Liberal Arts Education is Valuable in the Nursing Field

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 5
Words: 1413
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College


A nurse goes above and beyond conducting diagnostic procedures, making clinical assessments, and dispensing medication in the medical profession. It concerns supporting someone while they are going through some of their most difficult situations in life through friendship and advocacy. Nurses will have the chance to attend training sessions on a particular subject in the workplace, and the majority of institutions will teach them in their science. However, these organizations will not instruct them in problem-solving techniques, social skills, or how to build their interpersonal confidence. Only a liberal arts education may provide the means to gain these competencies and abilities. It is sufficient to argue that if nursing entails the mind and the soul, it makes sense that nurses should be trained in the liberal arts since this gives them information that cannot be acquired in the professional world.


Given that it is not a prudent endeavor or relevant today, liberal arts education has recently encountered sharp criticisms. These arguments, however, ignore the view that a liberal arts education has inherent worth that outweighs other secondary considerations. The advantages of a liberal arts education are undoubtedly extensive and help every person in society. Against this backdrop, some institutions of higher learning in the U.S. have drastically cut back on or possibly eliminated humanities studies (Pasquerella, 2019). These austerity measures can be attributed to two main reasons. Firstly, the notion that the humanities are a prestige product that is only pursued by individuals who are financially stable (Pasquerella, 2019). Secondly, in a global market that is becoming more competitive, governments are effectively benefited by concentrating on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These challenges lead many to question whether liberal arts education holds any value in the world of work. For students, especially nurses, the answers to this question are pertinent given the increasing emphasis on a humanistic approach to healthcare provision in the medical field.


The value of higher education continues to grow each passing day. The U.S. is more educated than ever. According to a Walden University article, in 1955, only 2.4 million Americans were in universities and colleges; however, sixty years later, that number had risen to 19.1 million (Walden University, 2018). The value of a degree has increased exponentially over time, as 36 percent of individuals aged 25 to 29 have a bachelor’s degree or higher, which marks a 7% increase from 2000 (Walden University, 2018). Contemporary society associates a college degree with benefits such as increased income, a better way of life, and constructive social change. Students are exposed to a variety of cultures and beliefs while enrolled in college. This has been especially true in the past two years with online colleges. Online classrooms, irrespective of subject matter, are global meeting places where students from different regions come together to further their knowledge. Liberal arts education does not merely tap into this social benefit of higher education. Instead, it expands it by focusing on all aspects of human interactions with each other and the outside world.

The word “liberal arts” derives from the ancient Greek concept of a diverse education centered on the mental growth of the intellect. The Greeks’ broad education and inclusion comprised classes in language, rhetoric, logic, mathematics, geometry, and music (Themm). Modern liberal arts curricula include a wide range of majors and minors in the social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences (Themm). Liberal arts graduates can analyze and address social, economic, environmental, and political issues while being analytic and imaginative. This means that as students prepare themselves academically for a future career, they can pursue a liberal arts program, which gives them the freedom to choose from many subject options. For example, a nursing student may choose to study psychology from the social sciences. Nurses must be able to handle both the emotional and physical requirements of their patients. It is common for psychology to play an essential role in these kinds of medical situations, given the apparent closeness between patients and care providers. Thus, a liberal arts program is vital in nursing since it transcends spirituality, relationship building, creative and critical thinking, and social and cultural sensitivity.

In his book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, Fareed Zakaria asserts that the value of liberal arts education lies in its ability to give students the autonomy to study what they love. However, Zakaria expresses concerns that the younger generation of students consider liberal arts education a waste of time. Instead, they prefer to study courses that assure them employment upon completing their higher education (Shapiro, 2015). In the long term, students learn many technical and practical abilities but lack core knowledge in their respective fields. In practice, without the skills attributed to liberal arts education, most people find themselves unable to cope with work pressures. In the corporate world, this can be associated with problems such as lack of job satisfaction, while in nursing, it is more relatable to staff burnout. These problems arise because students limit their education to only those areas of study they believe will ensure their economic stability ignoring factors such as passion.

A Pew Research Center survey supports Zakaria’s views regarding today’s higher education students’ mindset. According to the study, Americans favor specialized, career-related knowledge and expertise over general cognitive advancement and individual growth when asked what a college education should entail. The majority of Americans (50%) believe that the primary goal of higher education should be to impart relevant knowledge and competencies that can be applied at work (Pew Research Center, 2021). In contrast, 35% agree that the major purpose should be to nurture students’ personal and intellectual development, and 13% think all have equal importance in higher education (Pew Research Center, 2021). This research confirms that liberal education has a bleak future in American colleges and universities.

Pericles Lewis, the Dean of Yale, consistently emphasizes why liberal education is important to students seeking to pursue careers in their respective industries. Lewis argues primarily that studying literary arts makes students more educated citizens by improving their critical thinking abilities and exercising the art of debate and compromise in the classroom (Lewis, 2017). This way, they become more capable of debating questions of public concern and reaching logical compromise or dissent with their contemporaries. Similarly legitimate and arguably more crucial to some parents and countries is the need to produce more inventive employees (Lewis, 2017). Liberal education develops attributes such as inventiveness, the capacity to “think outside the box,” and receptivity to diverse ideas, which are highly valued by modern employers (Lewis, 2017). Some types of liberal education adequately equip students for life in a diverse society by educating them about various cultures and the importance of intercultural communication.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Most individuals are questioning the liberal arts because of rising college costs and the increased need for graduates in career-ready STEM fields. Much of the discussion around postsecondary learning is about the value and return of investment. A liberal arts education aims to increase a student’s ability for critical thought and efficient knowledge analysis. For the intellect to benefit the person for a lifetime, it must be strengthened and developed to think inside throughout all domains. In summary, it suffices to say that a liberal arts education is highly valuable in the current, fast-shifting global economy, where the younger generation change careers frequently. This underscores the need to promote liberal arts education more than ever before.

Suppose you want to go to college or work in business. In that case, you require a liberal arts education to develop yourself into an all-around expert, which is more vital than specific technical training. A practitioner in this field should be proficient in ethical values, have sophisticated language skills, be compassionate, and have a historical viewpoint. You may consider enrolling in a course on the philosophy of art that embodies the depiction of the human body and a program on world literature that highlights stories about suffering and sickness.

Similarly, you can rediscover your passions with a liberal arts education as many course options are available beyond those related to your major. This may inspire you to enrol in these programs, start a new hobby, or even switch your academic focus. With a strong focus on social accountability and prospects for community participation, liberal arts scholars devote significant time to initiatives that help them comprehend the social structure of society. These reasons should be compelling enough to encourage you to enrol in a liberal arts course.


Lewis, P. (2017). Liberal Education and innovation. Pericles Lewis.

Pasquerella, L. (2019). Yes, employers do value liberal arts degrees. Harvard Business Review.

‌Pew Research Center. (2021). The value of a college education. Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends Project.

Shapiro, J. (2015). Here’s why nothing prepares you for the 21st century like a liberal arts education. Forbes.

Themm, M. (n.d.). 6 reasons why a liberal arts education is worth it. Point Loma Nazarene University.

Walden University. (2018). Is the value of a college degree greater than the cost? See what research tells us. Walden University.