Sample Reflection Paper on Nursing: My Personal Nursing Philosophy

Reflection PaperNursing

reflection paper is a type of written coursework that presents a student’s thoughts regarding a given topic. As the title itself indicates, the writing process involves deeply reflecting upon the topic to articulate the thoughts which may include ideas, insights, and even emotions. A reflection paper is often structured like an  essay . This sample presents the personal nursing philosophy that the student developed after reflecting on the roles of the nurse and the theoretical underpinning of the nursing profession.

Nurses occupy a special position within the structure of the healthcare system. Not only do nurses serve as the primary providers of care, but they also represent the largest component of the healthcare workforce (American Association of Colleges of Nursing [AACN], 2019). More than these, nurses work with individuals and populations on every level of society. They are present everywhere, from local kindergartens and health centers to national, international, and global agencies. Given the importance of nurses in the healthcare system and the life of every person, it is imperative for a nurse to view the profession as not merely a job or livelihood but as a vocation. A nurse ought to be motivated not just by the extrinsic rewards of the profession but also by the genuine desire to make a change in people’s lives (White, 2002). Nurses who seek to optimize their performance are encouraged to articulate their personal nursing philosophy. Like a beacon visible from every location, a personal nursing philosophy serves as a constant reminder to a nurse why nursing is important to them and helps them remain faithful to the basic tenets of the profession. In this paper, I seek to articulate my personal nursing philosophy. I will first discuss my belief that my roles as a nurse are to provide care, advocate for my patients, and serve as an agent of change. I will then discuss the grand nursing theory that I consider most salient to my practice.

My Philosophy: The Nurse as Care Provider, Advocate, and Change Agent

The past century has seen great changes in the role nurses play in society. From an occupation primarily tasked with providing care, nurses’ role has expanded in many ways. Nurses are now researchers, leaders, educators, and partners in the development of comprehensive health policies designed to meet the needs of diverse populations. As noted by the Institute of Medicine’s [IOM] report titled The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, nurses today are leaders in the overall healthcare system (IOM, 2011). With this in mind, I have decided to refine my personal philosophy of nursing by consolidating the nurse’s role into three important roles: as a care provider, advocate, and change agent.

Firstly, my personal philosophy holds that a nurse is fundamentally a provider of quality care. This is the oldest role of a nurse, and it is perhaps also the most enduring. Despite all the transformations the profession has gone through, it has remained at its core a source of care for those who require it. For this reason, I believe that care should be an integral part of my actions as a nurse. Whether I am directly providing health services to patients in the clinical setting, providing education to students, or performing administrative and leadership duties, my actions should always consider delivering care as part of the goals. For example, supposing that I choose to become a nurse educator in the future, I can integrate the nurse’s role as a care provider into my work by making sure that the students I train will develop competencies that enable them to provide safe, adequate, and compassionate care to patients. This way, even when I am not in direct contact with patients, my work still ensures that care is provided to them.

My philosophy also considers the nurse as an advocate. Nurses have always been advocates for patients, individuals, and groups. Whether by ensuring that a patient’s informed decisions are respected or looking out for the welfare of a population, nurses have always advanced the interests of those they serve. Important figures such as Clara Barton, who founded the American Red Cross, Margaret Sanger, who fought to make reproductive healthcare safe and accessible, and Lillian Wald, who campaigned for the rights of women and children (Clark, 2006), were all pioneers of this tradition that continues to this day. As a nurse, I want to be able to use my profession to advocate not just for people’s health but also for their rights, autonomy, and dignity. I believe that doing so is an inextricable part of my profession. For example, if I were to  plan meals for a patient with diabetes , I will make sure that I involve the patient in the process to address the patient’s unique needs and increase the chances of generating positive outcomes. On the other hand, should I find myself in a leadership position with more responsibilities such as in the case of  implementing health screening in communities or creating  intervention plans for coronary artery patients , I will make sure to collaborate with stakeholders to identify the most salient aspects of the project. Being able to identify such considerations through engagement with patients and other stakeholders is the hallmark of advocacy.

