Philosophy of Nursing

A New Vision for Health Care

By Janice M. Brencick & Glenn A. Webster

Subjects: Health Care
Paperback : 9780791443804, 247 pages, November 1999
Hardcover : 9780791443798, 247 pages, November 1999

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Table of contents


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3
Universality and Singularity in Nursing Practice As Illuminated by Imaginary Discussions with Greek, Medieval, and Early Modern Philosophers

Chapter 4
Universality and Singularity in Nursing Practice As Illuminated by Imaginary Discussions with Modern and Contemporary Philosophers

Chapter 5
From Jean Watson's Theory of Caring to a Philosophy of Caring

Chapter 6
A Philosophy of Nursing

Chapter 7




Employs philosophy to help illuminate the nature of nursing and provide a holistic view of both nursing and persons.


Using the philosophical lens of universality and singularity in combination with nursing practice, Janice M. Brencick and Glenn A. Webster explore the complex relationship between science and technology, on the one hand, and the care of unique and complex individuals on the other. Through carefully crafted conversations between a nurse and many respected philosophers from Plato to Whitehead, the book reflects on spirituality, caring, and God or the One. The authors' unique perspectives—Brencick is a nursing clinician; Webster, a philosopher—provide a profound and fascinating look at the modern health care system and a new vision for health care in the twenty-first century.

Janice M. Brencick is Clinical Instructor of Nursing at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Glenn A. Webster is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Denver.


"A nurse and philosopher use a very insightful and probing approach to illuminate and understand the concept of a philosophy of nursing … The content stimulates the reader to think, at a high level, of the philosophical approach needed to guide care in an increasingly complex world of action. Books, such as this one, provide the stimulation to create improved pathways to care." — Nurse Administration Quarterly

"The authors have shown that 'pure' philosophy can illuminate nursing practice—indeed, that nursing practice needs philosophy for its self-understanding—and the book successfully brings the conceptual and experiential dimensions together." — Robert E. Innis, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

"The authors note that 'Though science is helpful in determining how to care for a patient, it is not helpful in understanding how to care about a person.' Their insight into the sense of care calls the reader to begin the process of reflecting upon nursing qua nursing and not simply as the application of knowledge from allied disciplines, such as microbiology and nutrition." — Edward M. Freeman, International Institute of Human Understanding

"Brencick and Webster have created a fundamental lens for analyzing the nature of nursing and more.…Their text is sure to be a new millennium classic for a broad spectrum of readers curious about what remains unique of a health-care professional's identity in the midst of managed-care dominated medical milieu." — Harold J. Bursztajn, MD, Harvard Medical School