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Theories are a set of interrelated concepts that give a systematic view of a phenomenon (an observable fact or event) that is explanatory & predictive in nature. Theories are composed of concepts, definitions, models, propositions & are based on assumptions. They are derived through two principal methods; deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning. Objectives
to assess the patient condition by the various methods explained by the nursing theory to identify the needs of the patient
to demonstrate an effective communication and interaction with the patient. to select a theory for the application according to the need of the patient to apply the theory to solve the identified problems of the patient to evaluate the extent to which the process was fruitful.
Nursing theory is an organized and systematic articulation of a set of statements related to questions in the discipline of nursing. “A nursing theory is a set of concepts, definitions, relationships, and assumptions or propositions derived from nursing models or from other disciplines and project a purposive, systematic view of phenomena by designing specific inter-relationships among concepts for the purposes of describing, explaining, predicting, and /or prescribing.” Characteristics of a Useful Theory [Robert T. Croyle (2005)] A useful theory makes assumptions about a behavior, health problem, target population, or environment that are: Logical
Consistent with everyday observations
Similar to those used in previous successful programs and
Supported by past research in the same area or related ideas. Importance of nursing theories
Nursing theory aims to describe, predict and explain the phenomenon of nursing It should provide the foundations of nursing practice, help to generate further knowledge and indicate in which direction nursing should develop in the future. Theory is important because it helps us to decide what we know and what we need to know It helps to distinguish what should form the basis of practice by explicitly describing nursing.
The benefits of having a defined body of theory in nursing include better patient care, enhanced professional status for nurses, improved communication between nurses, and guidance for research and education The main exponent of nursing – caring – cannot be measured, it is vital to have the theory to analyze and explain what nurses do As medicine tries to make a move towards adopting a more multidisciplinary approach to health care, nursing continues to strive to establish a unique body of knowledge This can be seen as an attempt by the nursing profession to maintain its professional boundaries Evolution of Nursing Theories & Application
The history of professional nursing begins with Florence nightingale. Later in last century nursing began with a strong emphasis on practice. Following that came the curriculum era which addressed the questions about what the nursing students should study in order to achieve the required standard of nursing. As more and more nurses began to pursue higher degrees in nursing, there emerged the research era. Later graduate education and masters education was given much importance.
The development of the theory era was a natural outgrowth of the research era. With an increased number of researches it became obvious that the research without theory produced isolated information; however research and theory produced the nursing sciences. Within the contemporary phase there is an emphasis on theory use and theory based nursing practice and lead to the continued development of the theories. Characteristics of theories
Interrelating concepts in such a way as to create a different way of looking at a particular phenomenon. Logical in nature.
Bases for hypotheses that can be tested.
Increasing the general body of knowledge within the discipline through the research implemented to validate them. Used by the practitioners to guide and improve their practice. Consistent with other validated theories, laws, and principles but will leave open unanswered questions that need to be investigated. Purposes of theory in practice
Assist nurses to describe, explain, and predict everyday experiences. Serve to guide assessment, intervention, and evaluation of nursing care. Provide a rationale for collecting reliable and valid data about the health status of clients, which are essential for effective decision making and implementation. Help to establish criteria to measure the quality of nursing care Help build a common nursing terminology to use in communicating with other health professionals. Ideas are developed and words defined. Enhance autonomy (independence and self-governance) of nursing by defining its own independent functions. PURPOSES OF NURSING THEORIES
Assist nurses to describe, explain, and predict everyday experiences. Serve to guide assessment, interventions, and evaluation of nursing care. Provide a rationale for collecting reliable and valid data about the health status of clients, which are essential for effective decision making and implementation. Help to describe criteria to measure the quality of nursing care. Help build a common nursing terminology to use in communicating with other health professionals. Ideas are developed and words are defined.
Enhance autonomy (independence and self-governance) of nursing through defining its own independent functions. In Education:
Provide a general focus for curriculum design
Guide curricular decision making.
Offer a framework for generating knowledge and new ideas.
Assist in discovering knowledge gaps in the specific field of study. Offer a systematic approach to identify questions for study; select variables, interpret findings, and validate nursing interventions. Approaches to developing nursing theory
Borrowing conceptual frameworks from other disciplines.
Inductively looking at nursing practice to discover theories/concepts to explain phenomena. Deductively looking for the compatibility of a general nursing theory with nursing practice. Questions from practicing Nurse about using Nursing theory
Does this theory reflect nursing practice as I know it?
