Overview of nursing theories
• A theory is a collection of related concepts that propose actions to guide practice.

• Theory is defined as “a coherent set of general propositions used as explanation principles.”
• A nursing theory is a collection of concepts, definitions, relationships, assumptions, or propositions derived from nursing models or other disciplines that project a purposeful, systematic view of phenomena by designing specific inter-relationships between concepts for the purposes of describing, explaining, predicting, and/or prescribing.
• Kerlinger – theories are defined as a set of interconnected concepts that provide a systematic view of a phenomenon (an observable fact or event) that is both explanatory and predictive.

Theories are made up of concepts, definitions, models, and propositions, all of which are based on assumptions.

They are derived using two main methods:
1. Logical deduction
2. Logical reasoning.
• Nursing theorists employ both of these approaches.
• Nursing theories are defined as “attempts to describe or explain the phenomenon (process, occurrence, and event) known as nursing.” – Bourbon (1998)
• Theories are intended for professional nurses.
• Theory is defined as “a creative and rigorous organization of ideas that projects a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena.”
• A theory allows you to “organize the relationship among concepts in order to describe, explain, predict, and control practice.”
• Concepts o Concepts are basically thought vehicles that include images.
o Concepts are words that describe objects, properties, or events and are fundamental building blocks of theory.
o Concept types include empirical concepts, inferential concepts, and abstract concepts.
• Models o Models are representations of the interaction of concepts that show patterns.
o Models enable nursing theory concepts to be successfully applied in nursing practice.
o They provide an overview of the theory’s thinking and may demonstrate how theory can be applied in practice, such as through specific methods of assessment.
• Propositions
o Prepositions are statements that explain how two concepts are related.
• Process o A process is a series of actions, changes, or functions designed to achieve a specific result.
o During a process, systematic and continuous steps are taken to achieve a goal, and assessments and feedback are used to direct actions toward the goal.
o How these actions are carried out is guided by a specific theory or conceptual framework.
o The way specific conceptual frameworks and theories define the person (patient), the environment, health, and nursing influences how nursing care is delivered within the nursing process.
The significance of nursing theories
• Nursing theory seeks to describe, predict, and explain nursing phenomena (chinn and jacobs1978).
• It should lay the groundwork for nursing practice, contribute to the generation of new knowledge, and indicate where nursing should go in the future (brown 1964).
• Theory is significant because it assists us in determining what we know and what we need to know (parsons1949).
• By explicitly describing nursing, it helps to distinguish what should form the basis of practice; this can be seen as an attempt by the nursing profession to maintain its professional boundaries.
Theories’ characteristics
Theories: • Interrelate concepts in such a way that they create a new way of looking at a specific phenomenon.
• They are logical in nature.
• They are generalizable.
• Serve as the foundation for testable hypotheses.
• Increase the general body of knowledge within the discipline through the validation research.
• Are used to guide and improve practitioners’ practice.
• Are consistent with other validated theories, laws, and principles, but will leave unanswered questions that must be researched
Nursing theory is defined as “a creative and rigorous organization of ideas that project a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena.” Nursing theories lay the groundwork for nurses to care for their patients and guide their actions. Regardless of nursing specialization, theories are in place to establish guidelines for both broad and specific nursing practices.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, identified nursing theories that were rooted in nursing education. Nursing, according to her Environmental Theory, “ought to signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet – all at the least expense of vital power to the patient.”
Nightingale recognized the importance of a patient’s environment to their overall health and well-being by identifying potential risk factors for illness or conditions that would exacerbate an illness and potentially lead to death. As a result, healthcare professionals, including nurses, began to treat patients differently, signaling the beginning of population health and public health.

Florence Nightingale identified five environmental factors in her Environmental Theory:

Pure water and fresh air
Drainage that works
Sanitation or cleanliness
Direct sunlight or light

These factors were critical in slowing the spread of contagious diseases and lowering mortality and morbidity.

While Florence Nightingale developed the first nursing theory in 1860, it is still very relevant today. Morbidity and mortality are higher in countries that lack fresh air, clean water, efficient drainage, cleanliness or sanitation, and light or direct sunlight.
What Purposes Do Nursing Theories Serve?

Nursing theories serve as the foundation for nursing practice and are critical to patient care. Nursing theories will be consistently incorporated into academic and Magnet hospitals’ policies and procedures to ensure best-practice is used.

Most nurses and institutions will use a variety of nursing theories in their daily practice rather than just one. Most people do it unknowingly.

Nursing theories assist bedside nurses in evaluating patient care and basing nursing interventions on the findings.

The theories can also give nurses a reason to make certain decisions. A nursing theory in action can be seen in the care of a Jehovah’s Witnesses patient who does not believe in blood transfusions. While the patient may require a blood transfusion, Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care theory gives nurses a solid foundation for assisting their patients while also allowing them to express independence and control in caring for themselves. While the nurse may disagree with the patient’s decision not to receive a blood transfusion, Orem’s theory suggests that it is critical to allow the patient to make the decision and respect it as their own.

