The Nature Versus Nurture of Nursing

by Nursetopia on May 7, 2012

That’s just the nature of nursing.

“Nature versus nurture” is an intriguing biopsychosocial discussion. Are we are who we are – physically and behaviorally – because of nature; is it detailed in our genetic code? Or are we are who we are because of nurture; is it our experiences that shape us? Most say both.

I heard the comment, “That’s just the nature of nursing,” a few weeks ago. The commenter was referring to a negative characteristic of nursing. I wasn’t an active participant in the conversation and didn’t think much of the sentence until I finished my task and was alone with the comment, its ghostly echo crescendoing rather than fading.

I paused.

Is it actually the “nature” of nursing? Are there inherent characteristics of nursing and nurses that are unchangeable, coded into our profession and professionals? Or is it nurture? Have we shaped the culture of nursing and nurses, and in turn, been changed just as much by that nurtured culture? It’s likely both. Yes, some things are inherent in the nursing profession. However, I think more often than not, we have already nurtured our profession into what it is and isn’t and have the opportunity to do the same now and in the future.

What do you think?

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