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Philosophy and Science in a Practice Discipline

Take a few minutes to reflect on your nursing practice, as well as your aspirations for the future. What images come to mind when you think of nursing as a profession? How does your viewpoint shift when you think of nursing as an academic discipline? What happens when you think of nursing as a science?

Embracing each of these vantage points is essential for developing a complete understanding of advanced nursing practice. Yet doing so may not be a simple task, as each one consists of different ways of thinking about nursing and utilizes distinct terminology and processes.

The guiding purpose of this course is to help you develop the awareness and skills to be able to evaluate the information, beliefs, and customs that influence nurses’ delivery of care. You will explore how science (including research, the process used to develop science), philosophy, and theory intersect, and how this knowledge can be utilized to support the highest level of nursing practice.

In alignment with a core tenet of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), a strong scientific base—which includes a sound understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of scientific thought—can help you to effectively address current and future practice issues. Therefore, this course begins with an examination of the foundations of nursing science. You will examine how science and philosophy relate to one another, and take a close look at your own philosophy of nursing.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

•Appraise the influence of philosophy of science on nursing

•Formulate a personal nursing philosophy that integrates nursing theory and philosophy of science

•Explain the interrelationship between philosophy and knowledge development in nursing

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

McEwin, M., & Wills, E. M. (2019). Theoretical basis for nursing. (5th ed.) Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.

Chapter 1, “Philosophy, Science, and Nursing”

Chapter 1 introduces the scientific and philosophical foundations of nursing and how these contribute to knowledge development within the discipline of nursing.

Gray, J.R., Grove, S.K., & Sutherland, S. (2017). Burns and Grove’s the practice of nursing research: Appraisal, synthesis, and generation of evidence (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier.

Chapter 1, “Discovering the World of Nursing Research”

Chapter 1 introduces nursing research and discusses how science, theory, and philosophy all influence research.

Chapter 2, “Evolution of Research in Building Evidence-Based Nursing Practice”

Chapter 2 reviews the history of nursing research beginning with the work of Florence Nightingale and examines the influence of nursing research today on evidence-based practice.

Moran, K., Burson, R., & Conrad, D. (2020). The doctor of nursing practice scholarly project: A framework for success (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Chapter 1, “Setting the Stage for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Scholarly Project”

•Chapter 5, “The Phenomenon of Interest”

•Chapter 6, “Developing the DNP Project”

Bluhm, R. L. (2014). The (dis)unity of nursing science. Nursing Philosophy, 15, 250-260.

This articles looks at the implications of contemporary work in philosophy of science for nursing science.

Hampton, D. C., & Robinson, R. (2018). PhD or DNP: Finding the right fit. Voice of Nursing Leadership, (March 2018), 12-13.

PHD or DNP: Finding the Right Fit, 2018, by the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE). All rights reserved.

Holmes, L. W. (2018). DNP veterans offier insights, advice. Voice of Nursing Leadership, (March 2018), 14-15.

DNP Veterans Offer Insights, Advice, 2018, by the American Organization of NurseExecutives (AONE). All rights reserved.

Rolfe, G. (2014). Rethinking reflective education: What would Dewey have done? Nurse Education Today, 34(8), 1179-1183.

This article argues that the practice of reflection in nursing must rediscover its original roots in order to meet the demands of today’s nursing education, practice, and scholarship.

Bender, M. & Elias, D. (2017). Reorienting esthetic knowing as an appropriate “object” of scientific inquiry to advance understanding of a critical pattern of nursing knowledge in practice. Advances in Nursing Science, 40(1), 24-36.

This article speaks to the esthetic knowing of nursing and how this can be applied to nursing scholarship.

Persson, J. (2010). Misconceptions of positivism and five unnecessary science theoretic mistakes they bring in their train. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 47(5), 651-661. doi:10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2009.12.009

This article discusses misconceptions of positivism and the implications of these misconceptions for nursing researchers.

Pesut, B., & Johnson, J. (2008). Reinstating the ‘Queen’: Understanding philosophical inquiry in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 61(1), 115-121. doi: 10.1111/j.1365 -2648.2007.04493.x

This article provides an analysis of the use of philosophical inquiry within nursing research. The article identifies characteristics of philosophical inquiry as well as common tools used in this methodology.

Kim, H. S. (1999). Critical reflective inquiry for knowledge development in nursing practice. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 29(5), 1205-1212.

This articles presents a method of inquiry founded upon the ideas in action science and reflective practice as a basis for developing new nursing knowledge.

Required Media

Walden Library Webinars:

Evidence-Based Health Research

Optional Resources

Connor, M.J. (2004). The practical discourse in philosophy and nursing: An exploration of linkages and shifts in the evolution of praxis. Nursing Philosophy, 5(1), 54-66. doi:10.1111/j.1466-769X.2004.00159.x

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Chou, M., & Lee, L. (2007). Initial formation of nursing philosophies following fundamental clinical practice: The experience of male nursing students. Journal of Nursing Research, 15(2), 127-137.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Effken, J. (2007). The informational basis for nursing intuition: Philosophical underpinnings. Nursing Philosophy, 8(3), 187-200.

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Mantzoukas, S., & Jasper, M. (2008). Types of nursing knowledge used to guide care of hospitalized patients. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(3), 318-326. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04587.x

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Mills, J., Chapman, Y., Bonner, A., & Francis, K. (2007). Grounded theory: A methodological spiral from positivism to postmodernism. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 58(1), 72-79. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04228.x

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Persson, J., & Sahlin, N. (2008). A philosophical account of interventions and causal representation in nursing research. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 46(4), 547-556. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2008.11.008

Note: You will access this article from the Walden Library databases.

Trochim, W. (2006). Research methods knowledge base: Positivism & post-positivism. Retrieved from http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/positvsm.php

Discussion: Philosophy and Science in a Practice Discipline

Post your responses to the Discussion based on the course requirements.

Your Discussion postings should be written in standard edited English and follow APA guidelines as closely as possible given the constraints of the online platform. Be sure to support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and additional scholarly sources as appropriate. Initial postings must be 250–350 words (not including references).