Toward an understanding of wisdom in nursing

Susan A. Matney, Kay Avant, Nancy Staggers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


As nurses, we seek to better understand how to gain nursing 'wisdom' and apply this wisdom in our daily practice. Yet the concept and experience of 'wisdom in nursing practice' has not been well defined. This article addresses wisdom-in-action for nursing practice. We briefly describe nursing theory, review the wisdom literature as presented in various disciplines, and identify characteristics of wisdom by analyzing four models of wisdom from other disciplines. We also present the ten antecedents of wisdom and the ten characteristics of wisdom identified in our analysis of the wisdom literature, discuss and summarize these antecedents, and conclude that understanding these ten antecedents and the ten characteristics of wisdom-in-action can both help nurses demonstrate wisdom as they provide nursing care and teach new nurses the process of becoming wise in nursing practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10
JournalOnline journal of issues in nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016


  • Antecedents of wisdom
  • Characteristics of wisdom
  • Concept analysis
  • Informatics
  • Knowledge
  • Wisdom
  • Wisdom-in-action

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects


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