The four concepts of knowing in nursing theory include empirical knowledge, personal knowledge, aesthetic knowledge and ethical knowledge.
- This concept refers to the scientific essentials needed for nursing. It is widely known as 'the science of nursing' and it is the knowledge that is necessary to perform the job correctly. It is important that this concept is known and adhered to, and this can be done through learning from research and objective experiences.
- This form of knowledge will give nurses the ability to relate to the patient they are dealing with as they would have had first-hand experience with others. Having this personal knowledge ensures that the nurse can treat each patient individually and in a way that suits them and makes them feel comfortable. It is also important because then the nurse can empathize with their patient's needs and feelings.
- This type of knowledge is based on intuition and very much focuses on the ability to decipher a patient's unique qualities. This concept is based mainly on being able to respond with understanding and compassion to their patients as well as help family or friends of the patient deal with what is happening. It is commonly known as the 'art of nursing'.
- This form of knowledge refers to the ability to do the right thing in terms of legal, social and moral issues. Some of the time nurses may be put in a position when there is no clear answer, therefore they will have to draw on their knowledge of doing the right thing in the past. It is all about judging a situation and working in a professional manner with ethical standards.