List Of Nursing Theories and Theorists – Summary of Nursing Theories and Understanding Nursing Models

Nursing Theories
Nursing Theories

Nursing theories consist of coherent groups of broad propositions used as fundamental principles of explanation, are derived from existing conceptual frameworks, and are classified based on scope and purpose. Here’s a summary of nursing theories and models commonly applied in contemporary practice.

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Nursing theories and theorists

At the heart of professional nursing lies a rich history of theories and theorists who have paved the way for modern nursing.

When we define nursing, we talk about more than just the essential care provided by a nurse; we delve into a complex system of nursing theories that shape every aspect of nursing practice.

The journey from the first nursing theory to the comprehensive frameworks that now guide nursing education and interventions demonstrates the evolution of thinking within this vital discipline.

  • These frameworks, or grand nursing theories, provide nurses with broad perspectives on patient care. In contrast, middle-range nursing theories address more specific situations and relationships, such as nurse and patient interactions.
  • The nursing meta paradigm, which includes person, Health, environment, and nursing, reflects how diverse yet coherent the field has become.
  • It encapsulates crucial concepts in modern nursing and inspires continuous improvement in care through research and practice.

Renowned nurse theorist Virginia Henderson’s ’21 Nursing Problems’ is a seminal work defining the scope of providing comprehensive nursing care.

Meanwhile, transcultural nursing pioneers like Madeleine Leininger emphasize the importance of cultural competency across various patient demographics.

These contributions advance the profession and inspire countless nursing students eager to contribute to this ever-evolving field.

Specific nursing theories also serve as cornerstones within educational curricula for those pursuing a healthcare career. From rigorous study in a nursing program to hands-on experiences guided by practice-level nursing theories, aspiring nurses learn to integrate theoretical knowledge with clinical application.

However, fundamental to all these is the nursing model. This conceptual framework intertwines all aspects, from defining care plans to implementing effective interventions that address patients’ individual needs based on their unique conditions.

Incorporating these elements equips nurses to meet complex challenges within the healthcare system and makes visible the intrinsic value of a comprehensive theory in everyday practice.

As we advance into an era of enriched research and dynamic clinical demands, Virginia Henderson’s nursing need theory highlights the importance of addressing psychological and physiological needs.

Nursing theories help guide educators and practitioners as they endeavor to meet these needs with empathy, skill, and understanding.

Main concepts of nursing theory

  • Philosophy of Science in Nursing: “Examining nursing concepts, theories, laws, and aims as they relate to nursing practice.
  • Concept: a word or phrase that captures the essence of something; definition or description of the idea is one proposition; the building blocks of theory; Image or symbolic representation of an abstract concept: for example, cup, chair, rain, intelligence, presence, caring, pain, weight, self-concept, self-esteem.
  • Conceptual definition: general meaning based on the theory— similar to a dictionary definition. These are important to compare the results of other studies of the same concept. If the definitions of the concept differ from study to study, there is no quantitative way to summarize the data regarding that concept.
  • Operational definition: defines the specific direction of how a concept is measured. How an idea is measured in the study may be indicated by the words as evidenced by or as measured by
  • Conceptual model: Very abstract and general works that lead to theory development and can guide research and practice; enable nurses to view the world from a unique perspective. Diagrams are typically used to show themes and link concepts through symbols.
  • Praxis: “The planned, deliberate, and thoughtful creation of a plan of action to achieve a set goal” (Polifroni, 2015, p. 11). Practice, action, or practical application of theory.
  • Theory: A worldview; Representation of reality whose purpose is to describe, explain, and predict phenomena of interest; Set of interrelated constructs [concepts], definitions, and propositions which specify the relationships; made up of ideas and propositions about a phenomenon of interest; Diverse works from a theorist’s point of view;

Theories range from “very abstract and general conceptual models to less abstract and general grand theories, to relatively concrete and specific middle-range theories, to very concrete and specific narrow-range, situation-specific theories” (Fawcett, 2013, p. 593).

Theories are derived from conceptual models. Theories are NEVER proved, only tested: Research strengthens, refutes, or refines the theory tested.

  • Nursing theory is a well-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 other disciplines.
  • It projects a purposive, systematic view of phenomena by designing specific inter-relationships among concepts for describing, explaining, predicting, and prescribing.

The main concepts of nursing theory can broadly be classified into three categories:

  1. The Four Metaparadigms of Nursing
  2. Grand Nursing Theories:
  3. Middle-Range Nursing Theories:

Nursing Metaparadigm

Metaparadigms: “a set of concepts and propositions that sets forth the phenomena with which a discipline is concerned.

A metaparadigm is the most general statement of a discipline and functions as a framework in which the more restricted structures of conceptual models develop” (Miller-Keane Dictionary, 2003); “The concepts that identify the phenomena of central interest to a discipline; the propositions that describe those concepts and their relationships to each other” (Farlex Dictionary, 2009).

The main concepts within most nursing theories include the four significant meta paradigms: Person, Health, Environment, and Nursing.

  1. Person: This meta paradigm focuses on the individual receiving care. It considers the individual’s biological, psychological, sociocultural, spiritual, and cognitive aspects. A person is viewed as unique with intrinsic worth and dignity, each with individual experiences and responses to Health and illness.
  2. Health: Different nursing theories may define Health in varied ways, but it generally encompasses the overall wellness of a person, including physical, mental, and social well-being. It is not simply the absence of illness or infirmity but a dynamic state of overall wellness.
  3. Environment refers to the surroundings or context within which care is delivered. It includes any external factors that can potentially affect the person’s Health. These factors can be physical (like cleanliness or temperature), social (like cultural norms or family support), or even policy-related (like healthcare laws).
  4. Nursing: This paradigm revolves around the actual nursing practice – what nurses do, their roles, actions, behaviors, and patient interactions. It describes the essence of nursing and its care provision that promotes Health, prevents illness, facilitates healing, and helps patients cope with illness or end-of-life considerations.

Additionally, nursing theories often talk about other important concepts, such as:

  • Adaptation: Nurses assist individuals in adapting to changes in physiological processes, self-concept, role function, and interdependent relationships during Health and illness.
  • Caring: Many theories emphasize caring as fundamental to nursing practice – acts that convey concern, empathy, and patient support.
  • Communication: Effective communication skills are essential for nurses to accurately assess patients’ needs and provide appropriate care.
  • Nursing Process: A systematic methodological approach to planning and providing individualized patient care based on assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation/intervention, and evaluation.

Each theorist defines the metaparadigms according to their worldview. For example, Orem’s definition of the nursing metaparadigm differs from Martha Rogers’ or Sister Callista Roy’s definitions. Orem defines the Person metaparadigm as “an integrated whole,” Martha Rogers as “an energy field,” and Roy as a “biopsychosocial being. )

ypes of Nursing Theories

Nursing is steeped in rich scholarly tradition, with nursing theories forming the backbone of clinical practice. These theories offer frameworks that inform the training and education in the nursing field and contribute to the advancement of nursing knowledge.

