Why Nursing Theory is Important to Today’s Nursing Practice

Effective nursing practice entails the application of art, caring, skills, and knowledge to care for the patients in a considerate, efficient, and effective manner. Nursing theories help in this aspect.

Discussions and implementation of evidence-based practice characterize today’s clinical environment.

Theory, research, and practice are the cornerstones of the nursing profession. Ideally, these three cornerstones have a cyclical and reciprocal relationship.

Clinical practice creates knowledge and research questions for nursing theory. Research relies on theory, which enhances practice.

The theories create a supportive framework on which patient care flourishes.

When these theories rely on evidence, they remain essential in the contemporary nursing workplace.

This article explores the reasons why they are an important aspect of current nursing practices.

Nursing Theories

They are knowledge-based and related concepts that help to describe the scope of nursing practice.

The scope of nursing practice entails the nursing constitution, the nursing roles and responsibilities, and the importance of the nursing roles.

Nursing theories provide the concepts that form the foundation of the knowledge about patient care and provides the rationale behind specific nursing practices and procedures.

They first emerged in the late 19th century as part of the primary concepts used to advance nurse education.

These theories have increasingly been used as essential structures that nurses use to draw inspiration and direction for their practice.

For instance, some healthcare organizations adopt a nursing theory that is used by al its nursing staff.

Resultantly, all clinical nursing decisions are premised on the specific theory.

Nursing theories use a logical structure of assumptions, hypotheses, and ideas that can be applied to various scenarios.

These theoretical structures can function as a basis for administrative decision-making, nursing research, education, professional development, patient care, and nursing practice.

They can be categorized in micro, middle-range, meta, and grand theories.

They can also be classified based on their epistemological goals into prescriptive, predictive, explanatory, and descriptive theories.

  1. Metatheories focus on the theory of theories as they develop after asking both methodological and philosophical explorations.
  2. Mid-range theories have a narrow set of variables and ideas that can be tested. They include the specificity required in practice and research. They mostly focus on a specific care topic and start with a concept analysis and develop into a bigger model.
  3. Grand theories provide a broader perception of the structure and purpose of nursing—one crucial contribution of grand theories relates to nursing practice and the practice of medicine.

Popular Models

Some of the typical theorists and theories that have been adopted in nursing practice include:

  1. The Caring Model created by Dr. Jean Watson Watson emphasizes the nursing practice’s humanistic elements as well as scientific knowledge.

This theory views the patient as a holistic human (spirit, mind, and body) and recommends treating the patient with unconditional acceptance and positive regard.

  • The self-care deficit nursing theory by Dorothea Orem focuses on the idea that nursing interventions should be focused on helping the patient to re-establish their ability to take care of themselves and utilize the place of deficit to recover themselves.
  • The adaptation theory of nursing propagated by Callista Roy emphasizes on perceiving the patient as a biopsychosocial being continues to adapt to the changing environment. 

Other theorists include Faye Abdella and her Twenty-one Nursing Problems Theory and Florence Nightingale and her work on environmental cleanliness and infection control.

Importance of Nursing Theories

Science is the outcome of the association between research (the process of inquiry) and theory (product of knowledge).

Nursing theories describe, explain, and predict different clinical scenarios. They also describe nursing to help in differentiating what represents the basis of practice.

A well-defined theory improves patient care and enhances communication between nurses and advanced professional status.

Since care is not measurable, a theory helps define and evaluate what is expected of nursing professionals and which tasks are within their realm.

Nursing theories remain the nursing practice’s backbone since they help to create more knowledge and establish the future of the nursing practice.

The theories help nurses to establish what they should know and what they already know.

 In nursing, the key role of theory is to enhance practice by influencing the quality of life and health of the patients positively.

Importance of Nursing Theories in Nursing Practice

In clinical practice, nursing theories are used in two forms, including:

  1. Theories are applied in the formulation of commitments, attitudes, and orientations to the basic features of nursing practice in every clinical scenario. These theories are general and have an unspecified role.
  2. Each clinical scenario is addressed using them to help understand and explain it and arrive at nursing approaches that are in line with the requirements of the specific clinical situation. These theories are particularistic and perform a situation-specific role.

The second role of nursing theory also encompasses using the theories to establish what is desirable/problematic, what is good/bad, and what is working’ not working for a specific clinical situation

Some theories are used in explaining the existing situations in practice, while others are used to design and carry out clinical action in particular clinical situations.

Ideally, nursing practice adopts several theories based on the real facts of the clinical situation.

Nursing theories assist in quantifying nursing care. They help in evaluation, involvement, and assessment of the care provided by nurses.

Nurses can use them when reporting, explaining, and predicting their day-to-day experiences.

The theories also provide the basis for gathering reliable and valid data about the patients’ health status.

The data is vital in making decisions and implementing them.

Nursing theories assist in developing a common nursing terminology that is helpful in communication with other health professionals within the care continuum.

They help define the independent functions of nurses and further improve their autonomy.

Emphasis on Knowledge- and Evidence-based Practice

The importance of theory in nursing practice can be well conceptualized in knowledge- and evidence-based nursing practice that is of crucial importance in today’s clinical practice.

While evidence-based practice is emphasis emphasized, the nursing practice also relies on the comprehensive and general view of knowledge to meet its mandate.

Knowledge in this regard entails the available nursing theories.

In clinical nursing practice, the two roles of the theory are used. The theories of nursing can be differentiated into (a) applied theories of nursing and (b) nursing theories.

Several theories have been developed through the years to address human issues from a nursing perspective or propose nursing methodologies to tackle human health problems.

Some theories are specific, while others are general and developed in other disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, psychology, and biology.

Among the theories, intervention theories are designed to propose nursing approaches and nursing therapeutics to address individuals’ health concerns as defined from the nursing viewpoint. 

Overall, nurses are relying on the as the cornerstone of the nursing practice in today’s workplace.

The relationships between nursing practice and theory are cyclical and reciprocal, and the present and future of nursing are increasingly theory-guided.

Theoretical principles help nurses in developing and implementing the plan of care to help provide efficient, effective, and holistic care. 

Furthermore, if the practice relies on nursing theories, they get to have a common language and perspective as well as a framework that grounds and supports nursing as an autonomous profession.

Check out guide on nursing letter of recommendation, QI in Healthcare, Healthcare Transformation, and Nursing Writer Essay Help.

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