Empiricism and Nursing Praxis, Essay Example

Science can be considered a process of knowing and challenging ideas or theories, as well as investigating or exploring theories.  Historically, science has been directed by empiricists.  Empiricists use logic to address problems through observations or laws, in which they can contest and dismiss.  Therefore, traditionally, empiricists ignored any inquiries into nursing because it was not logical within scientific parameters; however, with the emergence of technology, such as computer databases, nursing science resulted in new methods for analyzing data.  With this advancement the theory of nursing knowledge and practice developed into what is known as the Theory of Nursing Knowledge/Wisdom and Nursing Praxis.   (Kalofissudis, 2007)

An example of implementing the Theory of Nursing Knowledge and Praxis was observed in study conducted by McAndrew and Warner (2005) in order to help mental health practitioners understand and respond more efficiently and effectively to cases involving women who self-harm.  In this case, the study emphasized the need for methodology using empiricism, experience with existing knowledge, and cultural knowledge in regard to women.   The purpose of the study was to implement the idea of using a psychoanalytic theory as an alternative to helping women who use self harm without automatically labeling the patient with a psychiatric diagnosis.  Traditionally, a patient performing self-harm was correlated with a borderline personality disorder; however, there is much debate on the link between self-harm and borderline personality disorder because other factors, such as traumatic experiences or social experiences are not considered.  Therefore, using an analytical approach with empiricisms thinking can help health practitioners understand and treat patients more effectively.  (McAndrew and Waner, 2005)

Empirical influence is important in the development of nursing praxis and further research is necessary in order to transition nurses into applying their knowledge of nursing and using an empirical scientific approach.  The most likely efficient approach would be directly using these approaches while taking care and diagnosing patients.


Kalofissudis, I. RN, MBA, MSc.  (2007 ).  The Theory of Nursing Knowledge.  Health Science Journal. 4:4.  http://www.hsj.gr/volume1/issue4/editorialkalof.pdf

McAndrew, S. and Warne, T.  (2005).  Cutting across boundaries: A case study using  feminist praxis to understand the meanings of self-harm. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing. 14, 172–180