Nursing as an Art and Science - Essay Example

Published: 2017-11-11
Nursing as an Art and Science - Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Health and Social Care Nursing Medicine
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1902 words
16 min read


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The debate of whether nursing is an art or science or even both continues to draw the interest of many people. However, for many years in the past, the notion that nursing is both an art and science has gone unchallenged. The current pieces of literature are now actively challenging this theory to try proving that we cannot classify nursing as either science or art. As a nurse, patients expect that one provides the necessary care and attention that will help in their healing. Therefore, patients hope that nurses are compassionate and can meet their emotional needs. Clearly, knowledge is not enough to ensure the healing of victims but rather nurses must exercise that compassion.

Nursing essay examples

The nurse will need to know what exactly is wrong with the patient, determine what it is he or she can do to help the patient recover and to meet the expectations of the patient. Additionally, the nurse should use his or her skills to explain the plan of care and to ensure that the patient understands. Some of these tasks that the nurse performs play a huge role in classifying nursing as an art or science. Some nurses have uncritically accepted the assertion that nursing is a science, confident that this designation assures academic and professional respectability (Bishop & Scudder, 1997). Indeed, the interaction between a nurse and a patient is an art and science. Therefore, this paper seeks to understand why research classifies nursing as both an art and science but not as either.

Nursing as a Science

According to Bishop and Scudder (1997), nursing cannot be a science in the traditional sense of science in the West since in this tradition; the purpose of science is to disclose the truth about some aspects of the world. Nursing does not seek truth through theoretical explanations but rather nurses foster healing and wellbeing of patients. However, nurses do use knowledge from scientific inquiry in caring for the patient and through this recognition; it is clear that nursing involves applied science.

Lillis, LeMone, LeBon and Lynn (2010) argue that nursing, as a science, is quite apparent and is easily noticeable. Every nurse must have the knowledge of science, which means that nursing as a science is all about knowing. The nurse should be aware of the patient-based care plan (NCP), disease mechanisms, medications, management of illness, and was to manipulate new diagnostic equipment and machines. Therefore, nursing as a science involves numbers and the expected results. Knowing what is wrong with patients, why they are in the hospital and the information needed in the treatment process, all encompass the science part of nursing.

Philosophy of nursing essay

Nursing as an Art

It is important to get over the notion that art is a commodity to understand nursing as an art. Instead, one should comprehend that it is both a product and a process. According to Gaydos (2006), art as a process is a craft or an artistic intent, which is an intention to appeal to the senses while fulfilling a practical necessity. Often this is the sense in which to express the art of nursing. Indeed, decades ago, there were courses in nursing arts that included practicing how to talk to patients, learning how to make patients comfortable, perfecting psychomotor skills of care such as transferring patients from bed to chair, making the bed, dressing changes traction setups, and backrubs. The traditional purpose of art in the West was to create beauty whereas the goal of nursing is to foster healing and wellness; nurses foster healing and wellness in ways that can legitimately be termed as artistic (Bishop & Scudder, 1997).

The meaning of nursing as an art has evolved since Florence Nightingale first declared it as the finest of the Fine Arts from domestic art, helping art, expert technical performance art to transformative art (Gaydos, 2006). However, there is no consensus yet that accepts nursing as an art. Moreover, it is hard to define nursing as an art partly because the language and methods of healing are those of science rather than aesthetics. Gaydos (2006) thinks of the art of healing as a holistic experience, co-created in a relationship with the purpose of turning everyday patient encounters into extraordinary meetings that produce the aesthetic effect of pleasure and love.

According to Lillis et al. (2010), the art of nursing is more than lots of science since it is more of doing, unlike science that is more of knowing. This art is the innate capacity to respond to the needs of individuals and the nurses awaken it through constant interaction with the patients. Apparently, a nurse must consider various options before responding to the needs of the patient, which too constitutes the art of nursing. Sometimes nurses apply the science but do not practice the art, which brings negative change in patients. If the nurse fails to use compassion that is an art, then he or she will create fear among the patients, which will fail to heal the patient despite the administration of the right treatment. According to Loewenstein (2003), science is not worth the paper it is printed on if the patient does not trust the instincts, actions or words, which is the art part of nursing. Moreover, Wainwright (1999) adds that if nursing is an art, it is the whole of nursing, not just one aspect.

