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Is Nursing Considered an Art, a Science, or Both?

HomeEssaysNursingIs Nursing Considered an Art, a Science, or Both?
Nursing
02.04.2021
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Nursing is a noble profession that sets the aim of helping people to maintain their health and live healthy lives. That is why nurses could be the creators of healthy and favorable environments, in that case, nursing is an art. Alternatively, nurses could be the intermediaries between patients and scholars who implement the latest research findings, and, hence nursing is a science. Nursing professionals of the past and nursing researchers of the present tend to unite these two concepts and claim that nursing possesses the qualities of both art and science. Florence Nightingale’s environment theory could be considered in that regard, and the correlation of art and science can be found in this theoretical framework. Consequently, the nature of nursing is artistic due to care and interpersonal support, but it is also scientific owing to the research and evidence-based research. Thus, these aspects of the nursing profession mutually influence each other to contribute to the most successful outcome of the nursing performance.

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Artistic and Scientific Aspects of Nursing

Enthusiasm to maintain the best living conditions for a patient, as well as the observation of the processes and implementation of outcomes are the art and science of the nursing profession correspondingly. The artistic nature of nursing implies that nurses have all the tools and time to realize their inventive ideas to maintain patients’ health. Instead of canvas, brushes, and paints, nurses have a patient, his/her conditions of living, and nursing expertise and inspiration. The outcome of their artistic performance will be improved living conditions and the enhancement of health. Florence Nightingale, a prominent nurse of the past, suggested the environment theory in which she maintained the idea that nursing is both art and science (King, 2016). This perspective found its reflection in Nightingale’s claim that on the one hand, nursing is an art since nurses work with the greatest masterpieces of the world God’s or nature creation, which is a human (King, 2016, p. 1008). On the other hand, Nightingale underlined the significance of a scientific approach to practice and taught nurses to observe and learn what needs to be observed (Pirani, 2016, p. 1040). Observation and integration of the corresponding findings into practice demonstrate the scientific aspect of the nursing process. According to the theory, the success of nursing essentially relies on the principles of healthy environment such as cleanliness, light, ventilation, noise, and food intake (Pirani, 2016). While the scientific part is evident in this example: standards and policies regulate the amount of food, light brightness, significance of noise, and sanitation norms, the art implies the ability to identify the most urgent needs and address them to comfort every patient. For instance, if a patient refuses to eat, the nurse’s task would be to apply her persuasion and negotiation skills, which is an art. The role of the nurse is to provide interpersonal support, be compassionate, and change the factors in the patient’s environment, as they might negatively affect an individual’s health (King, 2016). Therefore, while there are scientific regulations for adhering to the standards of the nursing process, nurses commitment, compassion, and care are the major aspects of nursing as an art. Hence, the nursing profession combines the aspects of nursing both as an art and science, and the environment theory proves that compliance with the standards is a crucial but not the only condition of the effective nursing practice.

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The scientific side of nursing requires that nurses follow the principles of life-long learning to be aware of the recent discoveries in nursing research. Nursing is closely associated with science, research, and development since nurses use this knowledge in their routine practice. Nurses regularly update their skills and knowledge through nursing education and training programs to be aware of the latest policies and therapies (Ward, 2016). Nursing professionals must use advanced technologies that can significantly simplify nurses performance and enhance health outcomes for patients. These technologies include various diagnostic tools and facilities, as well as electronic medical records to categorize the patients health conditions and ensure timely and quality response (Ward, 2016). Therefore, the scientific side of nursing is evident, and it remains one of the two pivotal aspects in the art-science correlation.

