The Heart of Nursing

The practice of nursing is both an art and a science. Yet, the individual nurse providing care is also acting from the heart.


The Heart of Nursing manifests itself in a variety of ways. As nurses, we develop relationships with patients and their families. We learn about our patients’ own interests and preferences. We develop relationships with our coworkers and fellow nursing colleagues. We step in to help our friends and families when they don’t know how to navigate the health care system. We also pour our energy into creating solutions to problems that are not receiving the appropriate attention. These are just a few of the many examples that occur each day.


To do any of the above activities requires a tremendous amount of heart. Yes, the practice of nursing requires significant intellectual capacity. We must leverage our critical thinking abilities toward the nursing process to assess, plan, implement and evaluate care for our patients. However, how that care is delivered is where we see the heart of our nurses.


I do not know if heart can be taught. (I am certain it could be argued either way). What I do know is that this trait, of giving one’s energy unconditionally for the goal of comforting and healing other human beings, appears to be inherent in most, if not all, of the nurses that I have come to know throughout my life.


As we move forward with more technological advances and efforts to increase the use of data to inform decisions and outcomes, I hope that we do not lose sight of this concept. Yes, data is important however, I can tell you that the nurse is more concerned about ensuring the patient receives personalized care. The patient and the family are concerned with feeling cared for by their nurse. The Heart of Nursing is dependent upon the heart of the individual.


Happy Valentine’s Day!