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The Primary Objective of the Philosophical Analysis


The primary objective of the philosophical analysis is to evaluate logic and create theories of sense. A majority of the philosophers consider the commonalities of patient, nurse and environment in the bid to create a consequential philosophy of nursing practice. There are numerous approaches to creating philosophy. They include positivism and post-positivism. A strong philosophical foundation creates theories that direct nursing practice. Grove, Burns, and Gray (2013) argue, “Philosophies are personal in nature and are influenced by different facets of the nurse’s development” (p. 23). A nurse’s stance about values, humanity, and the focus of nursing must be considered. Besides, one must consider other factors like the nature of nursing, objectives of practice, nursing education, and the aims of the nursing research.

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Philosophy of Nursing

My viewpoint is that nurses have the duty to improve their skills through constant learning. The philosophy of post-positivism has made me believe that nurses should not remain torpid in their beliefs. Instead, they should enhance their profession through technological advances and evidence-based practices. I trust that nurses have the duty to offer comprehensive, safe, and patient-centered care. Moreover, it is my conviction that patients have the right to personalized care and attention. Medical practitioners should apply clinical judgment to assist patients. Additionally, nurses should encourage patients to participate in enhancing their care. This week’s readings have influenced my views. The readings have made me acknowledge the importance of involving a third party to mediate the conflict that might arise between patients and nurses. Besides, the readings have made me view my fellow nurses in a different perspective. I currently believe that my colleagues are an excellent resource.

Nursing’s Philosophical Foundations

According to Grove et al. (2013), philosophy shapes the belief systems, identities, and practices in the nursing arena. Nurses encounter both evolving and ordinary situations. The nurses’ experience and philosophies help them in decision making. Numerous philosophical foundations of nursing influence the way nurses react to different circumstances. The foundations include historicism, feminism, and hermeneutics among others. The historicism foundation holds that knowledge and theories must be interpreted based on their historical context. The foundation falls under the model of perceived view. Grove et al. (2013) maintain that the philosophy of historicism maintains that facts and beliefs are entrenched in history. Besides, the philosophical foundation holds that history has a significant role in the nursing field. For instance, nurses use the history of the patient to resolve medical challenges. The nurses leverage on history when dealing with various health dilemmas.

Nursing is “interpretative or hermeneutic in nature” (Kinsella, 2010, p. 5). Nurses are regarded as judges of patients’ stories. For instance, nurses interpret vital signs and subjective hints like body language to understand the health problems that a patient is facing. Additionally, nurses go through the history of a patient to interpret their health conditions. The foundation of feminism seeks to help the nurses “identify and find the reason for today’s access to health care and analyze health issues in various populations” (Kinsella, 2010, p. 7).

The philosophical foundations of nursing influence my nursing practice. For instance, the foundation of historicism affects how I deal with patients suffering from mental problems. I handle the patient not only based on the experience, but also the prevailing circumstances. I appreciate that every patient has a unique life history. Additionally, every patient has unique values, experiences, and beliefs that shape their history. Consequently, I cannot use a single treatment procedure to handle patients suffering from mental challenges. Instead, I dynamically change the treatment procedure based on the history of the patient.

On the other hand, the foundation of hermeneutic influences how I deal with patients that are in a coma. Identifying the needs of such patients would be hard. Thus, their recovery depends on the ability of the nurse to be present with them. As a result, I always ensure that am close to the patients. Besides, I endeavor to understand them as well as their needs and perceptions.

Relationship between Philosophy and Knowledge Development

There is a high correlation between philosophy and knowledge development. Kinsella (2010) argues that philosophy serves as a guide for an individual establishing a field of knowledge. Additionally, philosophy serves as a collection of regulative standards as an individual builds on a field of knowledge. For instance, philosophy plays a significant role in knowledge development in the field of social sciences. According to Kinsella (2010), “philosophical thoughts regarding the nature of knowledge or nature of social world influenced the founding efforts by such social researchers as Weber, Spencer, or Durkheim in the formulation of their assumptions about social processes” (p. 8). Indeed, there exists a significant correlation between philosophy and knowledge development. Philosophy equips individuals with universal laws of theoretical thinking.

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According to Mackay (2009), philosophy works as an incubator. Philosophy offers a room where knowledge is hatched and developed in tentative and straightforward manner. Most contemporary theoretical frameworks that are core to linguistics and cognitive psychology hail from philosophy. Philosophy is indispensable. A person’s philosophy serves as their worldview. It serves as the backdrop for “thought and a context for all knowledge” (Mackay, 2009, p. 289). Examining philosophy enables people to eradicate all contradictions and errors, therefore being able to acquire knowledge. Mackay (2009) maintains that philosophy helps to answer basic, fundamental questions that facilitate knowledge development. Additionally, it helps people to evaluate underlying assumptions, therefore coming up with precise understanding. Philosophy plays a significant role in knowledge development in the nursing field. It enables the nurse to critique, analyze, debate, and challenge clinical situations. Mackay (2009) claims that philosophy bequeaths nurse with the instruments to develop the ability to analyze and address clinical situations. Moreover, philosophy enables nurses to identify critical issues that would remain unknown without further probing.

