Personal Philosophy and Disciplinary Perspective of Nursing

Essay, 2016

8 Seiten



Personal Ontological and Epistemological Perspective

Influence of a Philosopher/ Philosophical Perspective

Nursing Paradigm

Nursing metaparadigm concepts

Ways of Knowing in Nursing

Phenomenon of interest



Personal Ontological and Epistemological Perspective

Gaining more experience and knowledge in philosophy, nursing philosophy, and the nursing paradigm has helped me to know more about myself, as a human being and as a nurse. In the process of reading, I find it hard to commit to one point of view or one perspective; however, now I clearly see where I fit. My philosophical perspective in general, and in nursing specifically, are heavily influenced by the empiricism and positivism perspective and ultimately aligns with the totality nursing paradigm.

From my ontological perspective in general, I believe in objectivism: that there is a single truth and there is a single reality. I believe that we as human beings are always in interaction with the external reality which is the “environment.” I believe that the environment is everything surrounding us, and we as human beings interact with and influence the environment, and the environment interacts with and influences us in turn. In other words, if someone follows a certain action, he/she will be able to predict what the outcomes will be. To illustrate, if I throw a ball up in the air, I expect that it will hit the ground. Another example could be if I follow a specific diet and a specific exercise to lose weight, then the result will be what I expected, which is weight loss unless there are some other contributing factors.

From my epistemological standpoint, I believe that reality can be captured by senses and can be predicted by experience. I believe that there is no knowledge without experience. To illustrate, if someone says an apple is red, I can’t imagine what the apple looks like if I have never seen a red one before. How can one know what something tastes like if they have never tasted it? Experience is anything that came across our mind at any certain time in the past. I also believe that knowledge can be gained through reasoning. According to wisdom in my culture, “The reason is known, the surprise is blown.” In other words, knowledge needs clarifications and explanation, so only reasoning can transform sensory data into something meaningful and understandable.

Influence of a Philosopher/ Philosophical Perspective

I have always approached the life in general, and nursing especially, with an empirical lens. My underlying epistemological framework is best described as positivist and empiricist. A positivist perspective embraces the scientific method, empirical testing, precise instrumentation, and prediction of events. This philosophical perspective influenced my personal perspective on nursing knowledge development and advancement. To elaborate, utilizing empirical ways to find knowledge helps me to find the truth and to understand reality. Positivism notes that the only “knowledge” worth calling knowledge is scientific knowledge (Rodger, 2005). From a positivist point of view of the world, I believe that the truth is the truth no matter what the context is.

I also see myself influenced by the empirical perspective. Empiricism believes that knowledge has to stand from experience (Rawnsley, 1998). From an empiricist view of the world, I feel I am able to focus on knowledge, truth, and in depth understanding of the world that I live in. Personally, I can predict what will happen if I act in a certain way based on my previous experience. According to Rodgers (2005), there are several forms of empiricism, ranging from extreme to a milder or weak position. I see myself leaning toward moderate empiricism because I believe that there is some room for interpretation as a source of knowledge advancement.

It is imperative that I understand my philosophical standpoint because that will help me to understand, explain, and predict the world. For me, knowledge without proof, evidence, or conscious reasoning, or without understanding how the knowledge was acquired is not considered true knowledge. There is no right or wrong perspective; however, I see myself leaning toward one reality and one truth. Indeed, this philosophical thinking helps me to understand myself better.

My exposure to different philosophers and philosophical perspectives, makes me realize that many of these thinkers’ ideas influence my own. For instance, Locke’s work represents a prominent contribution to empiricism as the basis for nursing knowledge. Hume, likewise, contributed prevalent achievements on the philosophical paradigm; he emphasized that there is no way to have a real reality through knowledge because the only way to gain knowledge is through experience. This exposure was an eye opener to others’ point of view in seeking knowledge.

