You are on page 1of 4


Application of Theor y in
Nursing Process
This page was last updated on January 28, 2012


 Theories are a set of interrelated concepts that give a

systematic view of a phenomenon (an observable fact
or event) that is explanatory & predictive in nature.
 Theories are composed of concepts, definitions,
models, propositions & are based on assumptions.
 They are derived through two principal methods;
deductive reasoning and inductive reasoning.


 to assess the patient condition by the various methods

explained by the nursing theory
 to identify the needs of the patient
 to demonstrate an effective communication and
interaction with the patient.
 to select a theory for the application according to the
need of the patient
 to apply the theory to solve the identified problems of
the patient
 to evaluate the extent to which the process was fruitful.


 Nursing theory is an organized and systematic

articulation of a set of statements related to questions
in the discipline of nursing.
 "A nursing theory is a set of concepts, definitions,
relationships, and assumptions or propositions derived
from nursing models or from other disciplines and

project a purposive, systematic view of phenomena by

designing specific inter-relationships among concepts
for the purposes of describing, explaining, predicting,
and /or prescribing."

C h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f a U s e f u l T h e o r y [Robert
T. Croyle (2005)]

A useful theory makes assumptions about a behavior, health

problem, target population, or environment that are:

 Logical
 Consistent with everyday observations
 Similar to those used in previous successful programs
 Supported by past research in the same area or
related ideas.

Importance of nursing theories

 Nursing theory aims to describe, predict and explain

the phenomenon of nursing
 It should provide the foundations of nursing practice,
help to generate further knowledge and indicate in
which direction nursing should develop in the future.
Theory is important because it helps us to decide what
we know and what we need to know
 It helps to distinguish what should form the basis of
practice by explicitly describing nursing. The benefits
of having a defined body of theory in nursing include
better patient care, enhanced professional status for
nurses, improved communication between nurses, and
guidance for research and education
 The main exponent of nursing – caring – cannot be
measured, it is vital to have the theory to analyze and
explain what nurses do

 As medicine tries to make a move towards adopting a

more multidisciplinary approach to health care, nursing
continues to strive to establish a unique body of
 This can be seen as an attempt by the nursing
profession to maintain its professional boundaries

Evolution of Nursing Theories &


 The history of professional nursing begins with

Florence nightingale.
 Later in last century nursing began with a strong
emphasis on practice.
 Following that came the curriculum era which
addressed the questions about what the nursing
students should study in order to achieve the required
standard of nursing.
 As more and more nurses began to pursue higher
degrees in nursing, there emerged the research era.
 Later graduate education and masters education was
given much importance.
 The development of the theory era was a natural
outgrowth of the research era.
 With an increased number of researches it became
obvious that the research without theory produced
isolated information; however research and theory
produced the nursing sciences.
 Within the contemporary phase there is an emphasis
on theory use and theory based nursing practice and
lead to the continued development of the theories.

Characteristics of theories

Theories are

 Interrelating concepts in such a way as to create a

different way of looking at a particular phenomenon.
 Logical in nature.
 Generalizable.
 Bases for hypotheses that can be tested.
 Increasing the general body of knowledge within the
discipline through the research implemented to
validate them.
 Used by the practitioners to guide and improve their
 Consistent with other validated theories, laws, and
principles but will leave open unanswered questions
that need to be investigated.