The relationship between theory and knowledge development is evidenced in my nursing practice. Appreciating my philosophy as humanist enables me to advocate for patient-centered care. Additionally, thinking in a philosophical manner allows me to influence discussions that are aimed at enhancing health care. For instance, reflective thinking facilitates budgetary decisions. Additionally, philosophy enables me to answer non-scientific questions that are crucial to the nursing field. Philosophy allows me to understand the principles of nursing practice. Moreover, it enables me to identify the limits of nursing knowledge. Indeed, philosophy has helped me to work in liaison with other nurses to come up with a program that seeks to improve the discipline of nursing.

Influences of Positivism and Post-Positivism

Positivism and post-positivism have significant influences on the approaches to nursing science. Positivism facilitates research in the nursing science. Nurses use instruments with “quantitative scales for measuring concepts that are transformed into variables” (Mackay, 2009, p. 291). In other words, researchers ensure that they use parameters that are mathematically demonstrable. Positivists hold that the objective of science is to focus on what one can observe and measure. Anything beyond that is infeasible. Consequently, in the nursing science, researchers focus on parameters that are easy to measure and follow. They argue that anything that is hard to observe or measure is irrelevant. Positivism postulates that scientific research begins with experience or personal observations. Besides, positivism holds that individual statements or primary hypotheses that are devoid of prejudice help to formulate views. The distinct statements originate from general statements. Under positivism, nursing science bases its research methods on parameters that are measurable. The researchers ensure that they arrive at results that are verifiable through concrete experimental procedures or technology.

Persson (2010) argues that positivism influences nursing practice. The nurses do not put great consideration on the emotional needs of a patient. Instead, they focus on the inherent stability of the patient. The nurses observe patients’ response to treatment in a bid to make appropriate adjustments to the treatment procedures. Positivism assumes that nurses can use a single mode of treatment to cure certain illness. It holds that every illness is unique. As a result, the nurses use a single treatment procedure on all patients suffering from a common illness. The nurses do not consider factors like the patient’s history that may help in determining the appropriate mode of treatment.

Post-positivism holds that it is hard for the nurses to achieve real objective knowledge. Additionally, it holds that “observations are not fixed and are open to change within their context” (McEwin & Wills, 2014, p. 112). Thus, nursing researchers ought to not base their findings on observations. Post-positivism integrates subjective and qualitative research methods in the nursing science. Besides, it encourages the interaction between the researchers and their subjects. Pesut and Johnson (2008) claim that post-positivism advocates for modernism and unearthing of novel knowledge in the nursing science and does not rely on fixed results. Opponents of post-positivism argue that it introduces subjectivity and uncertainty in research methods. They do not appreciate that post-positivism enables nurses to use both qualitative and quantitative research methods, therefore eliminating cases of subjectivity. Moreover, it allows nurses to use open-ended questions, therefore being able to obtain unambiguous results.

Post-positivism influences nursing practice in different ways. For instance, nurses appreciate that there is no single method of treating particular health conditions. Besides, they acknowledge that observations are prone to errors. As a result, nurses work together to identify and come up with appropriate methods of handling varied health conditions. Post-positivism advocates objectivity. Hence, it enables nurses to enhance their operations by working together and criticizing each other’s work.

Both positivism and post-positivism influence my personal philosophy. For instance, post-positivism has made me believe that a single challenge can be addressed in different ways. People ought to not rely on a unique method of handling challenges. Additionally, post-positivism has made me believe that one gains knowledge through a series of selection, variation, and retention. As a result, I am keen to analyze the works of my colleagues and try to understand why they opt to use an individual approach to address problems. Post-positivism has made me believe that there is nothing like incommensurability of varied opinions. The fact that we come from different cultural backgrounds and experiences does not mean that we cannot understand one another. Therefore, I work towards understanding my colleagues as a measure to enhance service delivery. On the other hand, positivism has made me believe in the importance of research in the nursing field. I take a lot of my free time doing research in various health problems.

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Philosophy has a significant role in the nursing field. It not only helps to enhance health care but also career growth and respect between nurses. The philosophical foundations of historicism, feminism, and hermeneutics contribute to molding the belief systems, identities, and practices in the nursing field. Additionally, philosophy promotes knowledge development. It enables the nurses to identify and eradicate all contradictions and errors. Positivism and post-positivism influence the approaches to nursing science in different ways. Positivism emphasizes the use of parameters that are mathematically provable. On the other hand, post-positivism encourages the pursuit of new information.


Grove, S., Burns, N., & Gray, J. (2013). The practice of nursing research: Appraisal, synthesis, and generation of evidence (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.

Kinsella, E. (2010). Professional knowledge and the epistemology of reflective practice. Nursing Philosophy, 11(1), 3-14.

Mackay, M. (2009). Why nursing has not embraced the clinician-scientist role. Nursing Philosophy, 10(4), 287-296.

McEwin, M., & Wills, E. (2014). Theoretical basis for nursing (4th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Persson, J. (2010). Misconceptions of positivism and five unnecessary science theoretic mistakes they bring in their train. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47(5), 651-661.

Pesut, B., & Johnson, J. (2008). Reinstating the ‘Queen’: Understanding philosophical inquiry in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61(1), 115-121.

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