Case Study 11 Theory Practice-Gap

Case Study 11

Read the following case study:Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example

You are a staff nurse working in an intensive care unit and assigned to care for a 75-year-old African American man who had coronary artery bypass graft surgery four days ago. The patient has a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbated by heavy smoking. His postoperative course has been difficult, and he has suffered a number of setbacks. Staff members, despite their diligent efforts, have not been able to wean him off the ventilator since the surgery. He has required frequent suctioning throughout the shift, and he is being evaluated for the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia. (Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)

Today, when returning from lunch, you observed that an experienced nurse was suctioning your patient. His secretions were thick, and you observed that the nurse was instilling saline into the patient’s endotracheal tube as she was suctioning him. The patient turned red and began coughing, and it was obvious he was in distress.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)


Identify the theory-practice gap in the case study above and describe how this potential gap can impact nursing practice and patient care.(pneumonia.Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)

Create a concept map that depicts your assumptions and findings of the theory-practice gap. Show alignment of nursing theory and its relation to the nursing process (including alignment with critical thinking and clinical decision-making) for an improved nursing care plan.

Write an 875- to 1,050-word summary explaining how the concepts in nursing theory align to the nursing process, including alignment with critical thinking and clinical decision-making for an improved nursing care plan.

Include the following in the summary:

Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example-Solution

Addressing the Theory-Practice Gap in Critical Care: A Case Study Analysis


The theory-practice gap in nursing refers to the discrepancy between the knowledge and skills learned during nursing education and their application in real-world clinical settings. This gap can lead to inadequate patient care and negative outcomes. This essay will examine a case study involving a 75-year-old African American man who had coronary artery bypass graft surgery and the observed incident where an experienced nurse administered saline during suctioning, causing distress to the patient. The essay will analyze the factors contributing to the theory-practice gap in this scenario and propose strategies to bridge the divide to ensure optimal patient care.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)

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Case Study Analysis:

The case study describes a post-operative patient with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ventilator dependence following coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Despite diligent efforts from the medical staff, the patient has not been successfully weaned off the ventilator, and there is a concern for ventilator-associated pneumonia. During an observation, it was noted that an experienced nurse performed a suctioning procedure using saline, leading to the patient’s distress and respiratory discomfort.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)

Factors Contributing to the Theory-Practice Gap:

  1. Lack of Updated Knowledge: Nursing practices and guidelines are constantly evolving, and healthcare professionals must stay abreast of the latest evidence-based practices. The experienced nurse’s decision to use saline during suctioning may have been based on outdated knowledge or practices that have since been proven less effective or harmful.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)
  2. Communication and Collaboration Issues: In a critical care setting, nurses work in a fast-paced and high-stress environment, which can hinder effective communication and collaboration. There may have been a failure to discuss or educate staff members on the best suctioning techniques, resulting in varied practices and potential harm to the patient.
  3. Implicit Bias: The patient being an African American man may have influenced the nurse’s decision-making unconsciously. Studies have shown that implicit biases can affect patient care, leading to disparities in treatment and outcomes for minority patients.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)
  4. Inadequate Training and Orientation: Even experienced nurses can encounter situations in which they lack sufficient training or orientation. In this case, the nurse may not have received adequate instruction on the most appropriate suctioning technique, especially for patients with complex medical histories.
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Strategies to Bridge the Theory-Practice Gap:

  1. Continuous Professional Development: Healthcare facilities must prioritize ongoing education and training for nurses. Regular workshops, seminars, and webinars should be provided to update their knowledge and skills in line with evidence-based practices.
  2. Standardized Protocols and Policies: Hospitals should implement standardized protocols for critical care procedures, including suctioning, to ensure consistent and safe patient care. These protocols must be regularly reviewed and revised based on current best practices.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)
  3. Interdisciplinary Team Collaboration: Enhancing communication and collaboration between different healthcare disciplines, including doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists, can lead to a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to patient care.
  4. Addressing Implicit Bias: Healthcare organizations should actively address implicit biases through awareness campaigns and cultural competency training. Emphasizing the importance of treating all patients with equal respect and dignity can help reduce disparities in care.
  5. Simulation-Based Training: Incorporating simulation-based training allows nurses to practice critical care procedures in a safe and controlled environment. This approach enhances their confidence and competence in real-life scenarios.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)


The case study presented an incident where the theory-practice gap negatively impacted patient care in a critical care setting. To prevent such occurrences and enhance patient outcomes, healthcare institutions must focus on continuous education, standardized protocols, interdisciplinary collaboration, addressing implicit bias, and simulation-based training. Bridging the theory-practice gap in nursing requires collective efforts from nurses, educators, administrators, and policymakers to ensure the delivery of high-quality and evidence-based care to every patient.(Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example)

Theory Practice-Gap Essay Example


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