Nursing practice is a science that depends on a body of knowledge generated through observations, experimentation, and experience, otherwise known as nursing theories.
They are relevant for nursing practice and will most likely be tested in major nursing examinations. You will also probably write research papers, concept analysis papers, and essays on nursing theories.
Each nursing theory organizes concepts, frameworks, and philosophy that help to identify, define, and restrict what nurses do, why they do it, and how to do it.
In this ultimate guide, we will walk you through these theories. You will find information on nursing theories, including the concepts, levels, and a list of the most common nursing theories.
And although we only scratch the surface of what there is to learn about the theories, you can conduct comprehensive research on the respective theories based on the list we have provided. Finally, we wish you success in your nursing degree program; we bet that by the end of it, you will have mastered and expanded your knowledge of nursing theories.
Before anything else, let's get solid on the basics of nursing theories.
Nursing theories refer to an organized body of knowledge that defines what nursing means, nursing practice, and the purpose of nursing practice. It is a collection of models, concepts, purposes, and frameworks that guide nursing practice at a specific and concrete level. The theories are the foundation of nursing practice
The theories help define nursing as a noble, unique, and essential discipline that is distinguishable from other fields such as pharmacy, medicine, chemistry, etc.
Nursing theories also help guide and define nursing care and provide a foundation for clinical decision-making. Since nursing is a science, it often borrows some of the theories from public health and customizes them to fit the context of nursing practice, which is why we have borrowed nursing theories.
Nursing theories contain concepts, definitions, propositions, relational statements, and assumptions to explain a phenomenon of interest. A phenomenon refers to an occurrence, event, situation, or process. The concepts are labels to the phenomenon -phrases that define, identify, and establish the structure for ideas generated by a phenomenon. Propositions are used to describe the relationships between concepts. Concepts can either be abstract - mentally structured or concrete - developed through experience. Nursing theories have either theoretical (relating to the theoretical perspective of the concept) or operational definitions (stating how the concepts are measured).
The relational statements define the relationships between the concepts in theory. On the other hand, assumptions are accepted truths based on values and beliefs that explain the nature of a nursing theory's relationships, structure, purpose, definitions, and concepts. You can symbolically represent a theory through words, diagrams, or mathematical models, which become your conceptual model.
Across different professions, theories offer the foundation of practice. Nursing being a science, its entire practice is based on nursing theories. Nursing theories act as frameworks that shape the scope of nursing care and practice. It offers nurses guidelines when educating themselves, researching, and practicing care for their patients and themselves. There are many reasons why nursing theories are important:
Nursing theory, to a broader scope, helps knit together the systems, people, and settings in healthcare to influence nursing practice, capacity, and efficiency. The theories help nurses to care for themselves and their patients, interpret and address situations, and sustain nursing practice. Since nursing theories are ubiquitous, they also help standardize nursing practice, making it possible for nurses to operate anywhere in the world.
A metaparadigm is a set of ideas that offer a structure for how healthcare discipline functions.
Metaparadigms comprise concepts that address the primary issues in a discipline, which helps map out the parameter and focus of the domain in question.
The metaparadigm of nursing comprises four main concepts tied to nursing theories: person, health, environment, and nursing. These 4 concepts form a foundation for nursing practice. They interrelate or interact to ensure nurses deliver holistic care. As such, nurses can view patients as holistic and independent persons. They also serve to address the health and environments of the patients and the responsibilities/duties of nurses.
While person, health, and environment relate to the patients, the nursing concept centers on nurses. These concepts define the scope of the context and content of being a nurse. When applied to a nursing process, these concepts allow for a complete approach to patient care.
the person in a nursing metaparadigm focuses on the multiple needs of those under the care of nurses. This includes the patients, their families, and their community.
The nurses can look at the patient's emotional, social, and spiritual aspects and consider them as people with physical needs.
With the holistic view, nurses can care for the patients by emphasizing the need for patients to express their emotions, seek spiritual support, and get social support from family and friends.
The basis of this metaparadigm is that people can be empowered to manage their health when they have positive personal connections.
The health concept relates to the patient's level of wellness when receiving care. It embodies the multiple factors that go into the patient's well-being, including the spiritual, emotional, social, physical, and intellectual components and how they can be integrated to ensure maximum health outcomes.
It considers the quality of healthcare across the lifespan, as health deteriorates, and past health issues can influence different stages and present problems later.
It extends beyond physical wellness and includes the patient's emotional, mental, spiritual, and social health. It also looks at the genetic composition. Nurses should consider all the factors to ensure that they select an efficient treatment plan for the patient.
Health might have different meanings considering patients, clinical settings, and healthcare providers.
The concept of the environment relates to the surroundings that affect the patient and influence their health and wellness. The premise of this concept is that altering the environment can improve health. It includes the positive and negative conditions or situations that influence the patient and the physical environment that affects families, friends, and close companions.
The nursing component of the metaparadigm addresses what the nurses do and what they know. It focuses on their character, skills, actions, and attributes on behalf of or in cooperation with the patient. Nursing can be defined in many ways depending on the nursing scholar. It focuses on providing safe, efficient, effective, timely, accessible, purposeful, and reasonable patient care for the best outcomes.
