A Philosophical Inquiry of Nursing Metalanguage

Date of Completion

January 2010


Philosophy of Science|Health Sciences, Nursing




This dissertation explores the metalanguage of nursing, from a metaparadigmatic or integral perspective. The principles of the study methodology, Integral Methodological Pluralism (non-exclusion, unfoldment, and enactment) serve as a framework for the presentation and synthesis of findings from three studies. The central question: What is the essence and experience of nursing? is explored from multiple angles to explore what is good, beautiful and true in nursing (intersubjective, subjective and objective perspectives). The first method, a metasynthesis of focus group reports from an emancipatory study of nurses, explored the questions: "What is it like to practice nursing?" and "What changes do nurses desire to support practice?" The second method, an integrally informed, philosophical inquiry of the nursing metaparadigm concepts, constructed a philosophy and definition of nursing influenced by the major contemporary theories and conceptual models of nursing. Finally, the third method, a qualitative content analysis of U.S. nurse practice acts, was used to describe core elements of state nurse practice. Findings of these studies are discussed through the lens of contemporary, integral philosophy to explore the essence and experience of nursing and re-define the nursing meta-language with suggestions for nursing education. ^