By Stephanie Black Brugger, RN, BS and Holly Evans Madison, PhD, RN
Professionals define themselves in terms of what knowledge they possess and seek to acquire. Have you ever considered how nurses add to their knowledge base? Barbara Carper (1978) identified four fundamental patterns of knowing that form the conceptual and syntactical structure of nursing knowledge. These four patterns include: personal, empirical, ethical, and aesthetic knowing. Let’s look at how these ways of knowing can assist you in your pursuit of knowledge as a nursing student.
PERSONAL knowing refers to the knowledge we have of ourselves and what we have seen and experienced. This type of knowledge comes to us through the process of observation, reflection, and self-actualization. It is through knowledge of ourselves that we are able to establish authentic, therapeutic relationships as it propels us towards wholeness and integrity (Chinn & Kramer, 2015). When you began to study nursing, what knowledge did you possess? Consider what you have learned since–in your personal life, in school, and through practice.
We gain EMPIRICAL knowledge from research and objective facts. This knowledge is systematically organized into general laws and theories. One of the ways we employ this knowledge is through the use of evidenced-based practice (EBP). This way of knowing is often referred to as the “science” of nursing (Chinn & Kramer, 2015). Can you relate how study findings have changed your nursing practice?
ETHICAL knowing helps one develop our own moral code; our sense of knowing what is right and wrong. For nurses, our personal ethics is based on our obligation to protect and respect human life. Our deliberate personal actions are guided by ethical knowing . The “Code of Ethics for Nurses” (American Nurses Association, 2015) can guide us as we develop and refine our moral code. Can you think of an occasion that you needed to make an ethical decision? If you are like many practicing nurses, you make several every single day.
The final way of knowing identified by Carper (1978) is AESTHETIC Knowing. Aesthetic knowing makes nursing an “art.” It takes all of the other ways of knowing and through it creates new understanding of a phenomena. Aesthetic knowing is that “aha” moment that we have when we uncovered something new; and just as an artist creates a painting, you are afforded the opportunity of new perspective. Consider a time when you had an “aha” moment. How did you come to that discovery?
The practice of nursing is a holistic, human discipline. The ways of knowing allow us to understand ourselves and nursing practice at a much deeper level; to appreciate nursing as both an art and a science. Consider how the ways of knowing can assist you in being a better person, a better student, and a better nurse.
American Nurses Association. (2015). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Silver Spring, MD: Author.
Chinn, P. L., & Kramer, M. K. (2015). Knowledge development in nursing theory and process (9th ed.). St. Louis, MI: Elsevier.
Carper, B. A. (1978). Fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing. ANS Advances in Nursing Science(1) 1, 13-23.
Four Fundamental Concepts of Knowing in Nursing Essay
973 Words4 Pages
There are different types of knowledge and different ways of knowing. Four fundamental concepts of knowing in nursing highlighted by Caper (1978) are empirical, personal, ethical and aesthetic. He divided knowledge into two forms which are tacit and explicit. Tacit is insights and based on experience and not easily visible and expressible, difficult to share and communicate with others which is highly personal. Empirical sources of knowledge depend upon an individual’s manner of observing and responding to events in the outside world (Higgs et al, 2004). Whereas explicit is formal and based on rationality and easily can be expressed, shared, communicate which are highly universal principles. Rationalism comes from within the individual and…show more content…
I have better understanding of change process and motivated with self confident to bring changes. My personal or tacit knowledge has leaded me to identify the needs for improving in this practice as I have sad experience with diabetes patients in my daily practice. Perhaps the tacit knowledge that lies embedded within and beneath my actions, activities and know-how, have enable me to explore, refining and theorising about my practice.
Although, I realise that empirical knowledge is vital, in reality a combination of knowledge is used to influence my practice and I believe that without all forms of knowledge being utilised my nursing practice would not be as effective as it could be. One thing I have learn, knowledge that generated through research, theorists or others does not always meets the needs of the particular practice in the field and fit the perceived needs of practitioner. Therefore as a health practitioner, I need to deconstruct and reconstruct formal theory in terms that make it more practicable and applicable.
As to date, the proposed practice has not yet been implemented but for the purposed of the dissertation, I will explore the evaluation strategy which will be eventually used to assess the effectiveness of the new service. The evaluation need to produce evidence that shows the changes has positively influenced the care of diabetes patients. The implementation of the proposed change would be