Ways of Knowing in Evidenced Based Practice
To bring about a lasting change to individuals, systems and society, it is necessary to do more than add empirical knowledge. That is knowledge derived from studies. Carper’s Ways of Knowing described a holistic method of viewing knowledge to include personal, aesthetic, ethical/legal and empirical knowledge. I would add digital knowing as so much of what we understand in the world today is experienced and assimilated through the screens on our phones.
Nowhere is this more evident that in the recently passed Compassion in Dying Legislation in California with the signing letter done by our Governor Jerry Brown. Governor Brown took the time to explain his rationale for signing this very important legislation that allows a terminally ill individual to ask their physician for a prescription to end their life.
The legislation exists in several other states and is supported by the majority of the population in the United States and in the world.
Using empirical knowing- data only, is not enough to understand this important issue. Personal experience, ethical standards, customs, laws and the aesthetics of one’s life and death are all a part of the decision to end one’s life when a terminal disease is present.
There are many other issues that also require this approach: those parents who decide not to vaccinate their children, those who withhold treatment from children with curable diseases and many more.
Through viewing all situations holisitically nurses can help patients determine the best course of action for themselves and those they care for.