Nursing theories are typically organized into three levels: grand nursing theories, middle-range theories, and practice-level or situation-specific theories. Grand nursing theories are broad in scope and provide overall frameworks for nursing ideas. In contrast, middle-range theories may address specific areas of nursing, being less abstract than the grand theories. Practice-level theories are the most concrete and are often formulated to guide interventions within a particular nursing practice field.

Florence Nightingale, often cited as the founder of modern nursing, introduced the first nursing theory, emphasizing the importance of a healing environment. This paved the way for countless other nursing theorists who have shaped our understanding of practical nursing care.

  • One such theory is Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory. This framework stated that nursing “ought to signify” assisting individuals in their self-care activities to maintain Health. Orem’s model is a prime example of how nursing models can formulate an effective nursing care plan.
  • Another significant contribution is Faye Abdellah’s “21 Nursing Problems Theory,” which underlines a patient-centered approach to nursing and sets a precedent for incorporating a rigorous assessment process as part of the broader nursing process theory.
  • Nursing models like Betty Neuman’s System Model of Nursing reflect on patient well-being by considering various environmental stressors and the body’s reaction to them – emphasizing holistic health nursing.
  • Middle-range theories, such as Casey’s Model of Nursing—are vital in guiding nurses through levels of development, offering insights into the proficiency and competency gained through experience in different nursing roles.

These varied nursing theories help direct education in settings such as nursing schools, where theoretical work informs clinical practice and classroom learning.

Theories can also provide a systematic approach to understanding complex patient conditions – they are situation-specific tools valuable in creating coherent strategies that result in quality patient care.

Moreover, this theoretical work helps distinguish the unique contribution that nurses make to healthcare services and emphasizes why our collective value system should regard these perspectives with high esteem – acknowledging that practical nurse theorist work brings clarity to theoretical constructs surrounding critical concepts like health promotion, disease prevention, and rehabilitation which are central to impactful health nursing interventions meaningful interpretation) to provide theory-based implications for practice.

Levels of Nursing Theories

Nursing theories are vital to nursing, providing a foundation for patient care and guiding the nursing process. They are organized into three levels of nursing theories: grand, middle-range, and practice-level.

Grand Nursing Theories

Grand nursing theories are broad and complex, offering a comprehensive perspective on nursing. They are often philosophical and highly abstract, addressing the fundamental principles that apply across various situations.

Grand nursing theories are the most abstract of the three nursing theories, including middle-range and practice-level nursing theories. They aim to provide frameworks for nursing ideas, concepts, and principles related to the entire field of nursing.

An example of a grand nursing theory is Florence Nightingale’s environmental theory, wherein she stated that nursing “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 is often regarded as the founder of modern nursing.

Here is a list of Grand nursing theories with summaries for each:

  1. General Systems Theory – Imogene King: – This theory is based on the concept that an individual’s personal, interpersonal, and social systems interact dynamically with their Health. It emphasizes goal setting by the nurse and patient as they work together to ensure the patient reaches their optimal level of wellness.
  2. Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory – Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain: This theory posits that nursing care should be based on the uniqueness of the individual. The nurse should model behaviors that encourage positive interactions to promote Health.
  3. Transcultural Nursing (formerly Culture-Care) – Madeleine Leininger: This theory focuses on caring and cultural factors influencing the patient’s Health and well-being. Nurses are encouraged to provide culturally respectful care that aligns with the patient’s traditions and practices.
  4. Conservation Model – Myra Estrine Levine: The theory focuses on conserving or preserving energy, integrity, and personal and social functioning. The model guides nurses to help clients conserve their power to promote healing.
  5. Health as Expanding Consciousness – Margaret Newman: This theory suggests that every individual exists in a reality made up of interactions with the environment and that Health is the expansion of consciousness.
  6. Nursing Process Theory – Ida Jean Orlando: Orlando’s theory revolves around the interaction between nurses and patients, emphasizing action based on observation. The key component is identifying the patient’s immediate need for help through nurse-patient interaction.
  7. Theory of Human Becoming – Rosemarie Rizzo Parse: Parse’s theory focuses on man being free to choose fate, leading them to transcendence. It emphasizes the personal interpretation of life events rather than the events themselves.
  8. Humanistic Nursing – Josephine Paterson and Loretta Zderad: This approach considers both the nurse’s and the patient’s experiences. The relational dialogue between nurse and patient promotes healing, where both grow through the experience.
  9. Interpersonal Relations Model – Hildegard E Peplau: Peplau’s model highlights the interpersonal process between nurses and patients, which involves four phases: orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution.
  10. Science of Unitary Human Beings – Martha E Rogers: Rogers’ model views individuals as whole beings who cannot be divided into parts but have to be studied in their entire context. It emphasizes a unified interaction with their environment.
  11. Roy Adaptation Model – Sister Callista Roy: This conceptual model lays out a framework for nursing practice by seeing an individual as an adaptive system affected by internal biological mechanisms and external environmental factors.
  12. Philosophy and Theory of Transpersonal Caring – Jean Watson: Watson’s theory focuses on human care relations among caregivers, environment/society, and recipients, which help improve healing processes by promoting Health from a place of love and caring.
  13. Emancipated Decision-Making in Health Care – Wittman-Price: This framework empowers nurses to create collaborative relationships with patients, facilitating informed decision-making relevant to healthcare choices and emphasizing autonomy.
  14. Self-Care Theory – Dorothea Orem: Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory encourages patients to perform self-care duties effectively, improving their recovery rate. Nurses evaluate patients’ needs for self-care against their abilities, devising plans for care or education accordingly.
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Middle-range theories

Middle-range theories are less abstract than grand nursing theories and are more specific to particular aspects of nursing care. These theories can also provide a framework for exploring specific phenomena in nursing. For example, Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory focuses on patients’ ability to perform self-care and how nurses can assist in meeting these needs.

Types of middle-range theories for Nursing Students

  1. Descriptive (describe a phenomenon, “information presenting”);
  2. Explanatory (specify how concepts are related to each other to explain the phenomenon of interest, “knowledge building”);
  3. Predictive (specify how one concept affects one or more other concepts, “knowledge confirming”);
  4. Prescriptive (“knowing utilization”).

Nursing Theory: “A relatively specific and concrete set of concepts and propositions that purports to account for or characterize phenomena of interest to the discipline of nursing” (Fawcett, 1989, p. 23). Usually focuses on healthcare experiences, conditions, or events;

Theoretical Framework: Provides a frame of reference for current practice and future study. It provides the rationale for the predictions of the relationships between the variables of interest and, therefore, provides a structure for research studies.

The purpose of researching a study is to determine if the predictions they hypothesize are valid; that is— does the theory hold in the real world?

Theoretical frameworks can be thought of as Road Maps.

Theoretical frameworks: Provide directions for practicing nursing according to a philosophical bent, analytic or continental. Guide the design and conduct of research by helping the researcher decide whom to sample, sample selection, data collection process, forms, how to analyze the data, etc. They help to make sense of the meaning of the study (meaningful interpretation) to provide theory-based implications for practice.

At the most concrete level are practice-level or situation-specific theories, which provide frameworks for addressing particular types of problems in clinical practice. Imogene King’s Theory of Nursing Systems falls into this category and guides how nurses interact with patients to formulate an effective nursing care plan.

