The Science And Art Of Nursing Essay

, Research Paper Abstract My paper discusses the goals of nursing by taking a look at two important aspects which make up the nursing profession, science and art. It talks about the importance of nursing science and knowledge, and the significant role they have for the future development of the nursing profession.

, Research Paper


My paper discusses the goals of nursing by taking a look at two important aspects which make up the nursing profession, science and art. It talks about the importance of nursing science and knowledge, and the significant role they have for the future development of the nursing profession. This paper also takes a look at the art aspect of nursing. The art of nursing is a holistic view, which looks at caring for all facets of that individual whether they are mental, physical or spiritual. On top of this, the art of nursing also takes into account the nurses ability to remaining open minded towards patients and the important relationships nurses’ hold with clients.

The goal of nursing is to ” assist persons to achieve their optimum level of health in situations of normal health, illness, injury, or in the process of dying” (Canadian Nurses Association, 1998, pp.8). This goal can only be achieved in the nursing profession by the coming together of the two segments of health care; science and art. Nursing as a science involves the technological and research aspect of patient care. The art of nursing is a more holistic view and takes into account all the patients mental, physical and spiritual needs. This includes things like caring, being open-minded and having a strong relationship with the client no matter what differences in perspective or point of view lay between the nurse and the client.

Nursing as a Science

Knowledge is fundamental in the growth of any discipline. Talbot’s work (as cited in Potter, Perry, 1997) states that knowledge is information, and discovery is the creative process of obtaining new knowledge. A body of knowledge is the collaboration of ideas, which included in the knowledge base, is research and experience. Research is used to scientifically prove theories as well as to discredit others. Personal experience may bring upon research and increase the body of knowledge. An example of this can be seen with common dish soap and a catheter. Through personal experience and research, it has been found that using dish detergent to clean the apparatus can be equally as effective as using a much more costly disinfectant. Since nurses have started to do research, they have begun to build their own body of knowledge, instead of borrowing that knowledge from others (Leddy, 1998). Research and experience in the nursing field has allowed for the evolution of the profession. The more knowledge base an idea has, the more support it will receive.

According to Meleis (1997), nurses use knowledge of human responses to health and illness in the healing process. Meleis (1997) states that the nurses uses this knowledge in the promoting or health, to help in caring for the patient, to help the patient learn to care for themselves, and to help empower the client, teaching them to use available resources.

Research in any profession is important in the development of future ideas and techniques. According to Phillips (2000) interpretation of Rogers, nurse researchers need to look into the unknown aspects of nursing to create unifies principles and theories, which are essential in education as well as in practice. Philips (2000) also discusses Rogers idea that “nursing science is the prerequisite to the process of nursing” (Philips, 2000, pp198). This statement shows the importance of scientific research and the necessity for it before nursing science, knowledge, or practice can benefit.

Nursing as an art

The art of nursing and holistic health are very closely related. They both consider what is best for all aspects of the patients’ health, and are directed at specifically helping to solve those problems. According to Potter and Perry (1997) holistic health is becoming so popular because of the belief that comfort affects personal physical and mental functionality, and are considered to be an important part in an individuals wellness. Holistic health looks at all aspects of a person’s wellness, and the nurse is responsible to assess the need of the individual and to make sure that all these needs are met. Doing this requires caring, being able to remain open minded towards the patient, and being able to have a relationship with the client.

“Caring is a mutual exchange in which both parties relate on the level of their shared humanness, and both learn from each other.” (Montgomery, 1993, p.33) This caring as Montgomery has described it is essential for all individuals in feeling loved. Love has a substantial impact on the way in which we interpret our health, and how we view our wellness. A person who feels loves, and has someone to share that love with is going to heal quicker than a person whom is left to themselves and forced to take on the entire battle placed in from of them with no additional help. It is for this reason that caring requires two things, compassion and competence.

According to Roach (1998), compassion is the ability of the nurse to listen and feel what the patient is saying without using judgment. It is a way for which the nurse can become closer with the patient without invading the patients’ privacy. Compassion is a skill, which can not be taught or learned, only known. The nurse must have this quality from the beginning or he/she will never posses it (Roach, 1998). Compassion is important in caring because people are able to recognize this quality, and usually respond to the gentleness. The second quality required in caring is competence. According to Roach (1998) competence is the ability to show the patient your understanding of the skills involved in nursing. This skill is so important because it is very difficult for a patient to open up to a nurse which they do not have confidence in. A patient may have a hard time connecting with a nurse who is incapable of simple tasks such as changing dressings or giving a bed bath.

Being able to have a relationship with a client is extremely important in the healing process. Simple communication can make a world of difference to someone possibly going through the most challenging aspect of his or her life. For a strong relationship to develop between the nurse and the patient, commitment is essential. Commitment is the meeting between “one’s desires and one’s obligations ‘(Roach, 1998, pp.65). Commitment is so important in the relationship because without it, the patient will feel uncared for, and will thus have a hard time relating to the nurse. Things as simple as a back rub before a patient goes to bed can show the nurses commitment towards the patient and help develop the relationship from both sides. Something further required in having a healthy relationship with a client is the ability to remain open minded towards the client. To not make harsh or rash judgements based on a single piece of information known. It is important to keep asking questions about the patient and to remain curious towards them so that you are able to maintain open minded.


The goal of nursing is to help individuals attain their highest possible health for a given situation (Canadian Nurses Association, 1998). The nursing profession does this through the two aspects or nursing science and nursing art. Nursing science hold incredible significance in the future development of the profession. Nursing science aids in the building of nursing knowledge, and therefor aids in helping a patient to attain their highest possible health status. The art of nursing takes a holistic view of client care and deals with healing every aspect of their mental, physical and spiritual well being. The art of nursing also takes into account things such as Roach’s (1998) 5 C’s in relation to the nurses interaction with the client and the relationship he/she builds with them.


Canadian Nurses Association. (1997). Code of ethics for registered nurses.


Leddy, S.K. (1998). Patterns of knowing and nursing science. Chapter 6, in

Conceptual bases of professional nursing (4th ed.) Lippincott. (pp.19)

Meleis, A. (1997). Nursing Perspective. In A. Meleis (Ed.), Theoretical nursing:

Development & progress, (pp. 93-101). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott.

Montgomery, C. L. (1993) Theoretical foundations of caring. In T. S. Mead,

Healing through communication: The practice of caring (pp.33). Newbury Park,

California: Sage Publications, Inc.

Perry, A. G., & Potter, P. A. (1997). Canadian fundamentals of nursing. St. Louis

, Missouri: Mosby-Year Book Inc.

Philips, J. R. (2000). Rogerian nursing science and research: a healing process for

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Roach, M. S. (1992). The human act of caring: A blueprint for the health

professions. Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Hospital Association Press.