Problems of Knowing and Knowledge Acquisition in Nursing

The article “Ways of Knowing in Nursing” is devoted to problems of knowledge and knowledge acquisition in nursing. In nursing, the process of knowing means a whole person approach based on the principle of moral values and personalized treatment of all patients. The nursing professional should develop his environment through a complex structure and analysis of the needs and demands of customers and the nature of the industry in general. In this sphere, service is a core of all activities based on customer loyalty and satisfaction (Zander). The purpose of the article is to familiarize nursing professionals with the process of knowing and explain its main factors: empirics, ethics, esthetics, and personal.

The terminology of the article was familiar to me and easy to understand. I found that the article reflects the general approach in nursing. The 21st century requires unity but not unanimity or concurrence. The agreement may or may not represent the majority. In the final analysis, staff agrees to support the decision even though employees may still disagree with some aspects of it. Many times, the agreement represents cooperation for a nursing professional. Cooperation may come after working through conflicting ideas. Individuals should not be forced to compromise their ideas just because they are tired of talking about the subject. Nurses should defend minority opinions and viewpoints and support and stimulate creative solutions (Whitehead et al 2006).

The ethical approach in nursing requires the acceptance of strict moral rules, the adjustment to new situations, and the recognition of opportunity.

Nursing is concerned with the grit of basic values and is reflected in the kinds of medical strategies chosen and decisions made. Nursing professionals can only be effective through other people, for decisions are valueless until someone does something about them. Through good nursing, the organization should help human corporate resources reach high levels of accomplishment. When evaluation becomes necessary, the entire team should participate. The team possesses more information than any one individual so the whole team is in a better position to evaluate ideas than is the nursing leader. The nursing task concerns influencing and the leadership function, team process. The ethics function has more to do with who is in charge of leading the team at a particular point and time (Zander).

I agree with the author that empirics, ethics, esthetics, and personal are all important issues in the process of knowing. Objectivity is another of the ground rules for nursing membership and is a topic in which team members should be schooled. Subordinates should be taught to act more objectively and to sort out personality issues from substantive issues. When evaluation becomes necessary, the entire team should participate. The team possesses more information than any one individual so the whole team is in a better position to evaluate ideas than is the nursing profession.

The four are interrelated, for nursing influences the activities and effectiveness of organizations through setting goals and providing direction and motivation. Also, a nursing leader must know the psychological needs of his people as well as the organizational requirements and technical aspects of marketing. He needs “the ability to understand and appraise situations involving areas in which he is not an expert and he must have the ability to get things done through people who usually know more than he does in their field. The new social environment facilitates getting things done through others.

The success of a nurse will be measured by the performance of the organization under his authority (Whitehead et al 2006). To become a catalyst for change, a nursing professional should have a clear vision and strict personal values. It grows out of the ability to innovate and overcome the limitations of traditional patterns and methods. Clear goals and high-performance expectations are at the heart of the leader’s task–independent of his or her style. If the leader sets high-performance standards, chances are that the goal will be reached. This phenomenon is known as a “self-fulfilling prophecy.” Teams that constantly expect more of themselves perform at higher levels. The nurse can help resolve conflicts, but evaluating–including rejecting or promoting ideas–is out of bounds (Whitehead et al 2006).

One of the best examples of knowing is a case described by a nurse from Cameroon. Once, she noticed that the mother and her two-year-old girl, subjected to surgery had nothing to eat because all money had gone, so she did everything possible to support an ill girl and provide them with food. This example shows that clear goals and high-performance expectations are at the heart of the nursing task–independent of his or her style. If the nursing professional sets high-performance standards, chances are that the goal will be reached. Employees that constantly expect more of themselves perform at higher levels. While actions such as refereeing, resolving, and even monitoring the staff are within bounds, a task that the nurse must not perform is to evaluate ideas.

The article shows that the field of nursing should be seen as a unique environment where “knowing” is the main tool of effective communication and caring. From the article, I learned that a nurse should be attentive to patients’ needs and care about their families and everyday needs.

Objectivity is also important. The thoughts and feelings of others cannot be accurately predicted–even in closely mixed groups. In other words, we are not good at judging what other people think of us.

References

Whitehead, D. K., Weiss, S. A., Tappen, R. M. (2006). Essentials of Nursing Leadership And Management (Essentials of Nursing Leadership & Management). F. A. Davis Company; 4 edition.

Zander, P. E. Ways of Knowing in Nursing. The Journal of Theory Construction and Testing 11 (1), 7-11.