Quantitative and qualitative research in the nursing discipline demonstrates the scientific and artistic perspectives correspondingly. According to Ward (2016), research and development is a realm where art and science unite using qualitative and quantitative factors. Quantitative studies collect data in numbers, and this allows to identify the exact expression of nursing science. Qualitative studies investigate attitudes, behaviors, and other intangible factors (Ward, 2016). Although qualitative information is more difficult to assess, and for this reason, it is regarded as more complicated in terms of analysis, the outcomes of qualitative research are crucial for effective nursing care delivery. Nursing is a rather challenging job because the health and life of a patient rely upon the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitudes of a nursing professional. Numerous difficulties with the most urgent issue of the lack of nursing staff and an increasing number of patients undermine the stability of the established framework. Thus, qualitative and quantitative interpretation of data from nursing research reflects the art and science of nursing respectively.

Care, compassion, and communication express the art of nursing, while knowledge reflects the science of the profession. According to Palos (2014), the possession of these qualities, namely, professionalism and strong commitment can be considered the art of nursing as compared to the science of nursing. Unfortunately, the lack of teaching and training instruments to educate nurses represents the main drawback of the healthcare system that degrades the science of nursing (Palos, 2014). In addition, Palos (2014) indicates that essential workloads and pressure might prevent nurses from consistent adherence to the lifelong learning principles. Lifelong learning is the precondition for the aim of achievement, with the main aim being the health of a patient. However, patient satisfaction with nursing processes relies upon the major stones of communication, compassion, and caring, so they can be regarded as crucial for the nurse’s performance (Palos, 2014). Consequently, the art of nursing depends on the quality of care and communication quality, as well as on the nurse’s ability to be compassionate. The art of nursing is an intangible asset of the nursing staff. The science of nursing ensures the medical or physical side of the nursing process through knowledge application, and for this reason, may be referred to as the tangible asset of the nursing profession.

Evidence-based practice as a scientific aspect of nursing implies the application of recent scientific discoveries and innovations to benefit from the outcomes of the nursing performance. Evidence-based research essentially contributes to the quality of nursing practice. As Ward indicates (2016), the science of nursing naturally finds it reflected in the knowledge of medical terms and procedures established through research and development and integrated into the standard protocols of care. Nurses are obliged to understand the symptoms of diseases, side effects of unhealthy conditions, treatment therapies or medicines, counterindications for certain medicines, and other important science-related aspects of nursing (Ward, 2016). This knowledge is pivotal since the proper realization of the situation will allow a nurse to make an effective decision on how to help a patient to the greatest extent. Primarily, nurses can gain this knowledge from evidence-based research. Moreover, awareness of certain aspects of drugs or procedures prescription could influence the correlation between life and death for a patient (Ward, 2016). Hence, nurses are the intermediaries who perform the role of guardian angels at the treatment stage after the doctor’s prescription. Their scientific awareness and expertise add to the success of therapy or treatment. Thus, nurses control the patient’s condition and are able to prevent a lethal outcome if a doctor forgets about the counterindications or the patient’s allergy, for instance (Ward, 2016). The lack of attentiveness of nurses can cost someone’s life. That is why an evidence-based practice that originates from lifelong learning is an obvious scientific aspect of the nursing profession. When both artistic and scientific aspects mentioned above unite ineffective nursing performance, a patient benefits most.

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Conclusion

The issue of whether nursing should be considered an art, science, or both does not seem to raise much controversy, since numerous researchers agree that it is the combination of both these pivotal frameworks. Whether these frameworks make an equal contribution to the nursing process should be assessed and considered in particular cases, since some patients may require scientific knowledge to improve their condition, while others may need personal support to boost their morale. Currently, it can be argued that scientific advances should be applied to the nursing sphere along with the intangible issues such as compassion, care, and communication. Therefore, systematized knowledge obtained through research and empirical evidence would refer to the scientific aspect of nursing, while interpersonal support and care would imply the art factor of the profession.

The environment theory maintains this assumption and claims that both the art and science of nursing should be aligned with the patient’s environment. Nurses can bring benefits to patients owing to the recent scientific researches and standard protocols of treatment. Similarly, the art of nursing is an intrinsic part of nursing performance; it offers the advantage of an environment favorable for healing. Consequently, the art and science of nursing are closely intertwined to provide patients with the most effective outcome of the nursing performance.

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