Theory that finds practical application

Week 3 discussion.

Tasks: Respond to the following two questions with two pages answer for each one. Separate responses from each question.

Q1. Choose a theory that finds practical application in critical care/pediatric/psychiatric nursing and discuss the origins of the theory based on the following criteria:

· How did the happenings of the nursing profession impact the origin of this theory?

· What values, evidence, or existing knowledge did the theorist cite to support the theory?

· What was the theorist’s motivation behind writing the theory?

Q2. Compare the nursing philosophy of Benner and Henderson on the basis of the following criteria.

· Main ideas of the theory

· Main concepts

· Relationships between concepts

· How different concepts affect each other.

Cite an example or case study from your field where both these philosophies find practical utility.


Guidelines: Support your responses with scholarly academic references using APA style format. Assigned course readings and online library resources are preferred. Weekly lecture notes are designed as overviews to the topic for the respective week and should not serve as a citation or reference. In your discussion question response, provide a substantive response that illustrates a well-reasoned and thoughtful response; it is factually correct with relevant scholarly citations, references, and examples that demonstrate a clear connection to the readings.

Course resources.

Nursing Theory Sources

Ideas, questions, and phenomena within the domain of nursing are the sources of ideas for theory development.


Initially, nursing was almost completely dependent on other disciplines for sources of theoretical content to provide the underpinnings of nursing practice. This allowed other disciplines, particularly medicine, to dictate the problems of nursing instead of allowing nursing to generate its questions. In the early days of nursing education, theoretical content was derived from the domain of medicine, as the medical paradigm was far more powerful and better developed. Thus, medicine-controlled nursing theory and, as a result, the domain of its knowledge. At the same time, nursing practice was also taking the first tentative steps toward becoming a source of theory. The patient, as the recipient of care and actual nursing acts, formed the focus of early theory development, and this change in focus reflects the initial efforts to differentiate nursing and medicine. Consequently, nurses’ experience became a major source of theory because nursing care knowledge was based on personal experiences, transmitted through apprenticeship, teaching, and texts.


In recent times, the nursing theory has originated from:

Role Proliferation: Conceptualization of nursing as a set of functions became the focus of the investigation, with theory evolving on how to prepare nurses for various roles.

· Basic Sciences: PhD education of nurses in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and physiology introduced ideas from other disciplines and stimulated new ways of looking at nursing phenomena.

· Nursing Process: Examination of processes in nurse-patient relationships and patient care triggered ideas and questions related to problem-solving, priority setting, and decision making.

· Nursing Diagnosis: Labels were given to, and a universal nomenclature was developed for problems that fall within the domain of nursing. These are actually conceptual statements about the health status of patients and, therefore, the first step in theory development.

· Concept Identification: Theory development encouraged the identification of concepts central to nursing. Identification of relationships between concepts (propositions) defined a new nursing perspective.

Nursing Philosophies:

The identification of nursing theory sources that are compatible with nursing work and accommodate the nursing perspective paved the way for the emergence of nursing philosophies. Nursing philosophy consists of assumptions and beliefs that guide the framework of nursing practice. This philosophy encompasses societal and individual human experiences (Salsberry, 1994)1, and addresses two central areas of commonality: the nature of human beings and the focus of nursing. Inherent fundamental assumptions provide the foundation of nursing philosophy. These philosophies help nurses to identify the focus of nursing as something quite different from that of the biomedical sciences. Nursing philosophies also initiate reflective practice and encourage nursing professionals—from the novice to the expert—to explore their values regarding health, nursing, and interaction with clients. Though there are numerous philosophies and conceptualizations which have been developed over the past few decades, in this course, we’ll be focusing on only a select few who have guided nursing endeavors.


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