Finally, my philosophy also holds that serving as an agent of change is also fundamental to being a nurse. I consider being an advocate and being a change agent as two sides of the same coin. Whereas advocacy is about identifying and protecting the interests of patients, serving as an agent of change is about actively taking steps to promote innovation, equity, and justice. I also believe that nurses have made great strides in the past century that have enabled them to advance change in every setting or area. For example, it is not uncommon for nurses today to influence policies, lobby for legislation, and at times even hold peaceful protests in the pursuit of goals. This is why I expect that in the future I will also serve as an agent of change wherever I may be. Once I am a nurse, I will use the platforms that I will encounter to call for change. There are numerous social issues confronting society today. Some of these are especially close to nurses such as those directly or indirectly related to  public health . These include lack of access to healthcare, socioeconomic disparities, environmental injustice, and declining opportunities for education. Each and every issue that relates to individual and communal health is a chance for nurses to make a difference.

Grand Nursing Theory

Part of my personal nursing philosophy, of course, are the theories that underpin my beliefs. The 20th and 21st centuries saw the emergence of many grand and middle-range theories that relate to nurses. While many of these accepted theories is certainly useful, I have chosen for myself Florence Nightingale’s nursing theory. Also known as Environmental Theory, this theory asserts that the environment wields great influence over the health of a person. Therefore, the nurse can also utilize the environment to help a person fulfill health needs (Clark, 2006). Nightingale’s theory serves as the basis of the nursing paradigm, which features the four major concepts of health, person, environment, and nursing. These four concepts interact with each other to yield the health status of a patient. I choose this theory for its simplicity and therefore its applicability to the nursing condition. Despite the increase in sophistication, complexity, and scope of the nursing profession, the central tenet of this theory remains true. Any nurse can attest that indeed, the environment in which a patient exists affects their health in the same way the nurse’s role can influence well-being.

While I rely on Nightingale’s groundbreaking theory, I wish to extend the definition of the environment here. Instead of merely referring to the physical environment, I wish to consider the environment in all its iterations including political, social, spiritual, and economic dimensions among others. Furthermore, in the process of using the environment through my nursing competencies to address the health needs of the patient, I wish to utilize Charles Wright Mills’ sociological imagination. Sociological imagination can be defined as the ability to recognize the intricate connections between broader sociological forces and the realities of an individual’s life. Sociological imagination, for instance, allows a nurse to understand that the rising rate of obesity in children is not merely due to personal choice; instead, it is mediated by health policies, political governance, and socioeconomic conditions. As Mills succinctly states, “The sociological imagination enables us to grasp history and biography and the relations between the two within society” (Mills, 1959). With Nightingale’s theory as the basis of my philosophy and sociological imagination as my tool for concretely outlining the causation of individual and communal health issues, I will then use my role as a care provider, advocate, and agent of change to achieve desired health outcomes. To Illustrate, my understanding that poor communities are far more vulnerable to the consequences of environmental degradation will allow me to take concrete measures as an advocate and agent of change. It enables me to identify avenues through which I can influence culture and legislation in favor of environmental protection and hence protection of vulnerable populations. 


Nurses perform best when they not only possess the knowledge, skills, and practical experience in healthcare but also when they understand the underlying reasons for their profession. This is why developing a personal nursing philosophy is useful in carrying out the duties and responsibilities of a nurse. In this paper, I discussed my personal nursing philosophy by highlighting the three roles I consider as the most elemental: provider of care, advocate, and agent of change. I also identified Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory as the framework for my philosophy, which in turn I enriched by using C. Wright Mills’ concept of sociological imagination as a tool for plotting concrete relationships between nursing, health, environment, and patient. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Reflection papers are part and parcel of nursing school. But more than this project, student nurses can expect to write other papers including longer and more complex ones such as literature reviewslab reportsresearch papers, and theses among others. Because of the inherent difficulty in navigating nursing school, you may sometimes find yourself overwhelmed. When this happens, simply enlist the help of CustomEssayMeister’s professional writers. Our expert writers are more than happy to assist you in easing your academic workload.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2019). Nursing fact sheet. AACN.

Clark, S. K. (2006). Nurses then and now. Teacher Created Materials.

Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, at the Institute of Medicine. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. National Academies Press (US).

Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination. Oxford University Press.

White, K. (2002). Nursing as vocation. Nursing Ethics, 9(3), 279-290. doi:10.1191/0969733002ne510oa

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