Holistic nursing to me is a practice of applying both subjective and objective patient assessment into the plan of care. Not only do we need to look at the physical condition of the patient, but also their social and environmental factors that influence their state of health. When this application process is incorporated into the patient plan of care, we are incorporating all aspects of the patient’s life that help define and create their ideal state of health. In review of several nursing theories discussed by Montgomery-Dossey and Keegan (2012), which incorporate the aspect of holistic nursing practice, I found that Jean Watson’s Theory of Transpersonal Caring was most closely linked to aspects of my current nursing practice.
Jean Watson looks at holistic nursing as an aspect of viewing each patient individually, and believes that “…the whole is greater than, and different from the, the sum of the parts” (Montgomery-Dossey & Keegan, 2013, p. 122). In further explanation, she feels that health is very much a subjective state that can disrupt one’s self harmony, and that one’s personal environment includes the social, cultural, environmental, and spiritual influences that provide the care needed to restore this harmony. In further, the nurses responsibility in restoring this harmony, involves creating an intimate, caring relationship with the patient to help identify subjective influences that help a patient restore their health and well-being. And, to truly understand and identify with patients, Watson also feels that we as nurses must understand and recognize our own environmental factors that influence our own health and well-being.
One of Watson’s ideas that personally help guide and influence my life and nursing practice is her theory on self-reflection. Watson’s view on self-reflection identifies that we as humans can enhance our worldview by identifying our personal differences, and how these personal differences help shape who we are and how we can deepen our own humanity. I feel that this type of self-reflection helps us to identify that we as humans are all different, and have different beliefs. And, understanding these different beliefs, does not make it a wrong way of viewing health, but identifies what makes the health of an individual.
Developing my holistic nursing practice or looking at who I have become as a nurse today has been a journey that has helped defined who I am today. When I look back at when I originally became a nurse over 16 years ago, I am proud of who I have become. When I finished nursing school and began my job as a new nurse I thought I had all the tools to be the best nurse I could be. I understood the nursing process, I recognized the skills needed at the bedside to be a nurse, and I felt I had great nursing documentation skills. Soon I learned that wasn’t all of what I needed.
First of all, I recognized that I was dealing with humans, and not just dealing with a disease...