Nursing profession is unique compared to other health care professions. The uniqueness of this profession is portrayed in the use of Carper’s Patterns of Knowing. Carper’s Pattern of Knowing is a typology that provides classification of various sources from which vital knowledge, information and beliefs in the nursing profession can be acquired. The institution of knowledge that operates as the necessary rationale for nursing profession has structures, forms and patterns that provide horizons of prospects and demonstrate characteristic ways of viewing phenomena (Zander, 2007).
The typology identifies 4 fundamental patterns of knowing that are used in the nursing profession. Understanding these key patterns is necessary in learning and teaching nursing profession. These four patterns have been designated as: (1) empirics, which is the science of nursing; (2) esthetics, which is the art of nursing; (3) personal knowledge; (4) Ethics, which is concepts of moral knowledge in nursing profession.
Ethics: The Component of Moral Knowledge in Nursing
This component guides nurses on how they should conduct themselves in their practice. It requires a person to have experimental knowledge on social values and ethical reasoning capacity. The moral knowledge that guides the ethical behavior of nurses is founded on the chief principle of obligation personified in the concepts of service to people and reverence for human life (Jackson et al, 2009).
The Component of personal Knowledge
This is vital knowledge that is acquired from empathy and self-understanding (Porter, 2010). It includes comparison and imagination of one’s self in the patient’s position. In the course of performance, nurses encounter challenging situations that require sober judgment and somehow require personal encounter with the situation. The ultimate aim in nursing profession is to achieve high standards of healthcare through offering solution to the patients in the most appropriate manner. Personal knowledge should not be applied in a manner that might subject patients to complications or lead to undesirable result. Experience gained through interacting with patients and other nursing professionals empowers nurses to have a wider personal knowledge.
Esthetic Pattern of Knowing
This involves awareness of the immediate situation relevant to nursing profession. It also includes awareness on situation and circumstances surrounding patients considering the uniqueness of the individuals. This knowledge is applicable in unique patient cases which nurses are likely to encounter in the course of their professionalism (Porter, 2010). A nurse should be sensitive to current changes and unique cases that emerge in the dynamic health care systems. The knowledge enable nurses to have clear focus on matters of obligation, what should be done right, what is wrong, persons responsibility, and resolving conflicting norms, values and principles (Archibald, 2012).
Empirics: The Science of Nursing
This is factual knowledge that is derived from science, or maybe other sources that are considered empirically verifiable. This fundamental pattern of acquiring nursing knowledge is descriptive, factual, empirical, exemplary, publicly verifiable, and discursively formulated with the aim of proving theoretical explanation (Bonis, 2009). Nurses should be well equipped with scientific knowledge that normally contains proven facts as postulated by other scientist. This knowledge provides some level of universality that is required in handling common cases in nursing profession
Carper’s Patterns of Knowing opened a new paradigm in nursing which ensures improvement on the profession once all the form of knowledge are incorporated in the nursing practice. Actually, several decades ago, nursing profession heavily relied on empirical knowledge which could not offer adequate solution to complex cases in the profession. The nursing profession involves many processes of dynamic interaction with patients and other healthcare professionals. As such, it is important to consider Carper’s Patterns of Knowing in all areas of practice.
Archibald, M. M. (2012). The holism of aesthetic knowing in nursing. Nursing Philosophy, 13(3), 179-188. doi:10.1111/j.1466-769X.2012.00542.x
Bonis, S. A. (2009). Knowing in nursing: a concept analysis. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 65(6), 1328-1341. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2008.04951.x
Jackson, J. P., Clements, P. T., Averill, J. B., & Zimbro, K. (2009). Patterns of Knowing: Proposing A Theory for Nursing Leadership. Nursing Economic$, 27(3), 149-159.
Porter, S. (2010). Fundamental Patterns of Knowing in Nursing: The Challenge of Evidence‐Based Practice. Advances in Nursing Science, 33(1), 3-14.
Zander, P. E. (2007). Ways of Knowing in Nursing: The Historical Evolution of a Concept. Journal Of Theory Construction & Testing, 11(1), 7-11.