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Realism and Relativism in the Development of Nursing as a Discipline

Hirani, Shela Akbar, Ali, MScN, RN, BScN, IBCLC; Richter, Solina, PhD, RN, DCur; Salami, Bukola, Oladunni, PhD, RN, MN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0000000000000207
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In today's era of nursing, the role of a unique disciplinary knowledge that is grounded in philosophy is essential to inform nursing practice, fill knowledge gaps, improve the quality of nursing education, and guide the theoretical development of nursing. Realism and relativism have contributed to the development of the nursing discipline by providing the basis of evidence-based nursing practice, nursing research, nursing education, and theoretical construction. This article explores the role of realism and relativism in the development of the discipline of nursing and presents their contributions to the work of nurse clinicians, nurse researchers, nurse educators, and nurse theorists.

Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Correspondence: Shela Akbar Ali Hirani, MScN, RN, BScN, IBCLC, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, AB T6G 1C9 Canada (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

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