosophy:
1) Make no med errors
2) Catch any pt circling the drain before they code
3) Get out on time
4) Get my lunch at the very least
5) Be mindful of burn out

Wow! I wonder if we ever worked in the same place? Oh, wait! We did! Mine would be:

Don't hurt anybody.

Get out on time (my personal goal for every shift)

Work to live, not live to work.

luvazsun, RN

61 Posts

Specializes in Neonatal ICU. Has 23 years experience.

Nursing is my job, not my life.

tokmom, BSN, RN

4,568 Posts

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

And that is why I have this philosophy, thanks to the pit hole, lol, tntrn

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

One way to look at developing a personal philosophy of nursing is to look at the various nursing models already out there. And of course, the unexamined life is not worth living; this may seem like make-work but it really is good to know what you think is important about the profession you will spend so much of your life doing.

I don't recommend wikipedia be used as a footnote in a real paper, but it's often not too bad for a quick-and-dirty review, and their footnotes are often good original sources or reviews. You might consider looking at some of these models and theories of nursing to see what resonates c you. Personally, i always liked orem-- nurses do for people what they are unable to do for themselves (self-care deficit nursing theory - wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

Good luck to you!

Nursing theory - wikipedia, the free encyclopedia