However, the philosopher whom I feel mostly in tune with is Kant. I was impressed by the Kant, who opened my eyes to this perspective. Even though I believe knowledge can be gained through experience, after reading him, I believe that experience is not the only source of knowledge advancement. Moreover, Kant noted that reason alone had been insufficient to support a number of important claims such as religion. If we do not experience or sense God, that does not mean God does not exist. Therefore, Kant aimed to save both experience and reasoning as sources for generating knowledge. Kant’s approach was to look at knowledge in a different way with the possibility of combining these two sources of knowledge. His thinking helped me to really understand what it means to gain nursing knowledge through experience and reasoning as well. I agree with him when he argued experience is important; however, no amount of experience can provide a complete proof that things always follow the same pattern. That is why I believe that nursing knowledge could also be generated from other sources than experience.

Nursing Paradigm

Nursing knowledge development is guided by paradigms or worldviews about the nature of human beings, environment, health, nursing, and the interactions among these central concepts. According to Cody (1995), Parse proposed that there are two paradigms in nursing, which are totality and simultaneity paradigms. Based on my personal philosophy I have presented above, the paradigm that most closely aligns with my philosophical belief and epistemological perspective in general, and in nursing specifically, is the totality paradigm. Nursing’s phenomenon of concern on this paradigm focuses on the human as a whole being, the environment, and health (Barrett, 2002). Looking at a given nursing phenomenon, human beings are viewed as a combination of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual features, who interact with the external environment constantly to accomplish goals and maintain balance. According to Parse, health is viewed as a dynamic state and process of physical, psychological, social, and spiritual well-being that is assessed objectivity and judged as good or bad by health-care experts (nurses) based on the relation of the individual’s biopsychosocial and spiritual variables to certain calculated social norms (Cody, 1995). The goals of nursing in the totality paradigm place emphasis on maintenance and or restoration of norms and care is designed in advance by the nurse based on a skilled assessment. As a community health nurse, my primary focus is to promote health and prevent disease. For example, as a community public health nurse investigating a phenomenon like healthy lifestyle behavior, I would consider human beings as biological, psychological, social, and spiritual organisms, and I also have to consider that humans impact the environment and the environment impacts them as will. These considerations would lead to the development of healthy or unhealthy behaviors. I believe that from my philosophical perspective, the totality paradigm will help me to focus on my goals and also help me to advance nursing knowledge. For me, the features of the totality paradigm are understandable because it has been and is the prevailing paradigm in nursing. Many of the nursing theories developed to date have a view of the discipline of nursing that fits the totality paradigm.

Nursing metaparadigm concepts

I believe that the environment is everything surrounding us, and we as human beings interact with and are influenced by it. I believe that there are external and internal environments and these two components are interrelated to each other. External environment embraces everything surrounding us such as family, friends, healthcare providers, culture, climate, society, politics, and economy. Internal environment embraces our feelings, beliefs, ways of thinking, and thoughts about ourselves and the world around us. I believe that the communication between these two environments is what shapes our perceptions. I also believe that human- environment interaction is a linear and continuous process that only ends by human death.

I believe that any disturbance or deviation from what is considered normal by an individual and/or healthcare professional (nurses) is considered a disease. Moreover, disease is not limited to physiological disturbance but also emotional and psychological disturbance too. Therefore, I define health as a state of well-being. I believe that health maintenance is influenced by multiple factors, such as an individual’s behavior, an individual’s perception of health, and environmental factors. I also believe that health disturbance is not always the result of individual behavior because there are some factors that are out of an individual’s control, such as the genetic disease or epidemiological disease. In general, I believe that humans can manipulate their environment to gain an optimal level of health.

I believe that a nurse is a human being who dedicates his/her life to serve the public. The nurse has been educated and well-prepared to provide high quality care to meet public expectations. I believe that nursing care is not limited to a particular place or time. Instead, it is a universal care that should be offered to any individual or individuals in wellness and illness. Nursing care should be focused on an individual’s preferences and experiences. In other words, it is patient-centered care. Also, I believe that the nursing goal is to promote health and prevent disease.


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Personal Philosophy and Disciplinary Perspective of Nursing
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personal, philosophy, disciplinary, perspective, nursing
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Mona Alaanzi (Autor), 2016, Personal Philosophy and Disciplinary Perspective of Nursing, München, GRIN Verlag,


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