Will it support what I believe to be excellent nursing practice? Can this theory be considered in relation to a wide range of nursing situation? Personal Interests, Abilities and Experiences
What will it be like to think about nursing theory in nursing practice? Will my work with nursing theory be worth the effort?
If theory is expected to benefit practice, it must be developed co- operatively with people who practice nursing. People who do research and develop theories think differently about theory when they perceive the reality of practice. Theories do not provide the same type of procedural guidelines for practice as do situation- specific principles and procedures or rules. Procedural rules or principles help to standardize nursing practice and can also be useful in achieving minimum goals of quality of care. Theory is ought to improve the nursing practice.
One of the most common ways theory has been organized in practice is in the nursing process of analyzing assessment data.
A theory is a group of related concepts that propose action that guide practice. Theory refers to “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation” A nursing theory is a set of concepts, definitions, relationships, and assumptions or propositions derived from nursing models or from other disciplines and project a purposive, systematic view of phenomena by designing specific inter-relationships among concepts for the purposes of describing, explaining, predicting, and /or prescribing. Kerlinger – theories as a set of interrelated concepts that give a systematic view of a phenomenon (an observable fact or event) that is explanatory and predictive in nature. Theories are composed of concepts, definitions, models , propositions and are based on assumptions. They are derived through two principal methods:
1. Deductive reasoning
2. Inductive reasoning.
Nursing theorists use both of these methods.
Nursing theories are “attempts to describe or explain the phenomenon (process, occurrence and event) called nursing” – Barnum(1998) Theories are for professional nursing. Theory is “a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas that projects a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena” A theory makes it possible to “organize the relationship among the concepts to describe, explain, predict, and control practice” DEFINITIONS
Concepts are basically vehicles of thought that involve images. Concepts are words that describe objects , properties, or events and are basic components of theory. Types of Concepts:
Models are representations of the interaction among and between the concepts showing patterns. Models allow the concepts in nursing theory to be successfully applied to nursing practice. They provide an overview of the thinking behind the theory and may demonstrate how theory can be introduced into practice, for example, through specific methods of assessment. Propositions
Prepositions are statements that explain the relationship between the concepts. Process
Processes are series of actions, changes or functions intended to bring about a desired result . During a process one takes systemic and continuous steps to meet a goal and uses both assessments and feedback to direct actions to the goal. A particular theory or conceptual frame work directs how these actions are carried out . The delivery of nursing care within the nursing process is directed by the way specific conceptual frameworks and theories define the person (patient), the environment, health and nursing. IMPORTANCE OF NURSING THEORIES
Nursing theory aims to describe, predict and explain the phenomenon of nursing (Chinn and Jacobs1978). It should provide the foundations of nursing practice, help to generate further knowledge and indicate in which direction nursing should develop in the future (Brown 1964). Theory is important because it helps us to decide what we know and what we need to know (Parsons1949). It helps to distinguish what should form the basis of practice by explicitly describing nursing. This can be seen as an attempt by the nursing profession to maintain its professional boundaries. CHARACTERISTICS OF THEORIES
interrelate concepts in such a way as to create a different way of looking at a particular phenomenon. are logical in nature.
are the bases for hypotheses that can be tested.
increase the general body of knowledge within the discipline through the research implemented to validate them. are used by the practitioners to guide and improve their practice. are consistent with other validated theories, laws, and principles but will leave open unanswered questions that need to be investigated BASIC PROCESSES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF NURSING THEORIES
Nursing theories are often based on and influenced by broadly applicable processes and theories. Following theories are basic to many nursing concepts. A. General System Theory:
It describes how to break whole things into parts and then to learn how the parts work together in ” systems”. These concepts may be applied to different kinds of systems, e.g.. Molecules in chemistry , cultures in sociology, organs in Anatomy and health in Nursing. B. Adaptation Theory
It defines adaptation as the adjustment of living matter to other living things and to environmental conditions. Adaptation is a continuously
occurring process that effects change and involves interaction and response. Human adaptation occurs on three levels:
— the internal ( self )
— the social (others)
— and the physical ( biochemical reactions )
C. Developmental Theory
It outlines the process of growth and development of humans as orderly and predictable, beginning with conception and ending with death. The progress and behaviors of an individual within each stage are unique. The growth and development of an individual are influenced by heredity , temperament, emotional, and physical environment, life experiences and health status. COMMON CONCEPTS IN NURSING THEORIES
Four concepts common in nursing theory that influence and determine nursing practice are The person( patient)
Nursing (goals, roles, functions)
Each of these concepts is usually defined and described by a nursing theorist. Of the four concepts, the most important is that of the person. The focus of nursing is the person.
