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Nursing Philosophy in Emergency Trauma Care


In their work, nurses should apply theoretical principles of nursing to their practice depending on the settings and specific needs of patients whom they serve. Much attention should be paid to identifying differences in needs and expectations typical of various groups of patients (Wetzig & Mitchell, 2017). The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the nursing metaparadigm and the personal nursing philosophy can be applied to serving patients from a trauma and emergency unit, what concepts should be added to the model in order to improve services, and how these changes can influence practice.

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A Specialty Practice Area

A specialty practice area determined for this assignment is a trauma and emergency unit. Those nurses who work in this unit are expected to cope with emergency cases, support patients with minor and severe injuries, provide care for patients with burns, and guarantee the provision of services for patients with bone fractures, among other types of trauma. While working in this specialty area, nurses should develop their concentration, the ability to react to situations, the ability to provide emergency care, and skills in helping patients overcome stress.

Primary Needs of This Specialty Population

The population in a trauma and emergency unit includes adult patients who are victims of certain incidents and accidents that affect their physical state, emotional state and life in short-term or long-term perspectives. The basic needs of this population depend on the severity of a case. Those adult patients who have such trauma as bone fractures, which can be treated without complications, usually need primary support and education regarding minor modifications of their lifestyle (Wetzig & Mitchell, 2017).

However, the needs of those patients who experienced burns, severe wounds, and other types of complicated trauma require more support, care, detailed recommendations regarding treatment, and education regarding modifications of their lifestyle to cope with an unfamiliar situation (Gullick, Taggart, Johnston, & Ko, 2014). These patients can feel anxiety, be depressed, focused on pessimistic thoughts, and unable to care for themselves without support (Wetzig & Mitchell, 2017). This complex situation needs to be addressed by nurses.

The Nursing Metaparadigm and Personal Conceptual Model

Principles of the personal nursing philosophy should address the needs for care characteristics of the identified population. The reason is that this philosophy is based on the nursing metaparadigm, which consists of such concepts as a person, health, nursing, and environment. Currently, while providing care for patients with trauma, it is appropriate to refer to them as individuals who have different needs, diverse backgrounds, certain visions regarding their treatment, as well as distinct beliefs and ideas. As a result, this approach to caring can be viewed as patient-oriented. Furthermore, the understanding of patients’ needs is important to propose the most effective treatment to improve their health depending on genetic, physical, emotional, and intellectual differences.

In this context, nursing is viewed as a process of applying certain approaches in order to address patients’ needs and contribute to improving their health. Therefore, the concept of the environment associated with these ideas is based on creating a supportive and caring space for patients to improve their physical and emotional states. However, it is possible to add one more concept to this paradigm, and this concept is care or caring. To cover the identified population’s needs, this concept should be discussed from the perspective of Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring.

Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring to Add to the Conceptual Model

To add a theoretical concept that is based on the nursing philosophy and which can guide practice to address patients’ needs to the personal conceptual model, it is important to refer to Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Watson formulated the principles of this theory in the 1970s. According to the theorist, the main purpose of nursing is to guarantee human caring, which can be defined as the creation of deep and dynamic nurse-patient relationships (Pajnkihar, McKenna, Štiglic, & Vrbnjak, 2017).

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The result of these relationships is high-quality and patient-oriented care, which helps individuals address their needs, feel more optimistic regarding their treatment and receive the required support. From this point, the focus is on nurses’ “creative” (care and support) activities rather than “curative” (procedures) activities (Ozan, 2015).

Reasons to Choose Watson’s Theory

Those patients who are usually observed in trauma and emergency units require care and support more than other patients because these individuals need help in their daily activities, they often feel frustrated and pessimistic, they are at higher risks of developing depression and anxiety because of factors associated with their health state. As a result, nurses in this unit are expected to not only offer treatment and education for patients but also provide care, motivate, demonstrate kindness, encourage, and support.

All these aspects are reflected in Watson’s theory, as its key principles are associated with the development of trusting relationships (Pajnkihar et al., 2017). Thus, the principle of caring should be adopted in the facility with reference to the ideas declared by Watson, who accentuated caring as a moral perspective of nursing based on the concept of humanity.

How This Concept Will Improve Practice and Care

In the context of this theory, nurses are expected to follow certain “Caritas,” which are practices oriented to supporting patients on a daily basis. Working with trauma patients, nurses provide not only emergency support but also daily assistance, communication, consultation, and help in performing certain activities. While modifying practice with the focus on Watson’s theory, it is important to concentrate on Caritas and help patients cope with their stress, examining settings, and changing habits (Gullick et al., 2014).

After applying this theory and the concept of caring to practice, nurses can guarantee that patients feel more comfortable in the context of a new situation, they build trusting relationships with a nurse, and they become oriented to recovery. Nurses will listen to patients and help realize their desires, they will respect them, and involve patients in a decision-making process (Pajnkihar et al., 2017). Therefore, it is possible to state the Watson’s Theory of Human Caring can positively affect the practice of those nurses who work in trauma units and need to cope with patients’ fears, stress, anxiety, and depression, along with the inability to care for themselves.


The practice of nurses can be discussed as challenging, and they are expected to use principles of their nursing metaparadigm in order to address patients’ needs. However, nurses’ activities should be oriented not only to treatment but also to care. Therefore, the application of Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is important in the context of a trauma and emergency unit to help patients recover and feel comfortable in a facility.


Gullick, J. G., Taggart, S. B., Johnston, R. A., & Ko, N. (2014). The trauma bubble: Patient and family experience of serious burn injury. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 35(6), 413-427.

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Ozan, Y. (2015). Implementation of Watson’s Theory of Human Caring: A case study. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 8(1), 25-32.

Pajnkihar, M., McKenna, H. P., Štiglic, G., & Vrbnjak, D. (2017). Fit for practice: Analysis and evaluation of Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Nursing Science Quarterly, 30(3), 243-252.

Wetzig, K., & Mitchell, M. (2017). The needs of families of ICU trauma patients: An integrative review. Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, 41(1), 63-70.

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