April 22, 2022
April 22, 2022


The concept of personhood, as defined by Schoenhofer, is a central concept of the theory of Nursing as Caring Theory.  Nursing as Caring Theory is grand nursing theory developed by Theorists Boykin and Schoenhofer that evolved from theories of Paterson and Zderad (Duffy, Donnell, & Snowden, 2014).  The ideologies of these theorists are cultivated around a care model that evaluates and defines nursing as a discipline and a profession as it relates to the patient and the nurse.

The field of nursing has progressed from a bedside profession to an advance art of discipline. The evolution of nursing from a profession to an advance discipline was made possible due to advancement, analysis, and applications of principles of medicine and philosophy. Philosophically personhood is defined as the status of being a person.  Nursing embodies this concept and adapts it to each individual meaningfully and appropriately.  Theorists Boykin and Schoenhofer developed the grand nursing theory of Nursing as Caring around the central ideas of “the between”, “the call for nursing”, ”the nursing response”, and “personhood” (Duffy, Donnell, & Snowden, 2014). These four central ideas are interconnected and offer a conceptual framework in caring for patients and enhance and afford the ability for all those involved in the nursing process the ability to be “a person”; an integral role for the nurse and patient because without this authenticity the nursing process will not be able to reach its fullest potential (Schoenherr, 2002).

The call of nursing is the initial step in the methodology of the Nursing is Caring Theory.  It is during this stage the nurse accepts the ‘call’ to nurture.  The call of the nurse is then proceeded by the ‘nurse’s response’. This nurse response is a testament to all her knowledge and experiences and the ability to translate and relate to the task at hand.  Once the nurse’s knowledge and experiences are uniquely appropriated for the environment, trust is gained from the patient and the acknowledge they are seen as a person and able to exhibit their personhood to the nurse.  Nurses must do this on a daily basis and multiple times within in the day due to the various dynamics they are faced with, different patient demographics, their caregivers, and other staff members.  When a nurse enters the environment of the patient it is where they are most vulnerable and allowed to exihibit personhood and adapt their abilities and develop their abilities to care for the patient.  It is in this raw instance of vulnerability and personhood that a nurse is able to be receptive and learn the needs of the patient and afford them the best care.

The most impactful and meaningful takeaway from Nursing as Caring Theory is that, above all else, nurses instinctively and inertly will act upon the intent to help, heal, and nurture.  Due to the ubiquitous nature of the discipline and profession of nursing, a nurse can easily adapt their nursing response to be suitable for the environment and call of nursing and appropriate to be purposeful for each individual.  This flexibility and adaptability of a nurse is a skillset that facilitates the holistic art of nursing that is conducive to learning, teaching, healing, and promoting wellness in individuals.

ReferencesDuffy, T., Donnell, A., & Snowden, A. (2014). Pioneering Theories in Nursing. Andrews UK.Schoenherr, S. O. (2002). Choosing personhood: Intentionality and the theory of nursing as caring. Holistic Nursing Practice16(4), 36-40.

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