Philosophy of Nursing

The Stevenson University Nursing Program, as an integral part of its parent institution, is dedicated to the pursuit of higher learning grounded in the arts, sciences, and humanities. The philosophy and curricular focus of the SU Nursing Program emphasizes the ethic of care, critical thinking, and a spirit of inquiry in education, practice, service, and research.

The nursing faculty believes nursing is a professional discipline with academic and practice dimensions. The nursing faculty values scholarship and academic integrity and seeks to foster professional involvement and life-long learning in students and graduates. The essence of nursing is grounded in the meaning of caring. The nursing faculty believes that caring exists in authentic relationships through which all persons are respected and nurtured. Within these co-created relationships, caring opens the possibility of transformation, inviting growth, healing, and wholeness of persons, families, and communities. In the reflective practice of nursing and nursing education, a caring environment affirms diversity in ways of being and ways of knowing.

Revised and Approved by Nursing Faculty

Nursing Program Operational Concepts – Framework Components

Based on the major concepts identified in the philosophy of the Stevenson University Nursing Program, the faculty subscribes to a philosophy of caring. Faculty encourage practices of caring through interactions with patients/clients, students, and faculty. The nursing curriculum is conceptualized from an organized body of knowledge specific to the art and science of nursing.

Patient/Client: Person, Family and/or Community

Patient/Client is defined as person, family, and/or community. Person is conceptualized as a holistic being encompassing the personal, social, and physical dimensions. The dimensions are examined as follows:

  • The personal dimension illuminates the uniqueness of each person. The nursing assessment of this dimension is based upon theories of human development and communication. It is inclusive of the person’s self-concept, body image, self-awareness, and self-esteem. Assessment also involves meanings of sexuality, spirituality, and philosophical values particular to each person. Clients as persons, families, and/or communities are viewed as open systems that interact and interface with the environment.

  • The social dimension focuses on the person in the context of family and environment and includes the cultural, moral, and political realms. Assessments within this dimension identify roles and patterns of behavior that impact on health maintenance and related behaviors.

  • The biological systems form the basis of assessment within the physical dimension. These include the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, genitourinary/reproductive, integumentary, musculoskeletal, neurologic and respiratory systems. The genetic patterns of inheritance are also characteristic of the physical dimension.


Health is more than the absence of illness; because of its subjectivity, it is an illusive concept (Watson, 1989). Faculty hold the following assumptions about health: 1) Health is a dynamic process; 2) Health is determined subjectively and objectively; 3) Health is optimal functioning in body, mind, and spirit; 4) Health is integrity of self; 5) Health is a sense of wholeness; 6) Health is coping adaptively; 7) Health is a subjective experience; 8) Health is a broad concept; 9) Health is growing and becoming (Lindberg et al., 1994).


Environment is defined as all that is internal and external to the person and is characterized by the physical, spiritual, political, cultural, social, ethical, and intellectual dimensions. Individuals do not exist in isolation, but rather interact with and relate to other individuals, families, and communities within a constantly changing society. As such, they influence and are influenced by their environment. Analysis of the impact of the sociopolitical, legal, ethical, and economic dimensions on individuals, families, and communities is an important activity of the professional nurse.

Nursing: Nursing Roles

Nursing roles are always based in the context of the authentic relationship between nurse and patient/client and are identified as those of provider of care, designer/manager/coordinator of care and member of a profession. The nurse-patient/client relationship is co-created and open to the possibility of transformation, growth, healing and wholeness. Through reflective practice, the nurse acts as an advocate for individuals, families, communities and global populations. The faculty believes that the professional nurse functions in roles as s/he enters into caring relationships with patients/clients. The role of provider involves working collaboratively with patient/clients to achieve wholeness and healing. The role of designer functions as professional colleague, consultant, collaborator and evaluator. The role of manager reveals itself through advocacy, integration and communication of care. The role of coordinator of care involves leadership, activism, and outcome assessment.

In each course in the curriculum, these nursing roles are developed and demonstrated through theory content and clinical experiences/evaluation.

Nursing Process

Nursing process is applicable within the nursing curriculum. The nursing process is a problem-solving framework for all nurse-client/patient interactions. The systematic method for providing care is composed of five interrelated phases: assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. As the student progresses through the program, s/he is expected to use the nursing process in planning and providing care for clients who have increasingly complex problems in a diversity of settings.