I would define nursing as the ability to holistically take care of a patient by using the knowledge that one has gained from class and through practice, being compassionate and caring, respectful, and honest. As a professional nurse, I am tasked with the responsibility of not only taking care of the physical needs of the patients, but the spiritual and emotional demands must also be considered (Bishop, Scudder, & John R. Scudder, 1990). To me, nursing is a calling that requires an individual to have the drive, and the desire to help the people in need. By being a nurse, I feel proud to know that my job is honorable, and my satisfaction comes when I see patients recover. Therefore, in my nursing practice, I am guided by three critical tenets, which are my code of conduct and should guide me throughout my professional life.
The first principle is that as a nurse, I must treat everyone in need of my services with care, dignity, and humanity. I came to this resolution after acknowledging the fact that every person has their individual needs; they need compassion and the sensitivity of healthcare. Therefore based on this revelation, I am committed to ensuring that I provide care in a manner that respects all people equally. The second principle that guides me is that I am always responsible for the decisions that I make, and they must serve the medical needs of the patient. In other words, the safety and the interest of the client always come first. My actions must be in agreement with the patient and should meet the requirements of the professional bodies and the law. And lastly, I believe that to offer my best service to patients; I must seek self-enhancement through continuous learning. By ensuring that I stay well informed and enlightened, I will not remain stagnant in my beliefs, but I will keep evolving professionally through evidence based-based practice and technological advances.
I believe that self-care nursing theory, which was developed by Dorothea Orem best conforms to my philosophy. This model stresses the importance of nurses to help the patients in improving their ability to perform acts of self-care (Cody, 2008). By definition, self-care is the practice of activities that an individual undertake to keep up their health and well-being. According to Orem, the theory encompasses a two-step nursing process which assists in the achievement of self-care. The first step is ensuring that as a nurse, you prioritize on the unmet needs of the client. The next step involves selecting methods that assist the client in overcoming his self-care deficits. Therefore the self-care deficit approach looks at instances where the patient has been unable to perform ordinary self-care activities (Bishop, Scudder, & John R. Scudder, 1990). Using this approach, Orem was able to come up with five ways in which nurses should assist the patients who are unable to cater for their needs. The steps include; taking action for the sake of the patient, offering guidance, availing the necessary support, establishing an environment that spurs personal development, and training the patient on how to overcome the obstacles that they may face in the future (Katherine Renpenning & Susan Gebhardt Taylor, 2011). Similarly, the strategy of nursing systems embraces three systems which could be used to determine if a person needs nursing care: wholly compensatory nursing systems, partial compensatory nursing system, and supportive-educative nursing systems. In the whole system, the patient is classified as being entirely dependent on care. The partial policy applies to the clients who can perform some activities and thus a nurse can help on others, while supportive-educative system the client is capable of performing self-care activities, but needs constant guidance from a nurse.
This theory agrees to what I believe to be the role of a professional nurse, and that is to promote the recovery and independence of a patient. When a patient is unwell, a lot of effort, money, and the workforce is lost. Also, illnesses are a source of emotional, physical, and psychological pains in a patient. Therefore this theory places the patients' needs at the center of the healthcare system, and it encourages the individual to be responsible for their care. Also, in agreement with the theory, I believe that a patient can regain full recovery and overcome all the physical, emotional, and psychological barriers brought about by the illness. Having established this fact, then the role of a nurse becomes to assist the patient to regain this independence and resume the ordinary life. However, as the theory acknowledges, some illnesses have life-changing effects, and thus the help of a nursing professional will be needed either continuously or occasionally (Katherine Renpenning & Susan Gebhardt Taylor, 2011). For this reasons, I believe that this theory offers a critical guideline that guides nurses when interacting with the patients, it lays down the objectives of healthcare, factors to consider when determining the type of nursing services to offer to a patient, and its client-based healthcare strategy. Thus the best interests of the client are always taken into account when implementing this model.
Practical use of the theory is when dealing with a patient who has a chronic illness such as diabetes mellitus. Through my nursing practice, I have been able to see that this illness significantly reduces the quality of life due to lifestyle changes, reduced mobility, and obesity. Therefore, in such instances, where the main objective of the treatment is to increase patient's performance and improve the quality of life, I have found self-care programs as the most appropriate solutions that help the patients (Katherine Renpenning & Susan Gebhardt Taylor, 2011). As a nurse, I have identified that lack of awareness and proper functioning of patients with diabetes are major factors that limit the patients from resuming their healthy life or at least be able to cope with the disease. In instances where I have used the self-care nursing approach when dealing with diabetic patients, I have learned that the method is effective, enlightens the clients, and drastically reduces the burden of healthcare by a significant percentage. Therefore self-care is vital in the control of diabetes, and it includes self-monitoring of the glucose level, sticking to the right diet, regular physical activities, and setting insulin dosage. When these skills are taught to the patient, daily healthcare becomes natural and necessary for patients with diabetes. It, therefore, means that being diagnosed with a chronic illness such as diabetes should not sound like a death sentence, instead, through self-care intervention programs, a patient should be able to resume to their ordinary life and learn how to control the illness.
As I conclude, I would like to refer to a statement that I made at the start of this study, where I indicated that as a nurse, I must treat everyone in need of my services with care, dignity, and humanity. To accomplish this obligation; an in-depth understanding of Leininger's transcultural theory is needed. The method involves knowing and understanding the various cultures concerning nursing and healthcare practices with the intentions of providing useful and efficient nursing care services to an individual based on their cultural values and health-illness (Leininger, 1991). Thus, in modern societies where globalization has changed the communities around the world and brought about diversification among patients, a professional nurse is expected to adopt the global practice of culturally congruent care. This means that a modern nurse should not only have medical knowledge, but should also be armed with an in-depth understanding of various cultures beliefs, practices, and differences which will help avoid premature generalization. Therefore, I believe that by learning more about different cultures, it prepares the nurse psychologically on what to expect from the patient and the dos and don'ts when operating in certain regions. Also, when a patient is served by a nurse who has sufficient knowledge of his cultural background, a mutual bond of trust is formed, and the patient can open up to the nurse. On the other hand, aspects of culture such as religion, finance, social status, technology, and education, political, legal and philosophical paradigms affect the service delivery in an area and thus having prior knowledge of how these factors affect health delivery helps in the mitigation efforts (Leininger, 1991). I, therefore, believe that nurses can benefit enormously from the Leininger model by understanding the various methods of exploring professional and societal culture.
Bishop, A. H., Scudder, J. R., & John R. Scudder, J. (1990). The Practical, Moral, and Personal Sense of Nursing: A Phenomenological Philosophy of Practice. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.Cody, W. K. (2008). Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Nursing Practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Katherine Renpenning, M., & Susan Gebhardt Taylor, M. (2011). Self-Care Science, Nursing Theory, and Evidence-Based Practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
Leininger, M. (1991). Leininger's Brief Rejoiner to Feild's Response. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 3(1), 29-30. doi:10.1177/104365969100300107
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