Nursing Theories and their Use in Nursing.

Nursing theories were first identified by Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. They were later incorporated into nursing education.

What is a nursing theory?

Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain or recover optimal health and quality of life.

The theory is defined as “a belief, policy or procedure followed as the basis of action”.

Nursing theory is defined as a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas that project a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena.

These theories provide the foundational knowledge which guides the nurses and enables them to care efficiently for the patients. In short, they are designed to establish guidelines for the nurses regardless of the nurse specialization.

What are the uses of nursing theories?

They provide the foundation for nursing practice and are important to the care of patients. Hospitals and other health care settings ensure that these theories are incorporated into their policies. Therefore, they ensure that they provide the best nursing practice services.

These theories also aid the bedside nurses to evaluate patient care and base nursing interventions on the evaluation of the findings.

Moreover, they also help nurses in making decisions. These theories help them to make critical decisions when they face difficult situations.

Therefore, nurses should respect the theories as they are important to nurses and nursing students to understand and respect their importance and their effect on modern-day nursing and healthcare.

Who uses nursing theories?

The nurse educators and nurse researchers use most theories.

Nurse educators – They use them in designing course curriculums based on educational principles, research, and theories to provide their nursing students with the knowledge and skills needed to provide care to their patients.

Nurse researchers – They conduct guided-research in order to create best practices and to predict potential clinical problems or explain existing knowledge.

nursing theories

What is a nursing metaparadigm?

A metaparadigm is a set of theories or ideas that provide structure for how a discipline should function. They were first classified by Fawcett into four categories:

  1. Person.
  2. Environment.
  3. Health.
  4. Nursing.

Main concepts of nursing theory.

1.    Person.

This is the recipient of nursing care and may include individuals, patients, groups, families, and communities.

2.    Environment.

The environment or situation is the internal and external surroundings that affect the patient. An environment consists of the positive and negative conditions that impact the patient. Examples of the environment include:

  • Physical environment.
  • Families.
  • Healthcare setting where the patients go for treatment.
  • Friends.

3.    Health.

Health is the degree of wellness or well-being that the client experiences. However, health has different meanings to the patient, healthcare provider, and clinical setting.

4.    Nursing.

Nursing refers to the characteristics, attributes, and actions of the nurse providing care to the client.

Levels of nursing theories.

They have three categories namely:

  1. Grand-Nursing theories.
  2. Mid-range nursing theories.
  3. Nursing practice theories.

Grand-Nursing theories.

These are theories based on broad, abstract, and complex concepts. Theories at this level may both reflect and provide insights useful for practice but are not designed for empirical testing. This limits the use of this type of theory for directing, explaining, and predicting nursing in particular situations. They provide the general framework for nursing ideas pertaining to components such as people and health. These theories stem from a nurse’s own experience.

Mid-range nursing theories.

These are theories that concentrate on specific parts of nursing. They present concepts and a lower level of abstraction and guide theory-based research and nursing practice strategies. Mid-range theories are more tangible and verifiable through testing than grand nursing theories. The functions of mid-range theories consist of describing, explaining, or predicting phenomena.

Nursing practice theories.

These are theories that focus on specific concepts concerning a patient population. Nursing practice theories provide frameworks for nursing interventions and predict outcomes and the effect of nursing practice. However, they focus on a narrow aspect of a phenomenon. Hence, their capacity is limited.

Nursing models.

Nursing models are a representation of reality or a simpler way of organizing a complex phenomenon. It is a way of presenting a situation in such a way that it shows the logical terms in order to showcase the structure of the original idea.

Components of nursing modeling.

There are three main components of a nursing model namely.

  • Statement of the goal that the nurse is trying to achieve.
  • Set of beliefs and values.
  • Awareness, skills, and knowledge the nurse needs to practice.

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