the Works of Nursing Theorists
- Theory is "an internally consistent group of relational
statements (concepts, definitions and propositions) that
present a systematic view about a phenomenon and which is
useful for description, explanation, prediction and control".
- Theories provide a framework for selecting and organizing
- What to ask
- What to observe
- What to focus on
- What to think about
- Nursing theory is an organized and systematic articulation
of a set of statements related to questions in the discipline
- Define relationships among the variables of a given field
- Guide research, practice and communication
- Allow the prediction of the consequences of care
- Allow the prediction of a range of patient responses
There are four levels of theory
- Grand Theory
- Middle Range Theory
- Practice Theory
In nursing there are four types of theories:
- Enhances understanding and explanation for events
- Influence our behavior.
- Makes to think differently about a problem or a situation
- Helps to try new approaches or altering behavior.
- We can gain a new perspective of events
- Basis for challenge of its speculative tenets or
- Challenges subsequent discovery of new ideas or knowledge
that might explain and predict events not yet understood
- Assist nurses to describe, explain, and predict everyday
- Serve to guide assessment, intervention, and evaluation of
- Provide a rationale for collecting reliable and valid data
about the health status of clients.
- Help to establish criteria to measure the quality of
- Help build a common nursing terminology.
- Enhance autonomy of nursing by defining its own
- 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 specific field of
- Offer a systematic approach to identify questions for
study, select variables, interpret findings, and validate
- Theory development within nursing occurs in the context of
- Two activities contribute significantly to the overall
process of developing theory in nursing.
- Concept analysis and
- Practical validation of theory.
- Identify and verify abstract concepts
- "what events in practice can be linked with abstract
- Application of theory in practice
- Nursing process operation of analysis of assessment data.
- Used as scientific rationale supporting judgments in
nursing care plans.
- Concepts may be
- readily observable, or concrete - thermometer, rash,
- indirectly observable, or inferential - pain and
- non-observable, or abstract - equilibrium,
adaptation, stress, and powerlessness
- nursing theories address and specify relationships
among four major abstract concepts referred to as the
metaparadigm of nursing.
- Four concepts are considered to be central to nursing:
- Person or client, the recipient of nursing care
(includes individuals, families, groups, and
- Environment, the internal and external surroundings
that affect the client. This includes people in the
physical environment, such as families, friends, and
- Health, the degree of wellness or well-being that the
- Nursing, the attributes, characteristics, and actions
of the nurse providing care on behalf of, or in
conjunction with, the client.
- Phipps J Wilma, Sands K Judith. Medical Surgical Nursing:
concepts & clinical practice.6th edition. Philadelphia.
Mosby publications. 1996.
- Black M. Joice, Hawks hokanson Jane. Medical Surgical
Nursing: Clinical Management for positive outcomes. St Lois,
- Tomey AM, Alligood. MR. Nursing theorists and their work.
(5th ed.). Mosby, Philadelphia, 2002
- Alligood M.R, Tomey. A.M. Nursing theory utilization and
application. 2nd Ed. Mosby, Philadelphia, 2002.