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Nurses are old and young, tall and short, skinny and wide. We come from all walks of life. Some choose to enter the nursing profession for job security, others to help those around them. Throughout our schooling, we are taught and tested on the science of nursing. Our primary focus is the ability to recall important facts, to think ahead of the current situation, and to understand interactions between the patient and the interventions we provide.
Elusive, yet widely recognized, the art of nursing is our ability to connect with those around us. It is only when we begin direct patient care that we become aware of the art of nursing. The word art can be used to describe the results of a particular task as well as the knowledge and skill required to perform that task. Like other more fashionable art forms, nursing can be dramatic, inspirational, comedic, relaxing, comforting, joyful, and even sad.
Nursing is also creative, existential, and has a particular rhythm. This intangible connection can create an environment of healing, one that allows patients to fully participate in their own recovery process.My great-great-aunt Mae was a nurse at the turn of the 19th Century. Seven days a week, she hitched-up her horse and buggy to provide medical care and comfort in her rural community. When the local veterinarian was busy, she would also help care for local horses and cattle.
Later, she became a psychiatric nurse, and even later a nurse educator. Nursing allowed her to travel, meet new people, and provide for independence that most women couldn't attain in that time period. For her, nursing meant freedom and the ability to be her own person.My great-aunt Marge became a nurse in the late 1930s. She initially worked in a small country hospital. When World War II erupted, she moved to a bigger city to care for veterans on a medical ward.
As she provided these brave men with physical care, she also performed assessments and interventions to help relieve their psychological pain. She felt that her calling at that time was to heal their damaged spirits. Though her career spanned many decades and various nursing specialties, it is this work that brought her the most joy and great professional pride.When I decided on a career in nursing, I knew none of this.
I had worked in healthcare settings since I was 15 years old, and always knew I wanted to work in a patient care environment. I readily learned the tasks I needed to perform whatever job I was assigned. But more than that, I could easily connect with my patients on a level deeper than I expected. Patients would open up to me. Even at the tender age of 16, I had elderly patients share their fears of death and dying with me - seeking comfortNurses teach, support, communicate, medicate, and coordinate patient-care events.
Nurses are patient advocates who provide comfort and hope to our patients and their families. The art of nursing is in play when we just 'know' what to do to meet a patient's emotional needs: when to hold a patient's hand, stroke their brow, crack a joke or even just sit and listen. Most of this is being accomplished simultaneously during each patient interaction.The science of nursing allows us to care for our patient's bodies; but it's the art of nursing that calls me to the profession and allows each nurse to touch souls.
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Since the origins of the nursing profession with Florence Nightingale, nursing has been described as an art. Despite this common description of the foundation of nursing as an art, the conceptual meaning of the art of nursing has remained without clarity. Although the art of nursing wasn’t clearly defined, in the 1990’s nursing was defined as an art in the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL).
This lead Deborah Finfgeld-Connett to perform research to determine the meaning of the art of nursing. According to Finfgeld-Connett (2008), the art of nursing is grounded upon both empirical and metaphysical knowledge. The foundation of empirical knowledge is research methodologies, or the science of nursing. Nurses use science to guide nursing interventions with evidence-based practice to improve patient outcomes.
Metaphysical knowledge is obtained through time and unique experiences as a nurse in the nursing profession. Intuition is sometimes considered a nurse’s sixth sense, incorporating an awareness of things that are not always clearly seen, heard or felt. The foundation of nursing began as an art cultivated in ideals of nurturing and compassion. With time and gaining knowledge, nursing has transformed itself into a science, as well.
Nursing theory has aided the evolvement of nursing into a science by using nursing frameworks to guide nursing research that can increase knowledge and therefore be utilized to improve patient’s health holistically. According to Chinn and Kramer, nursing knowledge evolved from Florence Nightingale’s empowerment of the nursing profession’s significance in fundamental values and knowledge to improve patient outcomes to present day patterns of emancipatory knowing, ethics and morals, personal knowing, aesthetics knowing and empirics, or the science of nursing (2011).
Embracing patterns of knowing implores the nursing professional to use these characteristics and understanding in the assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation into evidenced-based practice. In turn, the healthcare professional unites the innate art of nursing through compassion and nurture with the science of nursing by sharing gained knowledge with a systematic and scientific approach to treat the patient as a whole.
The art of nursing blends the science of nursing with the philosophical holistic approach nurses implement to treat the patient as a whole, or the heart of nursing. The art of nursing transcends research data to also consider the patient’s biopsychosocial needs, spiritual needs, cultural preferences, and the patient’s individual health promotion and disease prevention values for their optimal health.
Nursing practice is grounded in scientific evidence. However, without blending the art of nursing into patient care, nurses are unable to meet their ultimate goal as a holistic patient advocate. The art of nursing is an essential component to the nursing profession. The stressful work environment for nurses continues climb. Nurses frequently focus on nursing others and have a tendency to not nurse and nurture themselves.
Nurses need innovative strategies to ensure they are taking care of themselves so they don’t succumb to the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion of caring for everyone and everything else (Scala, 2014). Before we can give of ourselves to serve others, it is imperative to practice what we preach. Nurse’s Day occurs every year on May 6th. It is a national day to celebrate the services of nurses through the healthcare delivery system, and the strides nursing has accomplished as a change agent in improving public health.
Caring for others is our passion, but sometimes we can experience compassion fatigue. Remember, the most important aspect of helping others is to ensure you are ready to take charge and lead others to their optimal health. Lead by example. If you are experiencing compassion fatigue, implement the core concepts of the art of nursing. Search for strategies to rejuvenate your life with passion and purpose, with that holistic approach you as a nurse offer to others.
Personal strategies could include basic steps that are often overlooked: sleep, nutrition, and participating in pleasurable activities, and perhaps an activity such as meditation or yoga. Professional strategies could include participating in conferences to boost your enthusiasm and remind you of the inner purpose you desire to fulfill as a nurse, such as with this year’s Nurse’s Week Virtual CEU Conference, The Art of Nursing 2.
0 from May 5 – 8, 2015. As nurses, we pursue optimal goals to improve our patient’s lives and livelihoods. To successfully pursue our passion of service to others through healthcare delivery, let’s not forget to incorporate these philosophies into our own lives as well. The art of nursing is the heart of caring, and that means for you, too! References Chinn, P. & Kramer, M. (2011). Integrated theory and knowledge development in nursing.
St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier Mosby. Finfgeld-Connett, D. (2008). Concept synthesis of the art of nursing. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 62(3), 381-388. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04601.x Scala, E. (2014). Nursing from within: A fresh alternative to putting out fires and self-care workarounds. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. (This post was written as part of the Nurse Blog Carnival. More posts on this topic can be found at ElizabethScala.
com. Find out how to participate.) Check Out Our Most Recent Posts Share this: Related
Title: The Art Of Nursing