Here’s a list of middle-range nursing theories

  1. The Framework of Systemic Organization – Marie-Louise Friedemann
    This theory posits that individuals are organized systems that adapt to their environment through systemic organization. It suggests that well-being is achieved when personal needs are balanced, and one’s lifestyle is organized effectively within environmental contexts.
  2. Theory of Group Power within Organizations – Christina Sieloff
    Sieloff’s theory addresses power dynamics within healthcare organizations, particularly among nursing groups. It outlines how nurses can enhance their group power to influence decisions and outcomes within their work environment.
  3. Theory of Comfort – Katharine Kolcaba
    Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort is defined as the immediate experience of being strengthened by addressing the human needs for relief, ease, and transcendence in four contexts: physical, psychospiritual, environmental, and sociocultural.
  4. Theory of Maternal Role Attainment- Ramona Thieme Mercer
    Mercer’s theory focuses on the process by which a mother learns to interact and form an attachment to her newborn child. It describes the stages of role attainment: anticipation, formal, informal, and personal.
  5. Nurse as Wounded Healer – Marion Conti O’hare
    This concept refers to the notion that nurses who have experienced personal hardships can empathize with patients and use their healing experiences to provide compassionate care.
  6. Synergy Model – AACN
    Developed by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), this model asserts that patient outcomes are improved when nurse competencies are synergized with patient needs across various levels of healthcare.
  7. Behavioral Systems Model – Dorothy Johnson
    Johnson’s model views individuals as behavioral systems composed of subsystems constantly interacting to maintain balance. The nurse identifies disturbances in this system and provides care to restore equilibrium.
  8. Quality of Nursing Care Theory – June H Larrabee
    Larrabee developed an evidence-based model for determining nursing care quality. The model emphasizes measuring outcomes against established standards to improve patient care and gain insight into the effectiveness of nursing practices.
  9. Theory of Unpleasant Symptoms – Elizabeth R Lenz and Linda C Pugh
    This theory integrates multiple factors (physiological, psychological, situational) that influence the experience and reporting of symptoms. It aids in understanding how symptoms affect patient outcomes.
  10. Advancing Technology, Caring, and Nursing – Rozzano C Locsin
    Locsin’s theory revolves around integrating technology into nursing to enhance care rather than depersonalize it. He stresses that technology should complement the nurse’s caring capacity.
  11. Health Belief Model – Blanche Mikhail
    Mikhail’s adaptation emphasizes patients’ beliefs about health conditions, which predict their health-related behaviors. It suggests these beliefs—about susceptibility, severity, benefits, barriers, cues to action, and self-efficacy—influence whether individuals will adopt healthy behaviors.
  12. Theory of Uncertainty in Illness – Merle Mishel
    Mishel explores how uncertainty affects patients coping with chronic illness or cancer diagnoses. According to her theory, strategies such as information-seeking, finding meaning, and maintaining hope all help manage the uncertainty associated with illness.
  13. Understanding these levels helps nurses use nursing theories effectively. Middle-range and practice-level theories may more directly apply to daily clinical practice due to their more focused scope than grand theories. Lydia Hall’s Care, Cure, Core model or Virginia Henderson’s 21 Nursing Problems Theory illustrate practical approaches to direct patient care.

Nursing education often emphasizes various nursing models and frameworks alongside clinical skills, from Casey’s Model of Nursing, which emphasizes the emotional aspect of patient care, to more recent adaptations encompassing different spheres like health nursing or mental health care.

It is beneficial for graduates from nursing school to become familiar with different levels of nursing theories because they offer valuable insights into effective patient care. Each theory provides an opportunity for professional growth by deepening one’s understanding of holistic patient needs and enables one to formulate an effective care plan and contribute substantially to advancing one’s nursing knowledge.

Overall, health professionals in the nursing field must recognize the importance of these theoretical underpinnings as they shape the approach to care delivery within our modern healthcare systems—making it possible to address current challenges and adapt flexibly to evolving healthcare demands.

Practice-level Theories

Practice-level theories are crucial in social work and psychology that guide professionals in their client interventions. The following is a list with summaries for each theory:

  • Psychodynamic Theory: This theory is rooted in the work of Sigmund Freud and focuses on how internal processes such as drives, desires, and unconscious motivations shape an individual’s behavior. It emphasizes the importance of early childhood experiences and posits that addressing unresolved conflicts from the past can help individuals achieve personal growth.
  • Behaviorism: Founded by John B. Watson and further developed by B.F. Skinner’s behaviorism contends that human behavior can be understood by examining the relationship between stimuli and responses. It highlights the effects of reinforcement and punishment in shaping behaviors and is commonly used in modifying problematic behaviors.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT): Developed by Aaron Beck, CBT works on the premise that an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. By changing negative thought patterns and beliefs, CBT aims to influence emotions and actions positively.
  • Humanistic Theory: Originating with theorists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, this approach emphasizes the inherent goodness of individuals and their potential for personal growth. It advocates for unconditional positive regard, empathy, and active listening in therapeutic settings.
  • Systems Theory: This theory looks at individuals within the context of their broader environment, including family, social networks, and community systems. It believes that changes in one part of the system can cause changes in other parts, requiring a holistic approach to interventions.
  • Social Learning Theory: Albert Bandura’s concept revolves around observational learning — people can learn behaviors by watching others. It posits that learning occurs within a social context through modeling, imitation, and identification.
  • Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT): This therapy is future-focused, goal-directed, and centers on solutions rather than problems or symptoms. SFBT works under the assumption that clients have the resources to create change and helps them identify past successes to construct solutions for current difficulties.
  • Narrative Therapy: This postmodernist approach views people as separate from their problems, allowing individuals to rewrite their life narratives through storytelling. It encourages clients to rely on their skills and knowledge to manage problems and reframe their experience positively.

List of Nursing Theories and Nurse Theorists

Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory Model of Nursing

  • Background: Florence Nightingale was an English social reformer and statistician, often considered the founder of modern nursing. Renowned for her work during the Crimean War, she was a trailblazer in the nursing field.
  • Main concept: Nightingale introduced the environmental theory, which emphasizes the importance of a patient’s environment in aiding recovery. Her theory revolved around adjusting environmental factors, such as cleanliness and ventilation, to promote healing.
  • Application in Practice: Her principles have profoundly impacted hospital sanitation, design, and nursing practices focused on creating therapeutic environments.

Hildegard E. Peplau Interpersonal Relations Theory Model of Nursing

  •  Background: An American nurse and psychologist famous for her work in psychiatric nursing.
  •  Main concept: Introduced the interpersonal relations theory, which stresses the importance of the nurse-patient relationship in healing.
  •  Application in Practice: This theory underpins many mental health nursing strategies today, focusing on understanding patient needs and building trust.

Virginia Henderson – Need Theory

  •  Background: Often referred to as the “first lady of nursing,” Henderson was an influential nurse, researcher, theorist, and author.
  •  Main concept: Offered a definition of nursing and introduced the Need Theory, focusing on increasing patients’ independence to promote their continued healing after hospitalization.
  •  Application in Practice: The Need Theory led to the development of a widely used nursing assessment form.

