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Keywords:

  • art of nursing;
  • concept analysis;
  • concept formation;
  • concept synthesis;
  • content analysis;
  • nursing as an art;
  • qualitative research

Abstract

Title. Concept synthesis of the art of nursing.

Aim.  The aim of this paper is to add clarity to the concept art of nursing.

Background.  Nurses have attempted to explicate the art of nursing since the time of Florence Nightingale. Despite these efforts, the concept remains obscure. A clearer conceptualization of nursing art is needed to help guide practice and research.

Method.  Fifty-nine English-language narratives (e.g. editorials, letters, anecdotes, brief items, etc.) that discuss the art of nursing were located using the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (1982–2006). Qualitative analysis and synthesis of these documents was completed using an adaptation of Walker and Avant’s concept synthesis method.

Findings.  The art of nursing consists of expert use and adaptation of empirical and metaphysical knowledge and values. It involves sensitively adapting care to meet the needs of individual patients, and in the face of uncertainty, the discretionary use of creativity. The art of nursing provides for enhanced mental and physical well-being among patients. It also results in professional satisfaction and personal growth among nurses.

Conclusion.  Results from this investigation substantiate existing knowledge related to the art of nursing. In addition, the findings extend that knowledge by more clearly identifying the antecedents, attributes and outcomes of nursing art. Specifically, the epistemological and ontological components are more clearly identified. Clarity of this type is important in terms of future development of discipline-specific practice and research.