Nightingale (1860): To facilitate “the body’s reparative processes” by manipulating client’s environment Paplau 1952: Nursing is; therapeutic interpersonal process. Henderson 1955: The needs often called Henderson’s 14 basic needs Abdellah 1960: This theory focus on delivering nursing care for the whole person to meet the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs of the client and family. Orlando 1962: To Ida Orlando (1960), the client is an individual; with a need; that, when met, diminishes distress, increases adequacy, or enhances well-being. Johnson’s Theory 1968: Dorothy Johnson’s theory of nursing 1968 focuses on how the client adapts to illness and how actual or potential stress can affect the ability to adapt.
The goal of nursing to reduce stress so that; the client can move more easily through recovery. Rogers 1970: to maintain and promote health, prevent illness, and care for and rehabilitate ill and disabled client through “humanistic science of nursing” Orem1971: This is self-care deficit theory. Nursing care becomes necessary when client is unable to fulfill biological, psychological, developmental, or social needs. King 1971: To use communication to help client reestablish positive adaptation to environment. Neuman 1972: Stress reduction is goal of system model of nursing practice. Roy 1979: This adaptation model is based on the physiological, psychological, sociological and dependence-independence adaptive modes. Watson’s Theory 1979: Watson’s philosophy of caring 1979 attempts to define the outcome of nursing activity in regard to the; humanistic aspects of life. CLASSIFICATION OF NURSING THEORIES
Depending on the generalisability of their principles
Metatheory: the theory of theory. Identifies specific phenomena through abstract concepts. Grand theory: provides a conceptual framework under which the key concepts and principles of the discipline can be identified. Middle range theory: is more precise and only analyses a particular situation with a limited number of variables. Practice theory: explores one particular situation found in nursing. It identifies explicit goals and details how these goals will be achieved. School of thoughts in Nursing Theories-1950-1970
Peterson and Zderad
Theories can also be categorised as:
These theories are based around helping individuals to fulfill their physical and mental needs. Needs theories have been criticized for relying too much on the medical model of health and placing the patient in an overtly dependent position. “Interaction” theories
These theories revolve around the relationships nurses form with patients. Such theories have been criticized for largely ignoring the medical model of health and not attending to basic physical needs. “Outcome” theories
These portray the nurse as the changing force, who enables individuals to adapt to or cope with ill health (Roy 1980). Outcome theories have been criticized as too abstract and difficult to implement in practice (Aggleton and Chalmers 1988). “Humanistic” Theories:
Humanistic theories developed in response to the psychoanalytic thought that a person’s destiny was determined early in life. Humanistic theories emphasize a person’s capacity for self actualization . Humanists believes that the person contains within himself the potential for healthy and creative growth. Carl Rogers developed a person –centered model of psychotherapy that emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual. The major contribution that Rogers added to nursing practice is the understanding that each client is a unique individual, so person-centered approach now practice in Nursing. MODELS OF NURSING
A model, as an abstraction of reality, provides a way to visualize reality to simplify thinking. A conceptual model shows how various concepts are interrelated and applies theories to predict or evaluate consequences of alternative actions. A conceptual model “gives direction to the search for relevant questions about the phenomena of central interest to a discipline and suggests solutions to practical problems” Four concepts are generally considered central to the discipline of nursing: the person who receives nursing care (the patient or client); the environment (society); nursing (goals, roles, functions); and health.
Criticisms of nursing theories
To understand why nursing theory is generally neglected on the wards. A nrsing theory should have the characteristics of accessibility and clarity. It is important that the language used in the development of nursing theory be used consistently. Many nurses have not had the training or experience to deal with the abstract concepts presented by nursing theory. Majority of nurses fail to understand and apply theory to practice (Miller 1985). CONCLUSION
Theory and practice are related
To develop nursing as a profession the concept of theory must be addressed. If nursing theory does not drive the development of nursing, it will continue to develop in the footsteps of other disciplines such as medicine.