Faye Glenn Abdellah 21 Nursing Problems Theory

  •  Background: A pioneer in nursing research, Abdellah served as a nurse officer and developed educational programs.
  •  Main concept: The 21 Nursing Problems Theory was developed to emphasize delivering holistic care and addressing patient needs.
  •  Application in Practice: This theory helped transition from disease-centered care to patient-centered care.

Ernestine Wiedenbach – The Helping Art of Clinical Nursing conceptual model

  •  Background: A nurse educator known for her contribution to maternal-infant nursing.
  •  Main concept: Proposed that nursing is an art guided by four main elements: philosophy, purpose, practice, and art.
  •  Application in Practice: Influenced education by stressing clinical judgment skills and intentionality in nursing actions.

Lydia E. Hall – 3 Cs Model of Nursing – Care, Cure, Core Theory

  •  Background: Recognized for her contributions to nursing theory with a focus on rehabilitation patients.
  •  Main concept: Presented the Care, Cure, Core Theory that emphasizes three aspects: care defines what nurses do; cure is the domain of health professionals; and the core is embodied by patient autonomy.
  •  Application in Practice: Inspired models that focus on comprehensive care surrounding patients’ emotional needs alongside medical treatment.

Joyce Travelbee – human-to-human relationship model of Nursing

  •  Background: She was an early psychiatric nurse theorist who wrote extensively on the human-to-human relationship model in nursing.
  •  Main concept: The human-to-human relationship model focuses on interpersonal aspects of the nurse-patient relationship rather than just task-oriented services.
  •  Application in Practice: This model has guided nurses toward understanding patients’ experiences leading to compassionate care.

Kathryn E. Barnard Child Health Assessment Interaction Model

  •  Background: A nurse researcher known for her work with infants and young children.
  •  Main concept: Pioneered the Child Health Assessment Interaction Model (CHAIM), focusing on improving outcomes through better interactions between children and caregivers.
  •   Application in Practice: Influential in developing parenting interventions and caregiving strategies focusing on nonverbal communication cues.

Evelyn Adam – conceptual framework for nursing practice education

  • Background: Contributed to developing a conceptual framework for nursing practice education. 
  •  Main concept: Advocated for Conceptual Models of Nursing that orient learning experiences toward problem-solving actual health issues rather than abstract practice. 
  •  Application in Practice: Guided curricula design with practical application-focused narratives around conceptual frameworks.

Nancy Roper, Winifred Logan, and Alison J. Tierney -The Roper–LoganTierney Model of Nursing

  •  Background: Responsible for creating one of nursing’s most utilized models worldwide – The Roper–LoganTierney Model of Nursing. 
  •  Main concept: Their work involves applying a model based on activities of living (ALs), which are vital throughout life spans and applicable for health promotion or illness management. 
  •  Application and Practice: The model remains widely applied today across various settings providing a holistic viewpoint on patient well-being beyond immediate medical needs.

Ida Jean Orlando -Deliberative Nursing Process Theory.

  • Background: Orlando was an influential nursing theorist who developed the Deliberative Nursing Process Theory.
  • Main concept: Her theory emphasizes the interaction between the nurse and the patient, the individualization of care, and the use of the nursing process to identify and meet patient needs.
  • Application in Practice: Her work has led to a focus on improving patient-nurse communication and has influenced nursing education and clinical practice approaches.

Jean Watson – Theory of Human Caring

  • Background: Watson is renowned for her Theory of Human Caring, which she introduced in 1979.
  • Main concept: Her theory suggests that caring is central to nursing and includes ten carative factors that contribute to holistic healing processes.
  • Application in Practice: The application has resulted in the incorporation of holistic health practices and the promotion of a caring healing environment in healthcare settings.

Marilyn Anne Ray – Theory of Bureaucratic Caring

  • Background: Ray is known for her Theory of Bureaucratic Caring for nursing practice in complex organizations.
  • Main concept: Her theory highlights the importance of caring within organizational cultures and how it influences outcomes for both patients and healthcare institutions.
  • Application in Practice: This theory has informed leadership and management practices in nursing, emphasizing caring as integral to organizational effectiveness.

Patricia Benner – Novice to Expert Model

  • Background: Benner is recognized for her work on clinical competence and skill acquisition in nursing.
  • Main concept: She developed the Novice to Expert Model, which outlines five levels of development through educational growth and clinical experience.
  • Application in Practice: This model is used extensively in clinical settings for nurse career development pathways.

Kari Martinsen -Philosophy of Caring

  • Background: Martinsen is a Norwegian nursing theorist noted for her work on care philosophy with an emphasis on compassion.
  • Main concept: She argues that care should be based not just on medical science but also on empathy, warmth, and understanding qualities derived from phenomenology.
  • Application in Practice: Her theory places significant value on interpersonal relationships in caregiving practices.

Katie Eriksson – Theory of Carative Caring

  • Background: Eriksson’s work centers on caring science, which she sees as intrinsic to nursing.
  • Main concept: Her theory conceptualizes health as well-being relating not only to illness but also to human suffering, care, health processes, and consolation.
  • Application in Practice: Eriksson’s theories are applied through reflective nursing practices and educational curriculums focusing on comprehensive patient care perspectives.

Myra Estrin Levine’s Conservation Model of Nursing

  • Background: Levine was an American nurse theorist who developed the Conservation Model.
  • Main concept: Her model focuses on conserving energy, structural integrity, personal integrity, and social integrity to promote healing.
  • Application in Practice: Levine’s Conservation Model guides nurses through holistic assessments leading to interventions around conservation principles.
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Martha E. Rogers – Theory of Human Beings

  • Background: Rogers introduced the Science of Unitary Human Beings as a way to elaborate nursing as a science that is distinct from medical knowledge.
  • Main concept: Her theory focuses on persons as integral to their environment and emphasizes wellness promotion over disease treatment.
  • Application in Practice: This approach has inspired therapeutic modalities that correspond with environmental considerations and noninvasive techniques.

Dorothea E. Orem SelfCare Deficit Nursing Theory (SCDNT)

  • Background: Orem is best known for developing the SelfCare Deficit Nursing Theory (SCDNT).
  • Main concept: Her theory underlines self-care as a fundamental aspect of nursing care, postulating that patients want to take more responsibility for their health conditions when they are able.
  • Application in Practice: Orem’s SCDNT has been vital in creating patientcentered care plans encouraging autonomy and empowerment among patients.

Imogene M. King -Theory of Goal Attainment

  • Background: King introduced the theory of goal attainment, which highlights the dynamic relationship between nurse-patient interactions.
  • Main concept: The central tenet is that nurse-patient communications impact goal-setting, problem-solving, and achievements within therapeutic relationships.
  • Application in Practice: The theory informs goaldirected care planning processes where mutual setting of objectives plays a central role.

Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Model:

  • Sister Callista Roy, an influential nursing theorist, developed the Adaptation Model of Nursing. She earned a Master’s in nursing from the University of California and furthered her studies with a doctoral degree in sociology. 
  • Her model focuses on the concept that humans are biopsychosocial beings constantly interacting with their environment and adapting to changes. 
  • In practice, nurses assess patients’ adaptation levels and intervene to promote adaptation in four modes: physiological-physical mode, self-concept to group identity mode, role function mode, and interdependence mode.

