Philosophy and Knowledge in Nursing

According to Kim (1999), “knowledge development in nursing is obtained through descriptive, reflective, and criticizing ourselves. We strive to correct and improve ourselves and practice through self-reflection and critiquing. This develops our nursing knowledge about practices and helps us to engage in shared learning. We do this by generating models of good practice and theories of application. We reflect by looking back at ourselves and learning what has just occurred and having a self-awareness of our practices.” Kim (1999), also describes descriptive and critical phases.

During the descriptive phase, “descriptions of practice are examined for genuineness and comprehensiveness (Kim, 1999). Kim (1999), also states that “critique of practice regarding conflicts, distortions, and inconsistencies” also increase a nurse’s knowledge.

McCurry (2009), states that “nursing as a profession has a moral mandate to contribute to the good of the society through knowledge based practice. Knowledge is built upon theories and theories together with the philosophical bases and disciplinary goals are the framework for practice.” According to Grace and Perry (2013), “philosophical inquiry remains critically important for nursing education, practice, and knowledge development.

This is attained through three levels. Level I is cultivating and attitude of critical consciousness related to all nursing situations and actions. Level II is the analysis and application of philosophical perspectives to nursing problems and level III is generating new knowledge such as theories.” And according to Gillespie and Paterson, (2009), “knowledge acquisition and utilization is reflected in the use of knowing rather than knowledge.” In using our previously obtained knowledge, we can reflect in our practices and grow.


Gillespie, M., Paterson, B.L. (2009). Helping novice nurses make effective clinical decisions: the situated clinical decision-making framework. Nursing Education Perspective, 12, 164-170. Grace,P.J., Perry, D.J. (2013). Philosophical inquiry and the goals of nursing: a critical approach for

discipline, knowledge development, and action. Advances in Nursing Sciences, 2, 64-79. Kim, H.S. (1999). Critical reflective inquiry for knowledge development in nursing practice. Journal of
Advanced Nursing, 29, 1205-1212.
McCurry, M. K., Hunter-Revell, S.M, and Roy, C. (2009). Knowledge for the good of the individual and society: linking philosophy, disciplinary goals, theory, and practice. Nursing Philosophy, 11, 42-52.

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