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Supporting Concepts

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The concepts that support the conceptual framework include the nursing process utilizing Gordon's Functional Health Patterns, ethical and legal decision making, cultural diversity, spirituality, and research. The professional nurse must be knowledgable with regard to these concepts in order to be able to plan developmentally appropriate care.

The nursing process is the systematic performance of five distinct steps by a professional nurse in the role of provider, coordinator, and designer/manager of care. The nursing process is scientific, dynamic, cyclical, and universally applicable. It emanates from a cognitive process based on the use of the knowledge, theory, and research from nursing science, as well as, the humanities, social, behavioral, and physical sciences. Using Gordon's Functional Health Patterns as a guideline, the nurse assesses individuals, families, groups, and communities and formulates appropriate nursing diagnoses. The nurse then establishes individualized expected outcomes, interventions to meet these outcomes, and evaluates the expected outcomes. The nursing process provides a holistic approach for delivery of nursing care in local, regional, and global healthcare practice arenas. Furthermore, it is patient-centered and serves to promote and support the patient's movement toward greater health and wellness.

Ethical and legal decision-making includes integrity and refers to performance of the professional nursing role in accordance with an appropriate code of ethics and accepted standards of practice. Ethical principles upon which to base nursing actions include autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Autonomy addresses the individual's freedom and right to make decisions regarding his/her health care. Beneficence guarantees that no intentional harm will occur when the nurse provides care to increase the quality of life. Treating all individuals equally and fairly, without discrimination, is the underlying tenant of the principle of justice. The basis for legal decision-making emanates from each state's nurse practice act, accepted standards of care, and common law.

Culture is a multidimensional factor in human development. Practices, values, beliefs, and traditions of individuals, families, groups, and communities are transmitted from one generation to another. As important as physiologic parameters, the professional nurse must assess these cultural variations and formulate care that is sensitive to preserve and respect an individual's heritage. Due to a mobile society, cultural sensitivity is critical in all healthcare settings.

Closely related to an individual's cultural issues are practices related to spiritual beliefs. An individual is affected by his/her spirituality, which is often strongly influenced by one's cultural background. Spirituality is not synonymous with an organized or specific religion. While closely related to moral and ethical development, spirituality meets the individual's need to have meaning, purpose, and hope in his/her life.

Nursing research is an organized, objective, and systematic process. It is one tool that a professional nurse uses to acquire a relevant body of knowledge upon which nursing actions are based. In addition, research supports the development of a separate and unique body of evidenced based knowledge. Clinical decisions, optimal patient outcomes, standards of practice, and health policies evolve from research-based studies that validate, refine, or propose nursing knowledge. Nursing research is a dynamic approach that demands accountability and responsibility of nurses to individuals, families, groups, and communities.


Revised: 10/6/03
Approved, Faculty Organization: 10/17/03

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supporting concepts