Dorothy E. Johnson’s Behavioral System Model:

  • Dorothy E. Johnson proposed the Behavioral System Model, emphasizing the importance of balance and stability in health. 
  • With a background in nursing and psychology, Johnson’s theory conceptualizes individuals as having a system comprising seven behavioural subsystems, each with its structure and function. 
  • The theory has been applied in practice by assessing patient behaviours as an indicator of their health status and designing interventions to achieve balance within the subsystems.

Anne Boykin and Savina O. Schoenhofer’s Nursing as Caring Theory:

  • The Nursing as Caring Theory, created by Anne Boykin and Savina O. Schoenhofer, views nursing as an expression of caring for others as part of being human. 
  • Dr. Boykin has a background in nursing education while Dr. Schoenhofer holds a PhD in nursing theory development. 
  • Their model encourages nurses to foster personal caring relationships with patients, not merely address their conditions or diseases; this approach can be applied across all areas of nursing practice.

Afaf Ibrahim Meleis’ Transitions Theory:

  • Egyptian-born Afaf Ibrahim Meleis is known for her development of the Transitions Theory which addresses the human experiences during life transitions and healthillness events. 
  • Educated at the University of Pennsylvania where she also served as a professor, her theory is particularly useful for guiding research and practice in understanding patient experiences during significant life changes such as aging, illness, or relocation.

Nola J. Pender’s Health Promotion Model:

  • Nola J. Pender created the Health Promotion Model that motivates individuals to engage in healthy lifestyles. 
  • With a PhD from Northwestern University, her model highlights factors that influence health behaviors including personal experiences, and feelings influencing perceived benefits/consequences. 
  • This approach has been integrated into health promotion programs emphasizing preventive care.

Madeleine M. Leininger’s Cultural Care Diversity and Universality Theory:

  • Madeleine M. Leininger introduced the concept of transcultural nursing through her Cultural Care Diversity and Universality Theory. 
  • She holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology, which infused her understanding that culturally competent care is crucial for effective nursing practice
  • This framework guides nurses in providing care that is culturally respectful and compatible with patient values.

Margaret A. Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness:

  • Margaret A. Newman’s theoretical work led to Health as an Expanding Consciousness which posits that every person in every situation is part of a universal process of expanding consciousness – a process involving the recognition of disease as one among numerous patterns influencing one’s health status
  • It has inspired many nurses to consider holistic approaches encompassing physical but also emotional & spiritual well-being.

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse’s Human Becoming Theory:

  • Rosemarie Rizzo Parse developed the Human Becoming Theory asserting that life is about becoming all one can become within a universe comprising mutual interaction.
  • It urges nurses to honor each individual’s subjective experience & personal reality rather than focusing solely on objective observations which can inform holistic patient-centred care practices.

Helen C. Erickson, Evelyn M. Tomlin, and Mary Ann P. Swain’s Modeling and role-modeling Theory:

  • Developed by Helen Erickson along with colleagues Evelyn Tomlin & Mary Ann Swain, the Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory assumes every individual brings unique personal models based on their perceptions & experiences
  • it directs nurses to tailor interventions based on individual beliefs & goals promoting strength-based instead of deficiency-focused care principles.

Gladys L. Husted and James H. Husted’s Symphonological Bioethical Theory:

  • The husband and wife team Gladys L. Husted & James Husted formulated the Symphonological Bioethical Theory, proposing that ethical dilemmas are resolved through an agreement resembling a symphony among those involved.
  • It encourages ethical decision-making through collaborative discussion directly applicable to patient care dynamics, highlighting respect for persons & mutual decision-making processes.

Betty Neuman Systems Model

  • Background: Betty Neuman is a nursing theorist who developed the Neuman Systems Model. She began her nursing career in 1947 after graduating from the People’s Hospital School of Nursing in Akron, Ohio. Later, she earned her Bachelor’s in Public Health Nursing and her Master’s in Mental Health, Public Health Consultation, from UCLA.
  • Main Concept: The Neuman Systems Model centres on the individual’s relationship to stress, its reaction, and dynamic reconstitution factors.
  • This model considers patients holistically and provides a framework that depicts individuals as being enclosed by layers of defence mechanisms against stressors.
  • Application: In practice, this theory is applied to assess patient needs through the identification of stressors, establish interventions to improve patient stability, and maintain or restore an optimal state of wellness. It fosters a comprehensive view of client assessment for nurses to provide tailored care plans.

Ramona T. Mercer Maternal Role Attainment Theory

  • Background: Ramona T. Mercer graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on Maternity Nursing. She developed the Maternal Role Attainment Theory which later evolved into the Becoming a Mother theory.
  • Main Concept: Mercer’s theory addresses how women transition into their role as mothers. It focuses not just on immediate postpartum adjustments but also on the maternal identity that develops over time as women interact with their infants and receive social support.
  • Application: This theory is particularly useful in preparing and supporting women during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum by guiding healthcare professionals in identifying stages of motherhood adaptation and providing appropriate interventions for new mothers’ challenges.

Merle H. Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Theory

  • Background: Merle H. Mishel is known for advancing nursing science through research and theory, notably with her uncertainty in illness theory, which was derived from her PhD work at UCLA.
  • Main Concept: Mishel’s Uncertainty in Illness Theory explores how patients cope with uncertainty related to illness and its outcomes. It distinguishes between stimuli that are viewed as ambiguous, complex, unpredictable, or probabilistic.
  • Application: Clinicians apply this theory by offering interventions that help manage uncertainty levels, which can influence patient psychological adjustment. Understanding this helps nurses provide accurate information and support to patients facing unpredictability associated with illness or treatment.

Pamela G. Reed Self-Transcendence Theory

  • Background: Pamela G. Reed is a nursing theorist recognized for her Self-Transcendence Theory, which emphasizes the personal growth and expansive developmental tendencies of humans. 
  • Main Concept: Reed’s Self-Transcendence Theory highlights an individual’s capacity to transcend self boundaries amidst challenging life situations like aging or chronic illness essentially becoming more aware of oneself within the larger context of life forces.
  • Application: Nursing care incorporating this theory might focus on promoting activities that aid self-transcendence such as reflective thinking or storytelling, thus encouraging patients to find meaning even in adverse circumstances.

Carolyn L. Wiener and Marylin J. Dodd’s Theory of Illness Trajectory.

  • This theory focuses on understanding the complex nature of chronic illness and how it affects patients and their families over time. Carolyn L. Wiener’s background in sociology and Marylin J. Dodd’s in nursing provided a multidisciplinary approach to their work. 
  • The main concept behind the Theory of Illness Trajectory is that chronic illness is not a static event but a dynamic and evolving process that encompasses multiple phases, from diagnosis through treatment to potential end-of-life care. 
  • In practice, this theory guides healthcare professionals in providing comprehensive care that addresses the physical and psychosocial dimensions of chronic diseases.

Georgene Gaskill Eakes, Mary Lermann Burke, and Margaret A. Hainsworth’s Theory of Chronic Sorrow.

