October 6, 2018 The beginning of my nursing journey began on a non-traditional path much later in my life and it wasn’t until certain life events occurred in which I would be interested in health care. From my sister being diagnosed with cancer, to seeing family members and friends subjected to preventative illnesses, to working among health care personal at a medical spa, and finally enrolling in college to obtain the pre requisites needed to apply to the Bachelors of Nursing degree program.
I began my journey with one unfathomable desire. The desire to understand the pathophysiology of disease, and how I can be a source of knowledge, comfort, and care. That desire helped cultivate my own personal philosophy. Upon embarking on my new career path, I was unaware of the conceptual framework of theories and personal philosophies in which I would be introduced to in the nursing degree program at Pacific Lutheran University. It was at PLU where I fostered a deeper desire to learn and ultimately commit to my practice my personal philosophy statement, “Helping One Another to Live our Best Lives.
” I found my personal philosophy to be most relevant to Neuman’s Systems Model, and as the foundation to the conceptual framework for nurse resilience. Neuman’s Systems Model focuses on different stressors that eventually impact the patient, or nurse, and can either help to achieve strength, tenacity, and resilience, or it can bring upon lack of motivation, depression, failure to thrive, and more illness. This essay serves as a reflection of my own personal philosophy, in contribution to Neuman’s Systems model, and how it plays a role in nursing in society today.
Neuman’s System Model Theory was created in 1970, by Betty Neuman who was a Community Health Nurse. Her system model theory focuses on the person as a whole and how the body and mind interact to cope with stress. She suggested that certain variables, internal and external, effect the core well-being of a person thorough the element of different stages. It is within these stages, if caught early, that the patient, or nurse can adapt to stress through necessary interventional methods. “From this perspective, the goal of nursing is to reduce stressors (or the potential for stressors) through the use of primary, secondary, or tertiary prevention interventions that seek to retain, attain, or maintain an optimal wellness level for the client (Neuman, 1995). To a certain degree, having a level of resilience can be viewed as a line of defense, or used as a buffer when situations arise in the form of stressful events.
Resilience is defined as, “An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 2018). It is within this framework that Neuman’s Model can be used as a guide to support the patient and their family. Variables such as physiological, psychological, developmental, socioeconomic, cultural, and spiritual can all have influencing effects on the person (Turner and Kaylor, 2015). According to Neuman, when all of these interacting variables are aligned we are balanced and optimal wellness is achieved. The nurse must be open to these variables and provide the necessary resources that the patient may need to get through challenging situations. Such resources can include: Emotional support and advocacy, listening to understand, remaining free of judgment, education, providing choices, discharge planning, and social services. The right resources, and support system can contribute to a person’s resilience. Ultimately, this strengthens the capacity of an individual to deal with stress.
In my own personal philosophy, “Helping One Another to Live our Best Lives,” it is imperative to be able to identify stressors, as well as, risk factors. In the nursing program we are taught to assess, prior to developing a plan of action. Assessment is critical in order to obtain a foundation to help guide us to a solution. It is important for the nurse to maintain a strong inner core of resilience not only for the patient, but also for oneself. The nurse has to assess his or her own frame of mind, feelings and emotions, due to constantly working within a structure of stress, loss, and gains. The brevity of human life is constantly changing within a hospital environment and nurses are at the forefront. The goals that can be related to my philosophy and Neuman’s Model are obtained by the primary, secondary, and tertiary systems. In order for the nurse to maintain a strong sense of resilience he or she must be willing to identify the risk factors and as a primary intervention, nurses must be open and willing to communicate. “Building positive relationships is one example of ways primary interventions can play out in the work place” (Turner and Kaylor, 2015).
Building an identity is another primary intervention. Having a strong sense of identity while training in the undergraduate level helps provide me with a strengthened sense of self, and gives me a better understanding of my own personal values and beliefs. It helps me to explore not only my strengths, but also my weaknesses. Identity building, enriches and enhances my inner core and helps to increase my critical thinking skills and judgement. These attributes reinforce the resilience within myself creating a meaningful educational experience, one in which I can help others to live their own best life.
Secondary interventions incorporate seeking help whether that is from a friend, therapist, or reflecting on on ones own actions by using reflective journaling as an outlet. Being able to recognize the need for change is what Neuman described as, “viewing the stressor as a temporary problem and realizing that change must be necessary” ( Turner and Kaylor, 2015). Acknowledgment, recognition, and creating short and long term goals result in higher levels of resilience in this phase.
The last phase, called the tertiary phase occurs when the nurse or the patient readapts to the necessary changes and removes the stressor from their life. Each of these phases contribute greatly to promoting a stronger inner core, also known as, resilience. As a soon-to-be nurse I want to be able to help my patients live their best life and in doing so, encourage them to re-identify themselves to be resilient in the face of adversity, illness, disease and loss. Although, I may not be able to change everyone’s mindset, I can change mine with the development of my own personal beliefs. It is a privilege to be able to be a part of a patients most personal and intimate moments and, because of this I value and honor the commitment to positive health care experiences and outcomes. Therefore, helping others to achieve their best life is an obligation that every nurse should promote as an intrinsic motivational goal, for wellness, stability, and resilience.