The Mind of Nursing

Much may be said about the heart and hands of nursing, but surely it is in the mind of nursing that our greatest treasure is to be found. Through our mind we are intimately linked to the first principle of our being. We can also say that our mind, our thinking, our intellectual engagement, is the central principle of our practice as professional nurses.

In our day-to-day practice with its many pressures that demand our doing as much as possible we may not always fully appreciate that it is our thinking, that enables us to be who we are and do what we do. As we practice we might tend to overlook how nimbly our mind choreographs our myriad of sense impressions, streaming them to our imagination, memory, and reasoning power. As we engage in clinical reasoning, they provide the rich ground for our insight, understanding, knowledge, judgements, and actions. 

Sometimes we might think that we don't have a very good mind, associating thinking with struggles with term papers and examinations. Or we might think we are not intellectual: 'Oh, I'm only a C student'. Plenty of students who got a C mark or even failed a paper or course have gone on to develop their thinking to depths and heights they never imagined possible.

Our nursing mind is the wonder of our professional life. It allows us to appreciate the wonder and beauty of ourselves, one another, and the people we care for. It allows us to think critically and it alerts us with its 'intuitive grasp' when 'something's not right'. 

Thinking, intellectual engagement, is not only an ability, it is a property which we all have; potentially, actually and in abundance. There is nothing which is beyond the reach of our mind.

Therese Meehan

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