  • This theory addresses the ongoing sadness that often accompanies chronic illness or disability, either within oneself or a loved one. 
  • The theory posits that this sorrow is cyclical rather than continuous, with triggers that can cause grief reactions at various points across the lifespan. 
  • In actual practice settings, this theory helps clinicians recognize and validate clients’ feelings of loss and supports coping strategies to manage these emotions.

Phil Barker created the Tidal Model of Mental Health Recovery

  • Emphasis on personal storytelling as a healing process. Barker’s psychiatric nursing background influenced his appreciation for narrative and person-centred therapy. 
  • The central tenet of the Tidal Model is that people with mental health problems can be empowered to lead their recovery by telling their stories and detailing their experiences, thoughts, and feelings constructively. 
  • Practically, mental health nurses utilize this model to focus on individualized care plans that prioritize patients’ personal goals and promote empowerment in recovery.

Katharine Kolcaba’s Self-Transcendence Theory

  • Background: Katharine Kolcaba, an American nursing theorist and professor, developed her Comfort Theory in the early 1990s after a rich career in nursing that was initiated by her graduation in 1965. With a focus on enhancing patient care, her work emphasizes the importance of comfort in the healthcare environment.
  • Main Concept: Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory revolves around the idea that nursing is about enhancing comfort across three forms: relief, ease, and transcendence. Relief refers to the alleviation of discomfort, ease pertains to a state of contentment or calmness, and transcendence is overcoming challenges. The theory places comfort as the immediate desirable outcome of nursing care.
  • Application: In practice, Kolcaba’s theory encourages healthcare providers to assess patients’ comfort levels thoroughly and implement strategies to address discomfort across physical, psychospiritual, environmental, and sociocultural dimensions.

Cheryl Tatano Beck Postpartum Depression Theory

  • Background: Cheryl Tatano Beck is a distinguished University of Connecticut School of Nursing professor. With a nursing background and a focus on postpartum depression and traumatic childbirth experiences, Beck has contributed significantly to both theoretical and evidence-based practices in nursing.
  • Main Concept: Beck’s theory primarily addresses Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after childbirth. She explores how traumatic childbirth experiences impact mothers’ mental health and emphasizes understanding these experiences as a foundation for providing effective care.
  • Application: Beck’s insights are used to frame healthcare interventions aimed at preventing or managing PTSD related to childbirth. Nurses use her findings to offer better psychological support and counselling services for new mothers.

Kristen M. Swanson’s Theory of Caring

  • Background: Kristen M. Swanson is known for her theoretical work while serving as the Dean at the College of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work is underpinned by her extensive experience since receiving her R.N. degree in 1975.
  • Main Concept: Swanson’s Theory of Caring defines caring as a central nursing attribute and describes five processes central to it: knowing, being with, doing for, enabling, and maintaining belief. This framework captures the essence of patient-centered care.
  • Application: Swanson’s theory guides nurses in developing deep connections with patients through empathy and understanding. It helps shape behaviors that demonstrate caring across all patient interactions.

Cornelia M. Ruland and Shirley M. Moore Peaceful end-of-life theory

  • Background: Cornelia M. Ruland and Shirley M. Moore are recognized for their collaborative work on the Peaceful end-of-life theory developed while working at Case Western Reserve University.
  • Main Concept: Their theory posits that patients’ quality of life during their final days can be vastly improved if nurses provide care with an awareness towards peace and comfort goals for patients facing terminal illness.
  • Application: The application involves nurses setting achievable goals for comfort management, symptom relief, maintaining dignity, creating a supportive environment for families, and helping patients achieve a sense of peace at the end-of-life stage.

Wanda de Aguiar Horta’s Nursing Process Theory

  • Background: A prominent Brazilian nurse theorist, Wanda de Aguiar Horta was instrumental in developing the Nursing Process Theory during the 1970s which was influential in Brazil’s nursing practice development.
  • Main Concept: Horta’s theory was centered around systemizing nursing care through assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation components now fundamental to modern clinical practice.
  • Application: Structuring patient care with a systematic approach that includes documentation feedback loops for continued assessment and adjustment of care plans ensures comprehensive patient care that dynamically addresses biological psychological and social needs.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

  • Background: Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, developed this theory in psychology that is now extensively applied across disciplines.
  • Main Concept: The theory outlines a five-tier model of human needs, visualized as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Needs lower down must be satisfied before individuals can attend to higher-level needs.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses use this framework to prioritize patient care by ensuring that fundamental physiological needs are met before progressing to higher-level psychosocial needs.

Selye’s General Adaptation Theory (Stress Theory):

  • Background: Hans Selye, an endocrinologist known for his studies on stress response, developed this theory.
  • Main Concept: It describes how the body responds to stress with an initial alarm reaction followed by resistance and finally exhaustion.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: This theory helps nurses understand patient responses to illness or injury and manage patient care by minimizing stress-related responses.

Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Model:

  • Background: Erik Erikson was a developmental psychologist known for his theory on psychological development across the lifespan.
  • Main Concept: The model outlines eight stages from infancy to late adulthood, each with its central crisis that must be resolved positively for healthy development.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses apply this to ensure patients receive age-appropriate care and support through different life stages.

Lazarus & Folkman’s Theory of Stress and Coping:

  • Background: Psychologists Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman proposed this theory, focusing on cognitive appraisal and coping strategies as key components of the stress process.
  • Main Concept: It emphasizes the relationship between personal appraisal of stressors and coping mechanisms.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: The theory guides nurses in assessing patients’ perceptions of their health situations and helps develop personalized coping strategies.

Kohlberg’s Moral Reasoning Theory:

  • Background: Lawrence Kohlberg was a psychologist who explored the development of moral reasoning based on cognitive development through his work.
  • Main Concept: This model posits that moral reasoning develops through six sequential stages grouped into three levels (pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional).
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses utilize this framework to make ethical decisions about patient care and understand patients’ or families’ decision-making processes.

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory:

  • Background: Albert Bandura is a cognitivist who proposed that behavior is learned from the environment through observational learning or modelling.
  • Main Concept: It asserts three core concepts—people learn through observation, internal mental states are essential to this process, and people can have agency over their actions (self-efficacy).
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses can apply this when educating patients by demonstrating healthy behaviors or creating a supportive environment that influences positive health practices.

Azjen & Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action & Theory of Planned Behavior:

  • Background: Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein developed these related theories exploring how individuals decide to engage in behavior based on attitudes toward the behavior.
  • Main Concept: They emphasize intention as the most significant predictor of behavior influenced by attitudes towards behaviors and societal norms.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: These theories guide nursing interventions aimed at changing health-related behaviors by altering patients’ intentions through attitude modification.
See also  The Future of Freudian Theory - Psychology Assignment

Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory:

  • Background: Everett Rogers was a communication theorist who developed a model addressing how new ideas spread within cultures or social systems.
  • Main Concept: It categorizes adopters into five segments based on their readiness to embrace new ideas (Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards) assisting in understanding product adoption rates.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: This helps nurses understand how patients may adopt new health practices or respond to new treatments. 

Freire’s Theory of Human Liberation:

  • Background: Paulo Freire was an educationalist who focused on education as a tool for social change. 
  • Main Concept: Freire’s approach involves dialogue with learners informed by respect for their knowledge and experiences. 
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses can apply Freire’s concepts when working with communities or patient groups aimed at promoting health literacy and empowering patient education.