Integration of nursing theory is not always as obvious as in the preceding example. Nurses and nursing students, on the other hand, must understand and respect the significance of nursing theories and their impact on modern-day nursing and healthcare.
Who makes use of nursing theories?

While all nurses use nursing theories in their practice, regardless of position or specialty, not all nurses are aware of their implications. Most nursing theories are used by nurse educators and nurse researchers in general.

Nurse educators will use nursing theories to create course curricula that are based on educational principles, research, and theories in order to provide nursing students with the knowledge and skills they need to care for their patients.

Theory-guided research will be conducted by nurse researchers in order to develop best practices, predict potential clinical problems, and explain existing knowledge.
Metaparadigms in Nursing

Since Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory, there have been numerous nursing theories introduced, including Imogene King’s Theory of Goal and Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model. What they all have in common is that they are all centered on the nursing metaparadigm.

A metaparadigm is a collection of theories or ideas that outline how a discipline should operate. Fawcett was the first to categorize nursing metaparadigms into four distinct categories.

Nursing Personnel Environment Health

These four concepts are fundamental to all nursing theories, and the theory is incomplete unless they are identified and their relevance to the theory is demonstrated.

Furthermore, these four basic nursing metaparadigms point to a patient’s holistic care, and their medical health is linked to the four concepts.

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Nursing Theory’s Four Fundamental Concepts

Fawcett’s four distinct concepts help to define and distinguish nursing from other disciplines and professions. The context and content of the nursing profession have been defined using these four concepts. The person is the most important concept in nursing theory, but how to differentiate between them is determined by each theorist’s interpretation of the other concepts.
1. Individual

Individuals, patients, groups, families, and communities are all examples of Persons (also known as Clients or Human Beings) who receive nursing care.
2. The environment

The environment or situation is defined as the patient’s internal and external surroundings. It encompasses all positive and negative conditions that affect the patient, his or her physical environment, such as family, friends, and significant others, and the setting in which they receive their healthcare.
3. Well-being

The client’s health is defined as their level of wellness or well-being. It can mean different things to different people depending on the patient, the clinical setting, and the health care provider.
four. nursing

The characteristics, attributes, and actions of the nurse who is providing care on behalf of or in conjunction with the client.
Nursing Theory Levels

Nursing theories are classified into three levels:

Outstanding Nursing Theories
Nursing Theories in the Middle
Theories of Nursing Practice

Outstanding Nursing Theories

These are theories that are based on broad, abstract, and complex ideas. They serve as a general framework for nursing concepts relating to components such as people and health. These theories are usually based on the experience of the nurse theorist.
Theories of Mid-Range Nursing

These are theories that focus on specific aspects of nursing rather than broad concepts. They can emerge from nursing practice, research, or theories from related disciplines.
Theories of Nursing Practice

These are theories that focus even more narrowly on concepts pertaining to a specific patient population. These theories have a greater direct impact on patients than the other two types of theories. These theories are frequently applied by bedside nurses in their daily practice.
In Practice Nursing Theory

Nursing theories are used every day in practice, even when nurses are unaware of their application. Theories aid in the direction of evidence-based research, which leads to best practices and policies. These policies and procedures protect patients while providing the best possible care.

Nursing theories also enable nurses to positively influence their patients’ health and well-being beyond just caring for them at the bedside. Nursing theory-guided practice improves the quality of care provided and contributes to the advancement of the nursing profession into the twenty-first century.

Because most bedside nurses are unlikely to understand the theories underlying their practice, their utility is frequently overlooked. Advanced practice nurses, nurse scholars, nurse educators, and nurse researchers are likely to be knowledgeable about current nursing theories and their implications for the nursing profession.

Nursing theories should continue to guide nursing practice at the bedside and in academia. It enables nurses to provide current best practice care to their patients while also having an impact on them outside of the bedside. Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory was revolutionary in the 1860s, changing the course of nursing and healthcare while improving patient outcomes by identifying environmental factors that may jeopardize their health and well-being.
Nursing Theory Frequently Asked Questions

What are the major nursing theories?
All nursing theories consider the person, the environment, the health, and the nurse and are classified into three hierarchies: grand nursing theories, middle-range nursing theories, and practice level nursing theories.
What are some nursing theory examples?
The Environmental Theory, the Casey Model of Nursing, the Martha Rogers Theory, the Tidal Model, and the Cultural Care Theory are some examples of nursing theories.
What is the Casey nursing model?
The Casey Model of Nursing is a nursing model that focuses on five aspects of the child-health relationship: child, family, health, environment, and the nurse.
What exactly is Martha Rogers Theory?
The Martha Rogers Nursing Theory views people as “unitary” human beings who cannot be divided into parts and nursing as a combination of art and science.
What exactly is a nursing partnership model?
It is a patient and family-centered care system that emphasizes collaboration, education, support, communication, and collaborative practice.
What are the tidal model’s principles?
The six principles of the tidal model of nursing are: curiosity virtue, mystery investigation, respect of the person, crisis as an opportunity, possession of goals, and pursuit of elegance.

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