Nursing seems to be more studied today than ever before, a reality appropriately reflecting the critical importance of the work. While study is of course valuable, it may go only so far in explaining the nature of the role when correctly applied because nursing is inherently care, and care is a fundamentally complex and personal effort. In the following, my own philosophy of nursing will be presented, and chiefly through this as sharing Watson’s thinking regarding nursing. Both scientific and humane, and simultaneously demanding skill and personal investment, nursing must be as much a calling as it is a profession.
A great deal of modern study and theory seeks to define nursing in more precise ways than was common in the past. Certainly, traditional views have categorized nursing as an ancillary role, and one in which the nurse attends to the patient within the parameters of physician authority. Today, nursing is seen as more a hybrid of interpersonal relationships with patients as promoting wellness and a reliance upon scientific knowledge (Warelow, 2013, p. 43). The role has expanded, or is accepted as best practiced when expanded, and this very much goes to my personal philosophy of nursing. Always patient-centered, nursing is empowered in a variety of ways by this commitment, as I believe as well that a nurse’s knowledge and training exists to support the intuitive and empathic abilities innate to the true nurse. For me, nursing actually defies definition because it must be guided – and defined – by the needs of each particular case. To that end, Jean Watson’s theories of nursing most accord with my own, as she holds to this essentially holistic view of the calling.
The concept of person as presented by Watson encompasses the totality of individuality; each person is a unique whole, both different from and greater than the sum of their parts, and requiring care just as individual (Dossey, Keegan, 2013, p. 122). While this is commonly known as an holistic approach, the inherent generalities of the definition are deceptive; that is, in Watson, the identity of each patient dictates the nursing care, so what exists is a methodology that is simultaneously fixed and completely flexible, with the flexibility essential as addressing unique needs and circumstances. This is a viewpoint or ideology with which I greatly identify, and chiefly because I find it extremely pragmatic. Given the intricacies of health care and the unlimited range of states of illness and wellness, nothing is more critical than as full an understanding of an individual as possible. This understanding, moreover, must encompass the emotional and psychological as well as the physical, as no real dichotomy is in place between these components. Consequently, the Watson perspective is for me the most valid.
By no means inconsistent with Watson’s philosophy is the Newman model of health. This is a remarkable approach, in fact, because Newman comprehends how health is so completely reliant upon the individual’s relation with their own environment, or: 典he undivided wholeness of the person in interaction with the environment�(Warelow, 2013, p. 42). Put another way, there can be no proper reinforcing of health without a sense of how health is perceived by, and resulting from, the way each persons most contentedly lives their life. I admire this approach a great deal because it broadens otherwise narrow concepts of health, and also includes the patient more as promoting their own health. It renders health 都ubjective,�which in turn reflects the individual state of it.
Returning to Watson, nursing itself is, again, an expansive role in which applications of practice, based upon knowledge and experience, directly interact with the nurse’s intuitive and empathic sense of the patient’s being and needs (Dossey, Keegan, 2013, p. 122). Watson is not a lone in promoting this multifaceted view, but she most emphasizes it, in my estimation, and this is crucial. Moreover, I feel the Watson theory is more valid because it does not actually depart from the traditional Nightingale model; it merely widens its possibilities, and brings more into play the understanding of the individual. With Watson, in fact, nursing is a cooperative venture in concert with the patient, and this is for me both eminently practical and humane.
With Watson, environment transcends normal definitions because it is very much created by the nurse; they establish the healing arena by attending to all factors within their environment (Dossey, Keegan, 2013, p. 113). I believe this is an important point not properly appreciated in other models, except in terms of actual health conditions. Put another way, I believe the Watson thinking accepts that the nurse and the patient together create the environment through their exponential interaction, even as the nurse must attend to physical realities. Environment is then a kind of process in itself.
With Watson, as there is an emphasis on the entirety of the patient as a person, there is the imperative of quality living (Warelow, 2013, p. 43). In my perspective, then, caring is integral to the focus. Empathy and caring may not be structured, but they are the core agents for the nurse’s most effective practice, and they derive from the nurse’s own “need” to nurse. It is caring that is fundamental to the nurse’s character, or a humane reflex of thinking, feeling, and behavior. Nothing may proceed from nursing without this in place.
In no uncertain terms, care for the individual translates to care for the community. At the same time, good nursing goes beyond this in addressing a social need, and primarily through the agency of advocacy. This is widely recognized as an obligation of the profession: “Promote the practice of professional nursing through leadership activities and advocacy” (DEC, 2011). More directly, it also equates to the nurse as promoting wellness in a social sense through the experience and knowledge applied to the patient; a “chain reaction” occurs because those under care may then share their new awareness of the elements of well-being with others. As with so much else in nursing, the process is exponential. It is nonetheless immensely valuable because the nurse, in expanding social awareness of health, both meets the responsibilities of the profession and sets new benchmarks in community ideas of wellness.
While new theories continually emerge to define and shape nursing, none in my estimation surpasses the value of Watson’s. In this holistic, empathic, and phenomenological model, the traditional functioning of nursing is paired with the drives going to it as a supremely humane calling. It is social as, in advancing the importance of the person, Watson then promotes a humanist view which promotes the well-being of all (Warelow, 2013, p. 43). It is a caring that addresses the needs of the person, environment, and health as the interrelated elements they are, and it is always based upon authentic concern. Nursing, I reiterate, is profession and calling, and Watson most significantly encompasses this reality.