21 Nursing Problems Theory

  • The 21 Nursing Problems theory describes a set of patient care principles that guide nurses in addressing the diverse needs of their patients.
  • This theoretical work in nursing was one of the first to be developed and demonstrates how nursing theories are situation-specific, reflecting various patient scenarios.
  • Using nursing theories like the 21 problems theory, nurses can better understand how to prioritize and assess patient needs.
  • These nursing theories are organized around the assumption that patients’ needs may range from physiological to psychological, stressing comprehensive care.
  • Faye Abdellah’s work, which introduced this nursing model, is intended to provide a framework for nursing assessments, interventions, and evaluations.

Nursing Process Theory

  • Nursing process theory is a systematic approach that guides nursing theories through assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation.
  • This framework emphasizes how nursing theories and theorists view the caregiving process as dynamic and continually evolving with each patient interaction.
  • Middle-range nursing theories may incorporate nursing process aspects to enhance their applicability to clinical practice.
  • The value of nursing theories, like the nursing process theory, lies in their ability to structure and improve the quality of patient care delivered by nurses.
  • Practice-level nursing theories provide concrete strategies within the nursing process framework, enabling more effective care tailored to individual patient needs.

Nursing Needs Theory

  • Nursing need theory outlines essential human needs and how nurses can assist in fulfilling them for better health outcomes.
  • With its person-centric perspective, this theory describes how nurse-patient relationships are instrumental in ensuring all patient needs are met through holistic care.
  • Using the theoretical work in nursing need theory helps nurses identify specific interventions that directly cater to individual patient circumstances.
  • Nursing theories like the need theory stress that they are not static but instead adapt based on new findings from theories of similar disciplines or emerging healthcare challenges.
  • Practical application to nursing practice based on need theory educates nurses on recognizing and responding to the nuanced requirements of diverse populations.

Borrowed theories in Nursing

Borrowed or Shared Theoretical Frameworks: theoretical frameworks from disciplines other than nursing used in the nursing domain. Nurses may use borrowed theories in conjunction with nursing theories to inform and guide practice (though theories should be examined for congruence with nursing ideals and situations).

Borrowed theories have been used in nursing theory development. Commonly “borrowed” theories include:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

  • Background: Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, developed this theory in psychology that is now extensively applied across disciplines.
  • Central Concept: The theory outlines a five-tier model of human needs, visualized as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Needs lower down must be satisfied before individuals can attend to higher-level needs.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses use this framework to prioritize patient care by ensuring that fundamental physiological needs are met before progressing to higher-level psychosocial needs.

Selye’s General Adaptation Theory (Stress Theory):

  • Background: Hans Selye, an endocrinologist known for his studies on stress response, developed this theory.
  • Central Concept: It describes how the body responds to stress with an initial alarm reaction followed by resistance and exhaustion.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: This theory helps nurses understand patient responses to illness or injury and manage patient care by minimizing stress-related responses.

Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Model

  • Background: Erik Erikson was a developmental psychologist known for his theory on psychological development across the lifespan.
  • Central Concept: The model outlines eight stages from infancy to late adulthood, each with its central crisis that must be resolved positively for healthy development.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses apply this to ensure patients receive age-appropriate care and support through different life stages.

Lazarus & Folkman’s Theory of Stress and Coping

  • Background: Psychologists Richard Lazarus and Susan Folkman proposed this theory, focusing on cognitive appraisal and coping strategies as critical components of the stress process.
  • Central Concept: It emphasizes the relationship between personal appraisal of stressors and coping mechanisms.
  • Application in Nursing Practice: The theory guides nurses in assessing patients’ perceptions of their health situations and helps develop personalized coping strategies.

Kohlberg’s Moral Reasoning Theory:
Background: Lawrence Kohlberg was a psychologist who explored the development of moral reasoning based on cognitive development through his work.
Central Concept: This model posits that moral reasoning develops through six sequential stages grouped into three levels (pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional).
Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses utilize this framework to make ethical decisions about patient care and understand patients’ or families’ decision-making processes.

Bandura’s Social Learning Theory:
Background: Albert Bandura is a cognitivist who proposed that behavior is learned from the environment through observational learning or modeling.
Central Concept: It asserts three core concepts—people learn through observation, internal mental states are essential to this process, and people can have agency over their actions (self-efficacy).
Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses can apply this when educating patients by demonstrating healthy behaviors or creating a supportive environment that influences positive health practices.

Azjen & Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action & Theory of Planned Behavior:
Background: Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein developed these related theories exploring how individuals decide to engage in behavior based on attitudes toward the behavior.
Central Concept: They emphasize intention as the most significant predictor of behavior influenced by attitudes towards behaviors and societal norms.
Application in Nursing Practice: These theories guide nursing interventions aimed at changing health-related behaviors by altering patients’ intentions through attitude modification.

Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory:
Background: Everett Rogers was a communication theorist who developed a model addressing how new ideas spread within cultures or social systems.
Main Concept: It categorizes adopters into five segments based on their readiness to embrace new ideas (Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards), assisting in understanding product adoption rates.
Application in Nursing Practice: This helps nurses understand how patients may adopt new health practices or respond to new treatments.

Freire’s Theory of Human Liberation:
Background: Paulo Freire was an educationalist who focused on education as a tool for social change.
Main Concept: Freire’s approach involves dialogue with learners informed by respect for their knowledge and experiences.
Application in Nursing Practice: Nurses can apply Freire’s concepts when working with communities or patient groups to promote health literacy and empower patient education.

1. Chaos and Complexity Theories:
– Background: Originating in mathematics and physics, Chaos and Complexity theories analyze the behavior of complex systems. Nursing theorist Betty Neuman was known to have incorporated aspects of these theories into her Neuman Systems Model.
– Main Concept: These theories assert that complex systems exhibit unpredictable behavior that can lead to order or disorder within an organization. In nursing, this indicates that patient care environments are unexpected and dynamic.
– Application: Nurses use these theories to appreciate the inherent unpredictability in healthcare settings. This understanding helps them plan contingency and develop flexible, adaptive approaches to patient care.

2. Von Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory:
– Background: Proposed by biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, this theory applies broadly across various disciplines, including nursing.
– Main Concept: It emphasizes that systems cannot be understood fully by isolating their parts. Instead, one must study the system as a whole, as its elements are interrelated.
– Application in Nursing: Nurses use this framework to view the patient holistically. When planning care, psychological, social, and biological aspects of the patient’s life are considered, understanding that changes in one aspect may affect others.

3. Lewin’s Change Theory:
– Background: Developed by Kurt Lewin, a psychologist, this theory is heavily utilized in organizational change and nursing.
– Main Concept: Lewin’s Change Theory involves three stages – unfreezing (recognizing the need for change), changing/moving (implementing change), and refreezing (making the change permanent).
– Application in Nursing: In practice settings, nurses apply this theory when leading change initiatives – introducing new technology and protocols or assisting patients with lifestyle alterations for health improvement.

  • Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Selye’s General Adaptation Theory (Stress Theory)
  • Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Model
  • Lazarus & Folkman’s Theory of Stress and Coping
  • Kohlberg’s Moral Reasoning Theory (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)
  • Bandura’s Social Learning Theory
  • Azjen & Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior
  •  Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory
  • Freire’s Theory of Human Liberation
  • Chaos and Complexity theories
  • Von Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory
  • Lewin’s Change Theory

List of Nursing Theories

  1. Goal Attainment Theory
  2. Orem’s Self-care Deficit Theory
  3. Suchman’s Stages of Illness Model
  4. Betty Neuman’s Systems Model in Nursing Care
  5. Roy’s Adaptation Model in the Nursing Process
  6. Peplau’s Interpersonal Theory in the Nursing Process
  7. Health Belief Model in Nursing Practice
  8. Attachment Theory: John Bowlby
  9. Attribution Theory(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)
  10. Betty Neuman’s system model
  11. Behaviorist Theory
  12. Biopsychosocial Model
  13. Care, Cure, and Core: The Three C’s of Lydia Hall
  14. Comfort Theory by Katharine Kolcaba
  15. Cybernetics(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)
  16. Decision-Making Models
  17. Development of Nursing Theories
  18. Ernestine Wiedenbach’s “The Helping Art of Clinical Nursing
  19. Epistemology of Nursing
  20. Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development
  21. From Novice to Expert: Patricia Benner
  22. Faye Glenn Abdellah’s Theory
  23. Functional Health Patterns by Majory Gorden
  24. Health Promotion Model
  25. Health Belief Model
  26. Helping and Human Relationships Theory: Robert R. Carkhuff
  27. Human Becoming Theory: Rosemarie Rizzo Parse
  28. Human-To-Human Relationship Model by Joyce Travelbee
  29. Grounded Theory in Nursing Research
  30. Gate Control Theory of Pain
  31. Germ Theory of Disease )
  32. Hans Selye’s Stress Theory
  33. Harry Stalk Sullivan’s Interpersonal Theory
  34. Introduction to Nursing Theories
  35. Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory
  36. Jean Watson’s theory )
  37. Johnson’s behavior system model
  38. Kurt Lewin’s Change Theory
  39. Laws (Principles) of Learning
  40. Learned Helplessness Model
  41. Levin’s Four Conservation Principles
  42. Life Perspective Rhythm Model by Joyce Fitzpatrick
  43. Martha Roger’s Science of unitary human beings
  44. Maslow’s Theory of Needs
  45. Modeling and Role Modeling Theory by Erickson, Tomlin & Swain
  46. McGill Model of Nursing by F. Moyra Allen
  47. Models of Prevention
  48. Models of Nursing Care Delivery
  49. Newman’s Health As Expanding Consciousness
  50. Nursing Theorists
  51. Nursing Theories: An Overview
  52. Nursing Theories and Research
  53. Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory
  54. Orlando’s Nursing Process
  55. Object Relations Theory
  56. Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model
  57. Psychoanalytic Theory
  58. Roy’s Adaptation Model
  59. Roper–Logan–Tierney Model of Nursing
  60. Systems Theory in Nursing
  61. Stress-Diathesis Model
  62. Stuart Stress Adaptation Model
  63. Self-efficacy Theory )
  64. Statistical Theory
  65. Theories Based on Interactive Process
  66. Theories of Florence Nightingale
  67. Theories Applied in Psychiatric Nursing
  68. Theories Used in Community Health Nursing
  69. Theories of Intelligence
  70. Theories of Learning
  71. Theory of Mind
  72. Theory of Interpersonal Relations:: Peplau
  73. Theory of Goal Attainment: Imogene King
  74. Theory of Chronic Sorrow
  75. Theory of Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger
  76. Theory of Moral Development
  77. Theory of Evolution(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)
  78. Tidal Model of Mental Health Nursing
  79. Trajectory Model by Corbin & Strauss
  80. Transcultural Nursing
  81. Understanding the works of Nursing Theorists
  82. Virginia Henderson’s Need Theory )

 Importance of Nursing Theory

Nursing theories are integral to the profession, serving as a foundation upon which clinical practices are built and refined. They offer a variety of nursing perspectives that enrich the practitioner’s understanding and approach to patient care. It has often been stated that nursing “ought to signify” more than just the execution of tasks; it is about creating a therapeutic environment that fosters healing and well-being.

The following list illustrates the importance of nursing theories to practice:

  1. Establishing the Framework for Practice: Nursing theories provide a structured guide for nursing theories, helping nurses to understand their roles and responsibilities within the healthcare setting. This framework ensures that care is delivered with consistency and quality across various settings.
  2. Guiding Education and Research: Educational programs often use nursing theories to help develop curricula that produce competent and effective nurses. In research, these theories aid in forming hypotheses and interpreting study results, leading to evidence-based practice.
  3. Enhancing Nurse Autonomy: Through the use of nursing theories, nurses gain a defined body of knowledge unique to their profession, promoting respect and autonomy within the interdisciplinary team.
  4. Improving Patient Care: Nursing theories in practice lead to better patient outcomes as they provide tools for assessment, intervention, and evaluation of care. These theories ensure that nursing care is patient-centered and therapeutically effective.
  5. Assisting with Nursing Specialization: Nursing theories can also assist nurses in specializing in their practice, providing robust models tailored to specific populations or health issues.
  6. Reflecting Values and Beliefs: Nursing theories encapsulate the values and beliefs intrinsic to the profession – such as empathy, ethics, and commitment – ensuring that these principles remain at the core of all nursing activities.
  7. Promoting Personal Growth: Engaging with nursing theories can also encourage personal growth for nurses by challenging them to think critically about their practice, question existing systems, and strive for excellence in patient care.
  8. Shaping Policy Development: Given their comprehensive nature, nursing theories are important reference points in shaping health policies that impact both practitioners and patients.
  9. Facilitates Communication: Nursing theories provide a common language that allows nurses to communicate effectively with other healthcare providers about patient needs and care planning.
  10. Specificity Matters: It’s essential to note that nursing theories are more specific than broad medical theories because they directly address patterns of human responses to potential or actual health problems.

See also Behaviorist Theory in Nursing Practice: Understanding the Basics and Applications.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.

Nursing Theories And Models FAQ

1. What are Nursing Theories and Models?

Nurse theories and nursing models are frameworks that provide a structure for understanding, analyzing, and applying concepts within the field of nursing practice. These theories help to guide nursing care and decision-making in various healthcare settings.

2. What are Grand Nursing Theories?

Grand nursing theories are broad conceptual frameworks proposed by renowned nurse theorists that outline fundamental principles and concepts shaping the nursing profession. These theories often address the nursing metaparadigm and provide a holistic view of nursing.

3. How do Nursing Theories help in Nursing Practice?

Nursing theories help nursing students and professionals understand the underlying principles of nursing interventions and nursing care. By providing a systematic approach, these theories contribute to effective nursing practice and patient outcomes.

4. What are Middle-Range Nursing Theories?

Middle-range nursing theories focus on specific concepts and phenomena within the field of nursing. These theories bridge the gap between grand nursing theories and practice-level nursing theories, offering guidance for nursing interventions.

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