A critical analysis of the four fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing is essential for nurses to be able to grasp the complicated nature of the nursing practice. Barbara Carper (1978) lists the four patterns of knowing as: empirics, esthetics, personal knowledge, and ethics or moral knowledge (p.14). The science of nursing is called empirics and the connection of art to nursing is referred to as esthetics (Carper, 1978, p.14). These patterns are four very complex areas of nursing that every nurse must consider in order to be as successful as possible in providing care. In this evaluation the author will discuss how these concepts affect present learning and practice.
The first pattern to be discussed is the empirical science behind nursing as a profession. As technology advances with time, the need for organized data seems to increase as well. Carper elaborates,
“The term nursing science was rarely used in the literature until the late 1950s. However, since that time there has been an increasing emphasis, one might even say a sense of urgency, regarding the development of a body of empirical knowledge specific to nursing” (1978, p.14).
There is an increasing shift towards the consideration of nursing as a scientific profession. Therefore, nurses being educated today have a curriculum with a growing focus on scientific knowledge. This is important because the science behind the health of the human body is extremely complicated and dynamic.
The next pattern of knowledge in nursing is esthetics. Carper (1978) claims that nursing is at least partially an art (p. 16). Many would agree with this statement, recognizing that nursing is not all about facts and objective evidence. The problem some have with considering nursing an “art” is that the term is too broad (Carper, 1978, p.16). Each nurse has his or her own unique mode of caring for patients. It takes time and practice to develop empathy and understanding for patients, but when a nurse has mastered these traits she will provide invaluable care....