The concept of person within the nursing metaparadigm is a fundamental aspect of nursing care. The person, also referred to as the patient or client, is the focus of the nurse’s attention and is the recipient of care. The person is viewed as a complex being with various needs, including physical, intellectual, biochemical, and psychosocial needs (McEwen & Wills, 2019). It is important to recognize that the person is an open system, meaning they are greater than the sum of their individual parts (McEwen & Wills, 2019).
Despite being a central concept in nursing, the definition of person can vary depending on the nursing theory or practice model being utilized. For example, in B. Neuman’s theory, the goal of nursing is to reduce stress, and the person is defined as the combination of interrelationships between physiological, psychological, sociocultural, developmental, and spiritual variables (McEwen & Wills, 2019). Similarly, D. Johnson’s nursing theory focuses on stress reduction and defines the person as a behavioral system with purposeful ways of behaving that connect them to their environments (McEwen & Wills, 2019).
In my own personal and professional experiences, I have encountered different definitions of what constitutes a client or patient. In my work in a pediatric cardiac ICU, the person was typically an infant with a cardiac defect. The focus of care was on meeting their complex physiological, emotional, and developmental needs. In contrast, in my current practice at a medical spa, my clients range from adolescents to the elderly, and the focus is primarily on addressing their physical appearance concerns. This shift in focus from holistic care to a more specific aspect of personhood highlights the influence of different practice settings and contexts.
Reflecting on my own nursing practice, I have observed changes in my understanding and definition of person throughout my career. In my earlier years as a nurse, I would have aligned more with Neuman’s theory, as I viewed the person not only as an individual but also as part of a broader support system. I recognized the importance of considering the person’s environment and their relationships in providing holistic care. However, in my current practice, I find that Johnson’s theory resonates more with my experiences. The clients I work with have specific concerns and needs related to their physical appearance, and the focus of care is primarily on addressing these concerns within their perceived environment.
It is important to recognize that different nursing theories and practice models offer valuable perspectives on the concept of person. Each perspective emphasizes different aspects of the person’s needs and experiences. By integrating these perspectives, nurses can provide comprehensive and individualized care that addresses the full range of the person’s needs. This integration of theories and perspectives allows for a more holistic understanding and approach to nursing care.
In conclusion, the concept of person within the nursing metaparadigm is multi-dimensional and encompasses the individual’s physical, intellectual, biochemical, and psychosocial needs. The definition of person can vary depending on the nursing theory or practice model being utilized, with different theories emphasizing different aspects of the person’s needs and experiences. In my own nursing practice, I have observed changes in my understanding and definition of person, influenced by different practice settings and contexts. Integrating multiple perspectives on personhood allows for a more holistic approach to nursing care, addressing the full range of the person’s needs.