Discussion:The Philosophy And Science Of Caring

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Discussion:The Philosophy And Science Of Caring

Discussion:The Philosophy And Science Of Caring

CHAPTER ONE NURSING: THE PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE OF CARING Revised Edition The original text begins with a discussion of nursing as the Philosophy and Science of Caring. I now ponder suggesting that today, almost thirty years later, it perhaps could equally be framed as Caring: The Philosophy and Science of Nursing. Discussions and ambiguity remain as to the nature of Caring Science and its relation to nursing science. Rhetorical questions arise, such as, are there distinct differences between the two? Do they overlap? Do they intersect? Are they one and the same? These questions perhaps remain, but the present work offers a distinct position. By transposing the order of Nursing and Caring, it invites a new discourse and context. My position is this: Caring Science as a starting point for nursing as a field of study offers a distinct disciplinary foundation for the profession; it provides an ethical, moral, values- guided meta- narrative for its science and its human phenomena, its approach to caring- healing- person- nature- universe. It reintroduces spirit and sacred dimensions back into our work and life and world. It allows for a reunion between metaphysics and the material- physical world of modern science. In positing Caring Science as the disciplinary context and matrix that guides professional development and maturity, I acknowledge that there is a difference between the discipline of nursing and the profession of nursing. It is widely known that the discipline (of any field) should inform the profession. The disciplinary matrix of Caring carries the meta- paradigm, the values, the metaphysics, the philosophical- moral meta- narrative with respect to what it means to be human, honoring unity of Being, the oneness of mind- body- spirit/ universe; the discipline offers subject matter foci and a distinct perspective on the subject matter. The profession, without clarity of its disciplinary context, loses its way in the midst of the outer- worldly changes and forces for conformity to the status quo of the moment. The discipline of nursing, from my position, is/ should be grounded in Caring Science; this, in turn, informs the profession. Caring Science informs and serves as the moral- philosophical- theoretical- foundational starting point for nursing education, patient care, research, and even administrative practices. If nursing across time had been born and matured within the consciousness and clarity of a Caring Science orientation, perhaps it would be in a very different evolved place today: a place beyond the struggles with conventional biomedical- technical science that linger still, beyond the crisis in care that haunts hospitals and systems today, beyond the critical shortage of nurses and nursing that society is experiencing at this turn in history, and beyond the noncaring communities in our life and world. Our world is increasingly struggling with wars, violence, and inhumane acts— be they human- to human, human- to- environment, or human- to- nature. In spite of an evolved cosmology for all disciplines today, including physics and basic sciences and other scientific fields, we still often find ourselves locked in outdated thinking within a separatist- material- physical world ontology and an outer- worldview as our starting point. Caring Science, in contrast, has as its starting point a relational ontology that honors the fact that we are all connected and Belong to Source— the universal spirit field of infinity (Levinas 1969)— before and after the human plane of worldly experiences. Caring Science makes more explicit that unity and connectedness exist among all things in the great circle of life: change, illness, suffering, death, and rebirth. A Caring Science orientation moves humanity closer to a moral community, closer to peaceful relationships with self– other communities– nations, states, other worlds, and time. BASIC ASSUMPTIONS OF CARING SCIENCE (ADAPTED WITH MINOR MODIFICATIONS FROM WATSON 1979: 8– 9) Caring Science is the essence of nursing and the foundational disciplinary core of the profession. Caring can be most effectively demonstrated and practiced interpersonally; however, caring consciousness can be communicated beyond/ transcends time, space, and physicality (Watson 2002a). The intersubjective human- to- human processes and connections keep alive a common sense of humanity; they teach us how to be human by identifying ourselves with others, whereby the humanity of one is reflected in the other (Watson 1985: 33).

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