When you think of a job in the healthcare sector, you likely immediately think of your actions to help others. That’s a noble part of being a nurse. While you might not immediately think of nursing philosophy, having one is integral to do the job effectively. Let’s begin the discussion by defining what exactly is a nursing philosophy.

Definition of a Nursing Philosophy

This statement is an all-encompassing one that a nurse takes with them in their work and remembers it too after the shift ends. Not only does the comprehensive philosophical statement guide their workday, but it also inspires them to keep going, even on the difficult days.

A nursing philosophy typically includes:

  • Values
  • Morals
  • Ethics

All three of these areas are essential to nursing practice. Morals relate to human connections, with the goal of choosing right over wrong to promote others’ well-being.

Values can be described as the start of morals and ethics. What you value is important to you and something you safeguard, putting it high on your priority list. Ethics are consistent principles, while values can change over time.

It is integral that nurses do their best to consistently do what is moral and ethical to combat personal bias from coming into the picture. But why, exactly?

The Importance of Nursing Philosophy

By having a nursing philosophy and continuing to uphold it, nurses do what is right by their patients each day. They consistently provide patient care, that is:

  • Empathetic to the patient’s condition
  • Upholding the patient’s unique background and characteristics
  • Providing the best care possible across a range of scenarios

By having a nursing philosophy, this person is likely to have a base by which to structure their actions and to maintain integrity throughout their profession.

By being tolerant and doing their best not to let bias cloud their judgment, nurses can act in ways that uphold the patient’s dignity, rather than offending them. By giving respect to those they care for, nurses connect well with patients to provide the best quality of care possible.

How DNP Programs Can Enforce Values

When thinking about the nursing philosophy, it’s important to realize that this personal statement can become more enriched during nursing specialty programs, such as an online DNP program.

Various DNP program types are available, including Family Nurse Practitioner, Executive Nursing Leadership, and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. During these courses, students can expect to get an advanced understanding of ethics relating to care in specific situations they might not have come across before.

Getting exposed to these scenarios in an academic setting allows nurses to get better at practicing their nursing philosophy before doing specialized care after graduation in the real world. For instance, a Family Nurse Practitioner program can help a pupil advance as a primary care provider who provides a holistic approach in an equal manner to people of a range of ages and genders.

Graduating requires that DNP students dig deep into developing their skills. Doing so ensures that when they are in the future role, such as Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, they are putting patient dignity and ethics at the top of their priority list when providing care.

Defining Your Personal Nursing Philosophy

Are you unsure how to formally write out your philosophy of the nursing profession? Is so, you can ask yourself some questions as a great starting point. Here are five questions to ask:

  • Why do I care about nursing?
  • What qualities make a great nurse?
  • What does it mean to be a nurse?
  • Which skills are important to have?
  • What should nurses never do?

By answering these questions thoughtfully and honestly, you can start to clarify your vision and complete a philosophy that matters to you.

Nursing Philosophy: It’s a Part of You

Whether you realize it or not, you came into nursing with a philosophy about many aspects of life, including human relationships. Your career journey shapes that path.

When you began nursing, you likely found yourself drawn to a certain specialty, which explains wanting to go back to school for a DNP program. It is likely your values that led you to enter the nursing field, to begin with, however long ago. 

Based on what you learn in school and the roles you take, your philosophy will change and develop for optimal patient care and safety. You also hold beliefs about nursing or what it means to you, and you unveil them during your education.

Lastly, you will be able to identify when unethical scenarios arise that go against what you uphold and value if they arise in practice. Being able to think, understand, and respond to this type of thing is essential for protecting the field of nursing.

This Philosophy can Motivate You Too

Taking the time to form a personal philosophy is especially helpful if you feel a bit hopeless or have lost the zest for healthcare. Creating a nursing statement can remind you why you first entered this important field of work and motivate you to keep going forward.

It can reinvigorate you and help prevent burnout too. Often, instructors encourage nursing students to write their philosophy of nursing. This project can help in future job interviews also as you will have a clear sense of who you are as a nurse, what you want to achieve, and how you will do so with integrity.


Forming a personal nursing philosophy keeps you accountable to both yourself and others. It enables you to identify values, ethics, and morals that matter to you and the profession of nursing overall.

Having this philosophy and advancing it as you take further education will help you be a better nurse and provide the care that patients deserve across a range of situations. Finally, your nursing philosophy will help you find a job that matches who you are and what you stand for in life. That will help you do well on the job and find greater meaning at the end of the workday.