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Four Metaparadigms of Nursing

Nursing is an ancient profession. It is as old as humanity itself. Even in the most primitive and ancient human tribes, there were individuals tasked with taking care of the sick and injured. A caring attitude is not something that could be transmitted on a genetic level from one generation to another. It is a cultural transmission, a way of coping and interacting with the surrounding environment. No matter the region or culture, the tenets of nursing around the world remain the same. Modern nursing philosophy is built upon four metaparadigms: nursing, person, health, and environment. They outline the core basics behind the nursing profession and are universal to all nurses around the world (Watson, 2011). In this paper, I will reflect upon these four philosophical pillars and describe their implementation in my nursing practice.

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The first metaparadigm, at its core, establishes a relationship between a patient and a nurse on a highly personal level, with high degrees of emotional involvement. Nursing is a living practice and study of health, disease, and illness achieved through clinical experience. This metaparadigm defines the tasks and responsibilities of a nurse – to use all knowledge available in order to improve a patient’s health, both physical and emotional (Nursing Philosophy, 2016). This is how I intend to implement it in my nursing practice – I will offer my knowledge and skills to ensure a patient’s full recovery. I will also provide full support to those in my care, even on the emotional level, so that the patients know that I feel for them.


The concept of a person is a very important metaparadigm – it defines the patient as an integral part of our society. A person is a unique being, and his or her life has inherent value, which is not affected by age, race, gender, or social background. This paradigm establishes the patient as the focal point of every medical effort (Nursing Philosophy, 2016). Every patient has inherent rights as well that must be respected at all times. As a nurse, I vow to uphold this notion, treat my patients with respect and kindness, honor their rights, and make sure my efforts are beneficial to them.


The third metaparadigm defines the physical-emotional state of the patient, and the difference between healthiness, illness, and disease (Nursing Philosophy, 2016). It separates the notion of well-being, which is subjective, from health, which is objective and can be assessed. The notions of illness and disease have a similar connotation. The difference between the two is that one is a factual ailment, while another is an experience. As a nurse, I will make sure that my patients leave my care healthy and well.


The environment is the fourth metaparadigm of nursing. It encompasses a great number of factors that may affect a patient’s health. This concept goes beyond the boundaries of the physical environment. It reaches out to many other realms of human existence, from political and economic to ethical and psychological (Nursing Philosophy, 2016). In my nursing practice, I will focus on adapting and changing the environment to accommodate my patients on all levels.


The first step towards becoming a nurse is to accept and understand the core philosophy behind the practice. Nursing is not just a job, or a set of rules and regulations one has to follow. It is a way of life. These metaparadigms provide a solid framework for nurses on which they can build their personal philosophies. Nurses have different visions and different approaches to their practice. Nevertheless, the adherence to four metaparadigms of nursing is what unites them.


Nursing philosophy. (2016). Web.

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Watson, J. (2011). Theoretical foundations of nursing. Web.

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