Nursing MSN & DNP

| 16 January 2020

The data in this blog is for general informational purposes only and information presented was accurate as of the publication date.

What Is a Personal Philosophy of Nursing—and How Can It Help My Career?

nurses talking about graduate nursing programs

As a current or aspiring nurse, you may have personal beliefs about what nursing means to you. A philosophy of nursing helps you identify the beliefs and theories that shape the choices you make every day.

Many instructors will ask their students to write a philosophy of nursing. This task challenges students to think critically about the field they have entered or are entering. So, what is a “philosophy of nursing”?

What Is a Philosophy of Nursing?

A philosophy of nursing is a statement that outlines a nurse’s values, ethics, and beliefs, as well as their motivation for being part of the profession. It covers a nurse’s perspective regarding their education, practice, and patient care ethics. A philosophy of nursing helps you identify the beliefs and theories that shape the choices you make on the job every day.

How to Write a Philosophy of Nursing

Start by asking yourself these questions and jotting down your answers:

  1. Why do I/did I want to become a nurse?
  2. Why is nursing important to me?
  3. What are my beliefs about nursing?
  4. What are my theories of nursing?
  5. What qualities make a great nurse?
  6. What skills should every nurse have?
  7. Which values are important to nurses?

These questions are meant to help you identify your values and beliefs. To begin writing your personal philosophy of nursing, follow the steps below.

1. Define what nursing means to you.

Begin your philosophy of nursing by identifying what nursing means to you. Why did you choose nursing rather than another profession?

2. Add a personal story that expands on your values and skills.

Consider adding a story from your life that touches on your passions for the profession. Include insight into the traits and values that apply to nursing.

3. Include how you plan to impact society through nursing.

Do you plan to use nursing as a tool for positive social change? If so, in what areas? Touch on the big picture you have for yourself and the world around you.

4. Highlight any values and skills that are important to you.

List the skills that mean the most to you, and why. Explore how you plan to use them in future experiences.

Philosophy of Nursing Examples

Florence Nightingale developed a foundational philosophy of nursing that is still in place today. She theorized that the environment of the patient should be changed to allow for nature to work on the patient.

Philosophies of nursing are typically a few paragraphs long. But here are some excerpts from philosophies of nursing crafted by nursing students:

  • Carolann McLawrence: “I strive to be an educator, an advocate and a promoter of disease awareness, good health practices, and a supporter of strong family values within the community and the world.”
  • Megan McGahan: “Nursing is more than treating an illness; rather it is focused on delivering quality patient care that is individualized to the needs of each patient.”
  • Brandi Dahlin: “My philosophy is that nurses have a responsibility to the public to provide safe, holistic, patient-centered care. I must remember that my patients are not room numbers or medical conditions, but individuals that require and deserve individualized attention and care.”
  • Joanne de Guia-Rayos: “Knowing that I can apply my personal experience and contribute to a client’s recovery and wellness gives me a sense of personal pride, which in turn, strengthens my commitment to this profession.”

How a Personal Philosophy of Nursing Can Help Your Career

Your philosophy of nursing captures your intrinsic beliefs and goals within the nursing profession. Defining your philosophy provides you with a deeper connection to those beliefs. It can help shape you as a nurse and provide direction for which skills and specialties you want to focus on strengthening. Your philosophy will play a role in every nursing job you have.

Your profession and experiences will continue to shape your philosophy, so it may change as you progress in your career. That’s okay. Many nurses update their philosophy of nursing as their insights and careers evolve.

If you are looking to further your education in nursing, the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences offers CCNE-accredited Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, as well as post-graduate nursing certificates (for FNP specialization only), are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, DC 20001, 202-887-6791. Contact our admissions office today for more information on enrollment and the courses offered.

Mass Medical Staffing, “How A Personal Philosophy of Nursing Can Help Your Career,” March 15, 2018:


There could be an article about you here one day. Take charge of your own life-story!

Take charge of your own life-story

Request Information

More Nursing MSN & DNP Articles

Upcoming Nursing MSN & DNP events