Barbara Carper Nursing Theory

Do you know how Barbara Carper is influential to nursing? Schools do not provide knowledge on all nursing dynamics in clinical settings. They cannot adequately address interactions in a multicultural setting and the interaction with different patients. Barbara Carper recognized these limitations and proposed a theoretical model on the ways of knowing essential to the nursing profession in unique settings. 

The model presents a unique way of approaching nursing. Carper conceptualized knowing as an active process whereby the nurse reflected synthesized perceptions and connected with what is known.

She noted that these would result in discovering oneself and others. Therefore, the nurse is a conscious being with the capacity to understand themselves and the environment.

Besides, it leads to the re-evaluation of central truths in the nursing profession. The model has become an integral part of nursing and continues to impact the profession. Professionals debate the relationship between the model’s freedom and the traditional strict discipline.  

Carper felt the nursing profession was limited by the profession’s emphasis on the science of nursing and science. She expresses her revelation to adopt ways of knowing as a solution to the limited reach of the strict scientific methods.  She perceived nursing as “more than science.” her conceptualization of nursing includes integrating scientific methods with “privileges personal, ethical, and aesthetic knowledge.”

Notably, her observations indicate that nurses’ experience, critical thinking, consideration of cultural and ethical perspectives are fundamental in optimizing patient care

The theory is a philosophical approach. Nursing philosophy plays a fundamental role in guiding a nurses’ approach to care and input in the discipline as nurses observe, listen and care for people. Carper notes that she designed the model as a philosophy than a theory

Her comments warn against the risks of applying her model rigidly, as done with other theories. Moreover, the flexible approach allows nurses to take a diverse adoption of the model. 

The model created a paradigm shift in nursing practice. Traditional nursing was limited by science, but the ways of knowing empowered nurses to integrate their experience.

Barbara Carper’s Contributions

Notably, her contributions made nurses recognize their experience working with patients as an invaluable asset in patient care. It appreciates the dignity and intelligence of the nurses. Endurance of the traditional model would have created a rigid profession, whereby rules limit nurse flexibility.

Dr. Ben Carson’s story illustrates the significance of ways of knowing in healthcare service delivery. Dr. Carson ‘violated’ conventional rules and regulations and performed unprecedented radical surgeries that established knowledge for future procedures. The risk and faith in the process are fundamental to nurses that meet scary situations with no scientific evidence to guide them. 

The quality of life and patient survival should guide the model’s implementation. Personal knowing includes ethics and aesthetics as a fundamental element of practice. Carper attempted to make contributions to ethics in nursing but had a breakthrough in the model.

Notably, a well-knit model includes personal, empiricist, aesthetics, and ethics tenets.  Therefore, the knowing process is achieved by integrating personal, empiricist, aesthetics, and ethical principles and discoveries. The model provides a holistic understanding of the nurse’s growth trajectory.

Nurses are faced with new healthcare environments that cause them to question and challenge published views and lead them to discover new truths. 

Nurses in clinical care find Carper’s contribution useful in solving practice dilemmas.  The model mimics the scientific process of growth and development. Science is a self-correcting discipline dependent on time, experience, and experiments.

Therefore, the practice requires freedom to practice and exercise ethical principles and rational thinking using the ways of knowing. Notably, several discoveries have occurred accidentally in the profession, showing the importance of a dynamic and flexible work environment.

The discovery of Quinine, penicillin, pap smear, smallpox vaccine, X-Rays, allergies, and Insulin was accidental. They have contributed to nursing and medicine in ways that improve quality of life and life expectancy. 

Nightingale, the renowned nursing theorist, also accidentally discovered the environment theory and its importance to patient wellness.

She was working as a nurse in the Crimean war, where she noticed that changing the bed materials and keeping the environment clean reduced death rates from other causes. Her contribution to the nursing profession could not have occurred had she not resisted conventional reasoning, societal norms, and role-allocation.

Her strength and determination to learn and practice were rewarded. She also exercised ways of knowing through an ethical approach, personal learning, studies of established knowledge, and aesthetics in observing patients. The health sector should encourage nurses to exercise intuitiveness, critical and creative thinking skills, and Carper’s ways of knowing. 

Nursing as art should receive wide promotion. Artists love their work and the thrill of practicing freely and creatively. The aesthetic concept promotes this idea of nursing as an art.

Grasping this aspect requires nurses to recognize their profession as a call and partnership in the work of modeling and to remodel patients’ wellness. Moreover, patients should leave nursing care empowered to take control of their lives.

The artists consider multiple elements in creating a portrait and integrate their experience in creating a masterpiece. Importantly, artists cannot be celebrated unless they build on their experience and identify their unique style.

Nurses are artists, but first, individuals with different conceptual frameworks and nursing philosophy; they are responsible for working on patients’ lives as a canvas, and their experience is fundamental to the process.

Carper made this feasible in nursing through the ways of knowing model, empowering nurses to exercise within the aesthetic, ethics, personal, and empiricist practice.

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