What is your personal philosophy of nursing?

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5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

My philosophy? Don't look down your nose at the nurses doing bedside care.

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VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

108 Articles; 9,984 Posts

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych.

This is a good question. I'd never really thought about it before, but now that I have, I'd have to say that it's impossible to separate my personal philosophy of nursing from my philosophy of life. It's actually pretty simple:

Be kind. It doesn't take any longer to smile and say something nice than it does to scowl and be mean.

Respect others---differences and all. I have not walked in their moccasins, nor have they walked in mine.

Treat everyone the same way I want to be treated.

Just because someone says a thing is so, doesn't make it so.

It's not all about me.

MN-Nurse, ASN, RN

1,398 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg - Renal.

My philosophy is: "I'll take care of people, and then get paid for it. If I take care of more people or for a longer time, I get more money."

Specializes in FNP, ONP.

I subscribe to Nola Pender's health promotion model.

Please read this thread I started back in the summer.

I asked the same question before nursing school even started for me and was bombarded with accusations with asking for "homework" help. Before I had any assignments.

Many people answered my question and there are many insightful philosophies and thoughts on nursing.

I was simply curious as I had just taken Philosophy course as an elective and wanted to hear other student's and nurse's thoughts.


38 Posts

I'm a first semester nursing student and I just had to write a paper on this; I agree with your frustration. It seems like you probably can't or shouldn't develop a nursing philosophy without actually being a nurse and being immersed in the practice of nursing. But the angle I took with my paper is something they taught us in massage therapy (and at the end of my program I will probably think it's a little idealistic), that if your intentions toward your patients are good you'll do good work. I guess it's a nicer way of saying "do no harm" or "don't screw up", just the other side of that coin.

I don't know what my philosophy, per se, is, but I will tell you what I think about nursing.

Nursing is not just a job, and the goal of nursing is not to simply earn a paycheck. Nurses should not approach each shift thinking, "I better get out of here on time tonight/in the morning, I better not have to hassle with a bunch of crap during this shift, and if I have one more patient that I am supposed to, I better receive more pay per hour." That isn't the attitude that any nurse who is in it for the right reasons should have. If I have a hectic night at work and have to stay over in the morning to help my coworkers, or catch up on charting, then so be it. If I end up having to take one more patient because we are slammed and can't find another nurse to come in, then okay. I don't want that to be the commonly recurring theme, but I am more than happy to do those things every once in a while. I understand that sometimes things like that happen, and I know that when they do happen they are beyond anyone's control. You won't find me complaining about how uncompensated, over-worked, or burnt out I am if I occasionally have to take an extra patient or stay a little late.

I am interested in nursing (and am in nursing school) because I really care about people. I want to be a critical care nurse because I want to take care of patients and families when they are at their worst. I want to nurse the critically ill back to physical, mental, and spiritual health. I want to provide emotional and spiritual support for the families of the patients in my unit. I want to advocate for my patients, and I want to ensure that I provide the best care that is humanly possible during each shift. If giving that caliber of care means staying late, coming in early, or working myself to the bone during my shift, then I am more than willing to do so.

When I become a nurse, I hope that I never find sliding in at 6:50 PM and sailing out directly after report at 7:30 AM acceptable. I hope that I never develop the attitude that the hospital owes me something simply because I am a nurse. I hope I never begin to say, "I have this one extra patient tonight, and even though he's stable and doesn't require much care, I better be payed extra for this." I hope I always keep the values and ideas that I have now, and I hope that I never develop some of the attitudes that I have seen some nurses display.


2 Posts

While I think it's great to have a personal philosophy of nursing, it can also be a hindrance. This is a great assignment to make you think about the care that you will give (or already are giving) to your patients. But, you have to remember to keep an open mind. The physicians you will be working around practice mainly by a medical model (they are not a holistic as nurses). This means they mainly treat the diagnosis and not the person. This doesn't mean that all of them have bad bedside manners though.

A great example of what I am referring to is the movie Patch Adams. I actually think that every doctor and nurse on the planet SHOULD watch this movie.

Another suggestion is to take a look at Jean Watson and her theory -talk about being compassionate! But if you really need some more examples, there is a great website I found with plenty of great examples.

Here is the link:

Personal Philosophy of Nursing Paper for NUR 391

Treat your patients like you would want to be treated,



My philosophy about Nursing:

  • Leave home smiling.
  • Infect clients and colleagues with smiles.
  • Do all within your power to maintain smiling.
  • At the end of the shift give "yes I made it smile".
  • Leave your office smiling.


1 Post

My Nursing philosophy is as follows:

1. Treat others as you want to be treated.

2. Treat patients like they are your family.

3. Do no harm.

4. Learn from your mistakes to become better (we will all make mistakes). 

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