The CRNM standards as a science or an art

The College of Registered Nurses of Manitoba (CRNM) provides some standards of practice for registered nurses. These rules act as a guide to how nurses work while handling the patient. According to these criteria, nurses ought to deliver client-centered care to the patients by identifying their needs and communicating the plan of attention to them in the right manner that they can understand which builds trust in the nurse. Client-centered care also requires that the nurse provides the necessary information and references to patients to help them make informed decisions. Similarly, nurses must display competence.

Additionally, nurses should maintain the standards to develop and maintain professional relationships with the patients and other members of the team. This aids in fostering collaboration and leadership while helping the nurses to administer safe healthcare services to patients. Moreover, nurses must observe the ethical standards set for this profession. Ethical nurses should be responsible and professional in addition to behaving in a respectable manner while dealing with other members of the team or patients. Consequently, these standards describe nursing more as an art since the nurses apply their skills to ensure that they comply with the criteria.


To conclude, one can classify nursing as both an art and science but not as either. However, in the real sense, he or she cannot strictly call nursing a science or art. Therefore, this classification of nursing as an art and science is just a common assumption. The science of nursing is all about knowing about diseases and their treatment. However, it is clear that knowing how to treat patients is not enough to respond positively to the treatment. Simply put, the science of nursing is about knowing the numbers and the results while the art is the skill of using this knowledge to administer treatment to patients in a compassionate and creative manner to foster healing and well-being of patients. Nevertheless, the art aspect of nursing is more crucial than the science aspect, but one cannot perform without the other.


Bishop, A. H., & Scudder, J. R. (1997). Nursing as a practice rather than an art or a science. Nursing Outlook, 45(2), 82-85.

Gaydos, H. L. B. (2006). The art of nursing. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 2(1), 70-74.

Lillis, C., LeMone, P., LeBon, M., & Lynn, P. (2010). Study guide for fundamentals of nursing: The art and science of nursing care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Loewenstein, M. (2003). The art of nursing. Nursing2015, 33(12), 48-49.

Wainwright, P. (1999). The art of nursing. International journal of nursing studies, 36(5), 379-385.

Own nursing experience and importance of clinical practice

Since nursing requires practice, a thorough guide by those already in the profession is essential. Clinical practice being an integral part a student's education that allows direct to the real world of clinical routines. During my five weeks in practice, I have come to learn several things that are critical in the life of a nursing professional. I began my practice by taking on some patients in the hospital. The tasks that I was involved in were the administration of medicines and IV therapy. The process of taking in patients involved admission and discharge of patients to a home or any other facility. To be able to manage these responsibilities, I was required to familiarize with the environment and the patient's needs. Another important tool that I would use was time management. This meant that patient's safety should be the number one priority. I also learned that teamwork is also a key point. This was effective in that one could seek advice and help in case someone was not sure of what to do in a particular situation. Performing the above tasks was a bit easier on my part because I had some experience.

However, there are those areas that I lacked experience. These areas included wound management. Wound management requires critical thinking on the patient's current condition. This ensures that any possible pressure is prevented. Other areas included learning how to prevent a patient from falling off the bed. Communicating with the patient's family who most of the times are always nervous was also a tussle. Communication is hard because it required a clear choice of words because the intention is always to reassure and calm down the family. These and other incidents needed one to handle them efficiently.

Five weeks of experience in nursing career

For a person to succeed in the nursing career, I learned that experiences need a built up base immediately the incidents or events happen. Most of these incidences require a person to be calm and self-reassurance that all will be well. One needs to believe in their abilities and remember that people work together as a team. This means that in case one is stuck with a particular task, there is always room to seek advice and help from those with more experience. Other insights to being a better person in my nursing career meant being prepared at all times. This means that a student should always be prepared for being able to understand what to do, being at the right place at the right time, and being alert to new experiences. Guidance is also a key point that I learned during my five-week placement. This means that one should graduate from being an observer to seeking more knowledge, and from focusing on the technology used to getting involved with the patients through personal visits.

In summary, guidance and preparedness were imperative in making the five weeks educative. The five weeks were quite an experience for me in my nursing career. Though I was nervous at the beginning of this practice, I realized that I needed further practice in other clinical areas such as wound management. Others areas that required some additional knowledge were time management and medication. All in all, I was able to manage the pressures during the five weeks period, and this reassured me that I was on the right path of my nursing career.

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