Aspects of the Human Journey

Aspects of the Human Journey


Aspects of the Human Journey


The modern higher education system is one that depicts a crisis in sciences and humanities as the value of liberal learning is yet to be understood fully. Implications of this are perhaps one of the greatest and dramatic shifts experienced in the history of healthcare. In order to respond to the crisis, there is need for superior and knowledgeable collaborations in all academic institutions starting from administrators to faculty members. As seen through Kidder’s Mountains beyond Mountains, integrated nursing can go into improving the design and shape of health care practice, research, education, and policy. The theory of integral nursing facilitates the development of the philosophical foundation and implementation of a worldview process. Analysis of Kidder’s text teaches that nursing students need to be aware of the four aspects of human life and have high-level understanding of how the elements make one whole view.

Aspects of the Human Journey Analysis

The four questions posed by the aspects of the human journey revolve around the derivation and explanation on what it means to have human value. The exploration is on all that is human diving deep into culture in the social, scientific, aesthetic, and philosophical contexts. According to Barber, the inquiries are based on the assumption that a profound humanizing value shapes communication, interaction, and interpretation. In detail, understanding human life necessitates the consideration of behavioral, social and natural sciences. In order for an individual to gain full understanding on what it means to be human, he or she needs to familiarize with the human experience. This is an understanding of the natural and physical environment, human interaction, social structure and the influences that each have on human behavior (Paola, Walker & Nixon, 2010). Moreover, the person needs to comprehend on the aesthetic expression that people give in their search for value and meaning.

The narrative Mountains beyond Mountains is a narration on the life of Dr. Paul Farmer as told through the eyes of the author. The chronological record converses on the life achievements of the doctor and his patients. The character is an American health practitioner who actively seeks that all individuals have access to quality health care. Born in 1959 to a hardworking father and mother in Massachusetts, Paul and his siblings identify their family with constant movement and shifts in lifestyle. Though not poor, money was constrained making the character to attend medical school on a full scholarship. Later on Paul volunteers in Haiti where his social activism begins leading to his acceptance to Harvard Medical School where he graduates with certifications on Anthropology and medicine. Paul’s main objective is to make healthcare accessible even to the impossible rural regions thus his choice of aiding in Haiti (Paola, Walker & Nixon, 2010). Through the charity that he established, Paul is associated with many aid efforts across the globe. Regions of aid are chosen according to levels of poverty and inadequacy of health care. The book traces the struggles that Paul identifies with in his establishment of quality health care in lands damaged by agricultural losses, poor finances, and political adversities. Along the journey, the character touches the life of destitute children and influences the World Health Organization in its battle against Tuberculosis.

Through Paul, Kidder highlights on the good effects of literary journalism. The author develops the central themes that all persons deserve access to decent health care and suitable living conditions. As dictated in integral nursing, care begins from the individual level and ends on the communal level (Paola, Walker & Nixon, 2010). Health care is a constant struggle that finds meaning even when only one life is changed for the good. Another theme is the ‘long defeat’. Paul struggled through his entire life to bring change that was unattainable. The theme teaches that bringing health care to all affected persons in the world is an impossible task. Equally important is the theme of the wealthy turning their backs on the less fortunate. Paul likes to work in Haiti because he is opposed to bringing change from an indirect and non-physical position. Paul is angered in his perception that if everyone did his or her job, the world would positively change.

Implications to Nursing

Mountains beyond Mountains teaches on the need of having integrated medicine in the 21st century. This refers to the combination of humanities and sciences as a function of improving service. The move improves healing knowledge and approaches as nurses are more aware of personal and cultural requirements (Barber, 2010). Modern medicine is yet to collaborate fully given the divergent cultural, social, and political differences amidst the human reality. It is rare for nursing complains suffering and pain to be listened to in health care, as more emphasis is put on the patient (Barber, 2010). Integrated nursing requires self-prioritization in health care where the nurse first addresses basic concerns before giving service. Paul’s struggle highlights the negative implications of staff burnout. Equally significant is the teaching on nurse retention as a function of increasing health care availability and quality. Following Nightingale’s legacy, integral nursing is socially active articulating human basic needs with the science and art of global health care (Barber, 2010).

Kidder’s narrative puts integral nursing as a four dimensional process with healing sitting at the core of the four elements. Healing, as a long-term process, entails knowledge the right procedures and harmonization of personal thoughts and emotions towards service (Dossey, 2008). Healing necessitates that the practitioner faces his or her fears and develop compassion, love, creativity and trust in life. The metaparadigm of healing that harmonizes the nurse, health care system, personal intent and society shapes the mental state required to perform an action (Dossey, 2008). An integral nurse has more than basic knowledge of the four dimensions fashioned through novel education practices in the system. Lastly, the life long journey means that nursing is equally an adventure where the professional constantly updates and improves on knowledge and skills respectively. The nursing dynamic makes healing in a pattern of empirical, ethical, aesthetic, social, and personal knowing. The collected information is then applied in social justice.


Farmer’s convictions to serve the less fortunate in Haiti represent the major call echoing throughout the world over integrated health care. Modern medicine is more than healing the physical state as true health care considers the psychosocial implications of treatment. At such a crisis, nursing becomes more than a profession, as nurses are required to have passion, consciousness, and intent to perform quality utilitarian healing. Health care unlike other professions is not centered on outcome gratifications but on simply doing that which is right. Victory and gratification comes in realizing positive changes within the society because of effective service.



Barber, B. (2010). Medical ethics and social change. Philadelphia: American Academy of Political and Social Science.

Dossey, B. M. (2008). Theory of integral nursing. Ans. Advances in Nursing Science, 31, 52-73.

Paola, F. A., Walker, R., & Nixon, L. L. C. (2010). Medical ethics and humanities. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

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