When analyzing a nursing theory, you will realize that some will define some components of the nursing metaparadigm while leaving others irrelevant to the theory. Likewise, you will find some theories encompassing some concepts while others have them all.
Nursing theories are logical, generalizable, and consistent with everyday observations. They provide a basis for nurses to test hypotheses and guide the nursing practice. Given their importance, nursing theories can be classified into three levels depending on abstraction: grand theory, middle-range theory, and practice-level (nursing practice) theory.
Let's explore each level in-depth.
In a simple definition, grand theories are abstract, broad, and complex concepts that offer a general framework for nursing ideas relating to components such as people, environment, and health. They are primarily based on the experiences of the nursing theorists that postulate or develop them.
The grand nursing theories have the broadest scope for addressing diverse concepts and propositions that nurses are likely to encounter in their nursing practice. These theories are centered around conceptual frameworks and models for defining nursing practice in different situations and care settings and the ways of examining phenomena based on these points of view.
The grand nursing theories describe abstract nursing concepts that provide a framework for understanding nursing behavior and do not have too many details.
Examples of grand nursing theories include:
Florence Nightingale and Jean Watson are the two most popular grand theorists who have contributed to nursing theory by developing theories used in nursing practice, research, education, and administration.
The middle-range theories are more specific in focus and offer more concrete links between grand nursing theories and nursing practice. Notably, the concepts of the middle-range theories in nursing tend to be less abstract and more verifiable through testing or experimentation. In addition, these theories often describe, expound on, explain, and predict certain phenomena related to clinical practice.
Middle-range nursing theories focus on the concept and not all of the nursing, mainly including the concept's name within its title.
While the grand theories are broader and provide an overall framework for structuring ideas, the middle-range theories address narrowly defined phenomena and can be used to suggest an intervention.
Some of the most common middle-range theories include
The nursing practice theories focus on specific concepts relating to a defined patient population.
These theories are patient-centered and are often used by bedside nurses in their daily practice. They are scenario or situation-specific theories that focus on a specific patient group at a given time.
They directly influence nursing practice compared to the grand and middle-range theories. In most cases, these theories are interrelated with concepts from the middle-range and the grand theories.
The nursing discipline also uses theories other than the three primary levels of nursing theories we explored above. Mostly, these are referred to as borrowed theories because they are composed of philosophies and ideas borrowed from other fields and infused into nursing practice.
Ethical theories are used in nursing to address the dilemmas that arise during practice, which require decision-making. These theories explore the integrity and moral obligations of nurses. In addition, they address the use of technology, change in society, healthcare policies, and nursing care environments. The ethical principles in nursing include virtue ethics, principlism, deontology, and utilitarianism. Other ethical concepts that are even integrated into the nursing code of ethics provisions include justice, beneficence, autonomy, accountability, veracity, fidelity, and non-maleficence.
There are also change theories that focus on changing the nursing environment. These theories consider the drivers and resistance factors of change and how to implement change step-by-step. A typical example is Kurt Lewin's change theory of nursing. Other change theories that can be applied in nursing include:
If you are assigned a nursing essay or research paper to apply nursing theories, you can choose one below, research it further and develop the paper. Make sure to introduce the theorist, the historical context of the theory, the definition of concepts of metaparadigm or theoretical assertions, major assumptions, relationship with other theories, empirical evidence, and application of the specific theory in nursing practice, leadership/management/administration, research, or education. Whence critiquing a theory, do so based on clarity, simplicity, generality, empirical precision, and deliverable consequences.
It is wise to state that nurse theorists such as Jean Watson, Rosemary Parse, and Martha Rogers are considered new worldview theorists. In addition, Myra Levine, Dorothea Orem, and Sister Callista Roy are referred to as contemporary nursing theorists. Finally, Florence Nightingale, Virginia Henderson, Hildegard Peplau, and Joyce Travelbee are considered early nursing theorists. This information can come in handy in your revision.
Related Reading: How to write a great nursing diagnosis.
You can go through the list of nursing theory topic ideas below to develop a unique one on which you can write an entire essay or research paper. Then, if you are stuck, we can help you write a custom essay or research paper with original ideas, an organized presentation, and scholarly-based examples.
Nursing theories can help you understand the patient's ability and write a medical plan and your nursing philosophy paper.
Knowing the nursing theory to use in your paper is one thing; you can easily do that from the examples of nursing theories we shared above. However, integrating the concepts and applying the nursing theory to a research topic can be difficult for many.
NurseMyGrade team realizes that most nursing students either end up in remediation programs or spend more time and money on their education due to failure to deliver high-quality essays and research papers. We will do respective articles with nursing theories summaries.
For that sole reason, despite striving to be a top nursing student resource, we also have a team of expert nurse writers to help you write nursing papers. They can help you with nursing theory papers and case studies.
Place an order, pay for it, and get a well-researched, edited, organized, and plagiarism-free nursing paper with your preferred nursing theory. The papers are in APA or Harvard format; you will also have free access to the reference list. Place that order today.
Waste 5 Hours
Or Spend $23?