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Monthly Archives: May 2008

Start talking about nursing philosophy and people want to run. Especially nurses. It’s a necessary evil in nursing school that every student does battle with. Typical responses from professional nurses: “it’s irrelevant to nursing care”, “doesn’t reflect reality”, “nobody understands it anyway”, “it’s just an academic thing”. Been there, done that.

Here now, doing this. Doing what, exactly?

In the world of nursing philosophy there are theories from every viewpoint imaginable to describe how that theorist defines nursing and conceptualizes the pragmatic. Individual viewpoints are just that. What intrigues me is the great disparity of the theorists’ starting points and their fundamental beliefs (which are usually unspoken but unwittingly disclosed in their work). If you read between the lines or critically analyze their sources, you can often find incongruities between reality, assertions, and presuppositions. Very often they are not aware of their presuppositions.

The nursing profession is exploring the possibility of a global, transcultural nursing philosophy. This is an enormous philosophical undertaking given the whole spectrum of sociological, ontological, and epistemological issues. It is akin to physics’ search for the “theory of everything”. But what some theorists are attempting is a conglomeration of several conflicting philosophies into one amalgamated nursing model that while it includes all, tells us very little about how to practice nursing. Actually I think it tells us nothing…. No, on second thought, it tells us we are confused.
I have some ideas about nursing philosophy at the presuppositional level using a perspectival approach that I hope to develop over the next few years; ones I hope will be engaging, relevant, and uniquely lively. So stay tuned.

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