Nursing Definition, Competencies, Professionalism | Free Essay Example

Nursing Definition, Competencies, Professionalism

Words: 1190
Topic: Health & Medicine


It is important for nurses to develop their competencies and refer to the standards of nursing in order to provide high-quality care. The focus on core competencies and realization of nursing standards in daily practice is necessary to guarantee that nurses promote health and deliver the appropriate care to all patients. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the five core competencies identified by the Institute of Medicine, describe the professional characteristics of nursing, analyze the definition of nursing, discuss the concept of caring, and present the personal nursing philosophy.

Five Core Competencies

Institute of Medicine identified the five core competencies that need to be developed and addressed by all healthcare professionals in their practice. These competencies include patient-centered care, cooperation in interdisciplinary teams, a focus on evidence-based practice, orientation to the quality improvement, and utilization of informatics in the daily practice (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013). It is expected that all healthcare professionals identify patients’ individual needs, address their differences, and provide the required care and education. Healthcare specialists should also be able to communicate and cooperate in teams in order to unite efforts and solve practical tasks. In addition, it is expected that nurses and other specialists choose to apply the research findings and best practices to their work in order to guarantee the promotion of evidence-based practice. Furthermore, healthcare professionals need to measure the quality of care and focus on their improvement while providing patients with safe services (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013). Finally, nurses and other professionals should demonstrate skills related to using technologies in order to improve the quality of care.

Professional Standards

In 2003 the American Nurses Association (ANA) declared the six professional characteristics related to nursing, which included the guarantee of caring relationships, the focus on people’s different experiences and human responses to health, and integration of objective and subjective data. The other characteristics are the application of data with a focus on critical thinking, the development of knowledge as a result of inquiry, and the contribution to policies to ensure the promotion of social justice (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013, p. 82). Thus, the caring relationship can ensure the improvement of the patient’s health. The attention to patients’ experiences is important at stages of assessing the health state and diagnosing. The integration of received objective and subjective data can be discussed as significant to identify outcomes of care and plan the treatment (Kemppainen, Tossavainen, & Turunen, 2013). At this stage, the careful application of scientific knowledge is also expected. In addition, nurses need to refer to scholarly inquiry while developing treatments and implementing plans. Moreover, it is necessary to note that the ability to influence policies in society is also one of the most important professional characteristics.

ANA Definition

In the ANA definition of nursing, the main focus is on such concepts as the promotion of health, prevention of illness and injury, and advocacy related to the care of individuals, families, and communities. The meanings of these concepts should be discussed in detail in order to understand what aspects determine the idea and definition of nursing. Thus, promotion of health means the education of individuals regarding healthy choices in terms of diets and daily activities, the work needed to help people change their lifestyles, and initiatives to address people’s unique situations in order to respond to their health needs (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013). From this point, the focus is on developing behaviors to contribute to people’s health.

Prevention of illness and injury is another important factor that requires the implementation of specific interventions to predict the development of diseases and other negative conditions. Education of persons regarding methods to prevent diseases is one of the approaches used by nurses to support individuals and families. After focusing on the promotion of health and prevention of diseases, it is also important to refer to advocacy of nurses (Kitson, Marshall, Bassett, & Zeitz, 2013). This concept means that healthcare professionals often act with the focus on patients’ interests, and their task is to advocate for initiatives and activities that can be helpful to guarantee positive experiences of individuals, families, and communities.

Nurses’ Approach to Caring

The concept of caring is important in the nursing practice. Thus, it is possible to discuss actions that can accentuate effective caring. First, nurses should always be ready to assist patients, and the physical aspect is very important in this case. Second, nurses should communicate with patients and provide the necessary psychological support. In addition, it is expected that caring is associated with active listening (Finkelman & Kenner, 2013). Patients need to know that their needs and concerns will be taken into account and addressed by healthcare providers (Kemppainen et al., 2013). Furthermore, nurses demonstrate care when they avoid stereotypes and assumptions regarding the patient’s state. Finally, one more important action is the protection of the patient’s confidentiality.

In many cases, caring is associated with the physical assistance provided by nurses to patients. Therefore, nurses are expected to support individuals and help them in their daily activities. In hospitals and other healthcare facilities, nurses are responsible for assisting patients with self-care, feeding, dressing, and walking, if it is necessary (Kitson et al., 2013). Therefore, if the appropriate care is provided to patients, it is possible to speak about the effective nurse–patient relationships that are based on the idea of proper caring.

Personal Philosophy of Nursing

The personal philosophy of nursing should be based on an individual’s visions regarding such important concepts as the person, environment, health, and nursing. It is possible to discuss the person in this context as an individual who has unique features and needs, and his or her well-being depends on the choices that are made. The environment related to the person includes external factors, such as the impact of the family or community, as well as social and economic factors. The internal environment is associated with the person’s psychological state, visions, and beliefs. From this point, the individual and environment closely interact, and any change in the environment can influence the person. In this context, health can be viewed as the state when a person no longer feels ill. Thus, the patient can report being in positive psychological and physical states. While referring to the concept of nursing, it is important to note that nurses are important actors in making people feel better when they have diseases, and they play the key role in providing patients with the necessary support and assistance.


Nurses are expected to pay great attention to the development of their competencies. In addition, nurses need to focus on improving their professional characteristics that were formulated as standards by the ANA. Furthermore, it is important to note that the ANA definition of nursing provides professionals with opportunities to focus on key aspects that guide their practice. As a result, the nurse’s approach to caring should also be taken into account while discussing practical actions that nurses should perform in order to guarantee promotion of care and protection of patients’ interests. The discussion of these aspects allowed for developing the personal philosophy that reflects such key domains as the person, environment, health, and nursing.


Finkelman, A., & Kenner, C. (2013). Professional nursing concepts. New York, NY: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Kemppainen, V., Tossavainen, K., & Turunen, H. (2013). Nurses’ roles in health promotion practice: An integrative review. Health Promotion International, 28(4), 490-501.

Kitson, A., Marshall, A., Bassett, K., & Zeitz, K. (2013). What are the core elements of patient‐centered care? A narrative review and synthesis of the literature from health policy, medicine and nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(1), 4-15.