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Nursing as a Science and Art of Medical Help


An integral part of today’s healthcare system is contemporary nursing. This field of activity aimed at solving individual and social problems of the population in the constantly changing environmental conditions is of great importance for medicine since it solves crucial problems of patient care. It is possible to define the modern nursing both as a science and art of the medical help directed on the decision of existing and potential health problems. The multifunctionality of junior medical personnel’s practice makes this sphere an inalienable component of qualified medical care, and special attention is given to the professionalism of employees, the skills of specialists, and their desire to help people. Therefore, nursing activities cannot be regarded solely as a science or an art but only as a combination of practical techniques and approaches in terms of self-giving and dedication to work as a real art.

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The Features of Nursing as a Science

When considering the field of nursing as a science, it is possible to rely on the theoretical knowledge and skills that affect this area of ​​healthcare and take into account all the requirements imposed on specialists. According to Palos (2014), “the science of nursing is a combination of performance, skills, knowledge, and attitudes” (p. 247). It is also important to understand that an experienced and skilled employee is responsible for his or her charges, and the violation or disregard for certain professional abilities can have serious consequences for both patients and the reputation of the nurse as a profession. Therefore, continuous improvement of existing knowledge, clear control over the performance of all immediate duties, as well as the desire to improve personal qualifications are the conditions for successful and effective nursing practice.

As a science, modern nursing is based on practically proven knowledge in many areas. As Barrett (2017) notes, this discipline implies the following of a number of theories and practices, and in addition to standard approaches to work, additional areas require particular attention from junior medical personnel. Thus, for example, if an employee is experienced, he or she will certainly have some knowledge in psychology, sociology, and culturology since these sciences are inseparably linked with the human life and find their application in the field of nursing. Also, according to Barrett (2017), professional activities are necessarily associated with a philosophical perspective because some aspects of patient care are associated with deep concepts of the human personality. These are sciences that are necessary in order to effectively work and fully correspond to the title of a qualified nurse.

In addition to the above disciplines, the considered activity is inextricably linked with other aspects of work. Thus, for instance, such areas as leadership and management, marketing, and the basics of communication are necessary for nurses in order to be ready for any situation and competently find an individual approach to each patient (Barrett, 2017). Having skills and knowledge in these areas, it is possible to successfully carry out care and yet not to experience discomfort caused by this or that problem situation. In order to do it, it is required to strive to improve qualifications and regularly work on developing personal performance results. It will help to gain valuable experience and at the same time will become a significant achievement in terms of training as a specialist. Therefore, as it becomes clear, the nursing practice can be considered from the point of view of science, and a number of educational and social disciplines will be very useful for work.

The Peculiarities of Nursing as an Art

It is possible to consider nursing as an art. This field of medicine differs from many in that not only the availability of professional skills but also the vocation is required in order to be an enduring and qualified specialist. According to Duran and Çetinkaya-Uslusoy (2015), it is impossible to carry out full-fledged care, feeling irritation or anger towards wards. In addition to professional skills, it is required to be able to organize the work process in such a way that patients could not feel indifference towards themselves. Perhaps, it is the basic art of nursing activity when the employee not only responsibly fulfills his or her duties but also puts the soul into this process.

Certain approaches to work are combined into one common activity that consists in efficient care. As O’Brien (2017) claims, as art, the modern nursing process is the ability to correctly and timely apply professional knowledge and skills in practice. It is not enough to have an educational background, working with those who need medical care. It is significant to distinguish certain methods, differentiate nursing concepts and models, and competently conduct appropriate procedures. Also, according to O’Brien (2017), it is necessary to delicately but persistently communicate with the patient and his or her relatives, that is, to explain the necessity of certain actions. This criterion has a particularly essential role in dealing with difficult cases when relatives insistently require commentaries concerning specific interventions. It should be noted that every patient is not just an object for work but a person who requires a responsible approach and attention. Therefore, the closer the contact is, the higher is the chance of quick recovery and gratitude from the ward, their relatives and, certainly, the senior management.

Finally, nursing from the point of view of art implies the use of a thinking style that is aimed at aspirating for recovery and a healthy lifestyle. It is significant to be able to not only apply necessary practices but also to morally help patients, motivating them and helping to reconcile themselves with a temporary difficult situation. The subjective component of work, as Garrett and Cutting (2015) remark, is an indispensable attribute of nursing practice since most decisions are made solely on the basis of the specific and individual characteristics of each patient. Therefore, the more effective the moral support is, the greater is the chance that the nursing activity will be highly valued by both patients themselves and the entire medical community.

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Thus, it is impossible to regard the nursing practice as exclusively a science or an art because it is a combination of measures aimed at caring for the patient and involving a number of skills. Among the knowledge that a qualified nurse should possess, there should be the ability to use philosophical, psychological, and social techniques. In addition, the art of nursing provides for compliance with moral and ethical norms when dealing with patients and their relatives. The success of any intervention, as well as the period of recovery, directly depends on the ability of a junior medical employee to properly motivate wards and find individual approaches to each case.


Barrett, E. A. M. (2017). Again, what is nursing science? Nursing Science Quarterly, 30(2), 129-133.

Duran, E. T., & Çetinkaya-Uslusoy, E. (2015). Opinions of nursing students on the art of nursing: A qualitative study. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 8(2), 308-316.

Garrett, B. M., & Cutting, R. L. (2015). Ways of knowing: Realism, non-realism, nominalism and a typology revisited with a counter perspective for nursing science. Nursing Inquiry, 22(2), 95-105.

O’Brien, M. E. (2017). Spirituality in nursing: Standing on holy ground (6th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Palos, G. R. (2014). Care, compassion, and communication in professional nursing: Art, science, or both. Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing, 18(2), 247-248.

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