Module 1: Module Notes: SON Mission, Philosophy, and Organizing Framework
The Meta-paradigm of Nursing: What Does This Mean? Within the discipline of nursing, Jacqueline Fawcett first identified the central concepts and common themes across nursing theories as man, health, environment, and nursing. She formulized these as nursing’s metaparadigm (among the themes) in order to further develop and analyze nursing theory. For the past four decades or more, these four major concepts gained popularity and continue to be identified as the four prominent concepts that nursing theory evolve around. For example, when you look through nursing theory texts, you will find an explanation of nursing theory organized around the metaparadigm of man, health, environment, and nursing with slight deviations, such as man identified as person, people, humans, or even personhood.
However, since the late 1980’s with the advent of nursing theory that shifted attention to the theory development of the caring science in nursing, questions are now being raised that turn our focus to Caring as yet another key concept within the nursing metaparadigm. In fact, there are also staunch supporters of caring who suggest Caring is the Paradigm of Nursing with the traditional organizing concepts emanating from caring.
Caring literature abounds with operationalizing concepts of caring such as presence, transpersonal relationships, trust, and understanding from the perspective of the person with whom you are caring for. These are all caring concepts that represent nursing practice and how we care for people, promote health defined by the person cared for, and transform the environment. Certainly the traditions of nursing are cherished and remain the very foundation from which the nursing profession continues to grow and develop. However, the world of nursing is always evolving and becoming ever more complex and diverse as the discipline emerges with new knowledge, new ways of thinking, and applying intuition and best evidence to practice.
What is nursing? Today, and into the future, new theories and ways of organizing our practice do suggest we look at nursing from a different lens. Be diligent in learning about nursing’s past, present, and future. Never tire of asking questions. Rekindle your personal spirit of inquiry. For instance, think about this: patient centered care, holistic practices, and relationship based care can be argued as practices whereby Caring is the Paradigm of Nursing or at the very least in equal standing with man, health, environment, and nursing. We can argue how we operationalize and relate to the patient in his world or environment also defines the role of the nurse within this relationship. For some, the relationship is based on how the patient defines his own health and the terms to become healthy evolve from there, while for others it is prescribed to the patient what one must do to stay healthy. So, think about how you will practice within a discipline of nursing that is ever so changing not only in today’s world but into the future. Caring is also transforming our practice as more and more research is emerging with evidence as to its healing value across health care arenas. Critically reflect upon how you organize your thinking and define the discipline of nursing; deep introspection will help you gain new insights, discover alternative solutions, and create new ways of knowing and new ways to practice. Open your book and begin to write your story on what nursing means to you!
Boykin, A. & Schoenhofer, S. (1993). Nursing as caring: A model for transforming nursing. National League of Nursing Press.
Fawcett, J. (2007). The metaparadigm of nursing: Present status and future refinements. Image: the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 16(3), 84-87.
Valentine, K., Ordonez, M., & Millender, E. (2014). Transforming practice through embracing caring in nurse-managed centers. International Journal of Human Caring, 18(3), 52-64.
Now that you are thinking about how you view nursing through your personal lens of life and work experiences, let’s move on to a discussion activity on caring and its relationship to the paradigm of man, health, environment, and nursing within today’s health care environment.
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