Understanding Nursing Theories (2023)

What are nursing theories?

Nursing theories help guide and define nursing and provide a basis for itclinical decision making. Although some nursing theories have existed in public health for hundreds of years, many are still used in hospitals and healthcare facilities today.

if you thinkto go to schoolTo become a registered nurse, it is safe to assume that nursing theory will be a fundamental part of your curriculum. However, you can get a head start in this article and learn more about nursing theories.

The metaparadigm of nursing

A metaparadigm is a set of ideas that provide a structure for how a health discipline should work. In nursing, this refers to the four main concepts associated with nursing theory.


The person component of the metaparadigm focuses on the care recipient and the people in his or her life, and takes into account the patient's social, spiritual, and health needs. The theory is that a person may be better able to manage their health when they have positive personal connections.

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The concept of health realizes the multiple factors that contribute to a patient's well-being, including physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social components, and how they can be integrated to achieve maximum health outcomes.


This concept focuses on the environment that affects the patient and how that environment can affect their health and well-being. He theorizes that a person can change their environment to improve their health.


This aspect of the metaparadigm recognizes the relationship between a nurse and a patient. It focuses on the nurse's role in providing a safe and caring environment and values ​​the high level of service required to achieve the best health outcomes for the patient.

There are a large number of different nursing models and theories based on nursing research that drive nursing practice and the nursing profession in general across the country and around the world. Each of these theories incorporates the concepts of the nursing metaparadigm, and specific nursing practice is shaped by the insights of the nursing theorists who created the various models such as nursing education and implementation strategies.

What types of nursing theories are there?

All nursing theories are divided into three levels: major, intermediate and practical. Here's a look at each:

Great Nursing Theories

As the name suggests, any theory based on broad, abstract, or more complex concepts falls into this category. Great nursing theories generally provide a high-level framework for nursing ideas, rather than delving into the details.

Mid-range nursing theories

Midrange theories, in contrast to large theories, deal with more specific areas of nursing. They can come from daily nursing practice, from research or from theories of similar disciplines.

Nursing theories at the practical level

Theories categorized at this level are the most focused. They deal with very situation-specific concepts that are limited in scope and focus on a specific patient population.

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What are some examples of nursing theories?

There are many nursing theories, but here are some of the most common:

environmental theory

Known as the first nursing theorist and founder of modern nursing,Florence nightingaleHe created the environmental theory in 1860, the principles of which are still used today. She served as a nurse during the Crimean War, where she observed a connection between dying patients and their environmental conditions. As a result, the theory of the environment was born. In it, Florence Nightingale identifies five environmental factors (fresh air, clean water, efficient drainage, cleanliness and sunlight) as essential to human health.

Caseys Pflegemodell

The Casey Nursing Model was developed by Anne Casey in 1988 and is considered one of the first nursing theories developed specifically for pediatric nursing. This theory focuses on the work of the caregiver in collaboration with the child and their family. The philosophy is that the best people to take care of a child are their relatives with the support of health professionals.

Patient-centered approach to care

Faye Abdellah's patient-centered approach was developed in the 1940s to support nursing education and is intended to guide nursing care in hospitals. His theory outlines 10 steps to identify a patient's problem and expands on additional skills to develop a treatment. The 10 steps include:

  1. Get to know the patient.
  2. Order relevant and meaningful data.
  3. Make generalizations about the available data on similar care problems of other patients.
  4. Identify the therapy plan.
  5. Test generalizations with the patient and make more generalizations.
  6. Confirm the patient's conclusions about their caregiving problems.
  7. Continue to observe and assess the patient over time to identify any attitudes and cues that are influencing their behavior.
  8. Examine patient and family responses to the treatment plan and include them in the plan.
  9. Identify how nurses feel about patient care issues.
  10. Discuss and develop a comprehensive care plan.

comfort theory

Katharine Kolcaba's comfort theory was developed in the 1990s and states that comfort is an immediately desirable outcome of nursing. Kolcaba described comfort in three ways: relief, lightness, and transcendence. When a patient's need for comfort is met, a sense of relief is conveyed. As the patient's comfort needs change, so do the caregiver's interventions.

tidal model

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This model was developed by nurse practitioner and psychotherapist Phil Barker in the 1990's and is widely used in psychiatric nursing and psychiatry. It focuses on the basic nursing process and is based on values ​​of connecting with people to help others in times of need. The Tide Model is based on ten commitments which are: value voice, respect language, develop genuine curiosity, become a learner, use the toolkit available, design the next step, give time, reveal personal wisdom, know that change is constant and transparent.

Self-sufficiency deficit theory

The self-care deficit theory developed by Dorothea Orem is a health theory developed between 1959 and 2001 of their own caring how they are able to do so. The Orem Self-Care Nursing Model is designed to help patients recover by guiding them through the recovery process in a mature manner. This means that as the patient becomes more productive, they can do more for themselves.

culture maintenance theory

The Theory of Cultural Care developed by Madeleine Leininger focuses on the idea that patient care must be culturally congruent. In other words, care must be consistent with the patient's cultural or religious beliefs, practices, and values.

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Why are nursing theories important?

The theories provide a basis for all professions, and the health theories provide the same basis for nursing students and nursing professionals. As the field of nursing continues to grow, theories are key to structuring patient care; But its only the beginning. Here are more reasons why nursing theories are important:

  • Give caregivers the basis for healthcare decisions.
  • Lead evidence-based research that then leads to best practices and guidelines.
  • Help nurses assess patient care
  • Provide nurses with a better understanding of their purpose and role in healthcare.
  • Ensure best care practices are used.
  • Providing nurses with an identity that differentiates nursing practice from medical practice
  • Help patients and other healthcare professionals recognize the contribution of caregivers

This article only scratches the surface on the subject. There is much more to discover.A nursing degree.is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of nursing theories and increase your knowledge in the field, whether you are aprospective nursing student, juststart nursing school, look atIncrease your current position as a nurse.

(Video) Fun easy ways to remember nursing theories!


What are the 4 key concepts of most nursing theories? ›

Fawcett has named person, health, environment and nursing as the four main concepts of nursing that need to be comprehensively defined. The Human Caring Theory is significant because of its focus on the spiritual dimension of human beings.

What do you understand by nursing theory? ›

Nursing theory is defined as "a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas that project a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena". Through systematic inquiry, whether in nursing research or practice, nurses are able to develop knowledge relevant to improving the care of patients.

Why is it important to understand nursing theory? ›

Nursing theory helps distinguish nursing as a separate discipline from medicine and related sciences, and assists nurses in understanding their patients and their needs. The theory provides different templates to help nurses provide care that respects patients and improves outcomes.

What is the most important concept of nursing theory? ›

The person is the most important concept in nursing theory, but each theorist's interpretation of the other concepts is how to differentiate between them.

What are three essential purposes of a nursing theory? ›

Why Are Nursing Theories Important?
  • Provide nurses with rationale in making healthcare decisions.
  • Guide evidence-based research, which then leads to best practices and policies.
  • Help nurses evaluate patient care.
  • Give nurses a better understanding of their purpose and role in a healthcare setting.
Sep 20, 2021

How do you apply nursing theory to practice? ›

Professionals develop nursing theories to inform nursing practice, advance care strategies, and improve patient outcomes for a better quality of life. Nurses can apply them to all six steps of the nursing process: assessment, diagnosis, outcome, planning, implementation, and evaluation.

What are the main components of a nursing theory? ›

According to the four concepts common in nursing theory; the person (patient), the environment, health & nursing (goals, roles, functions) can be analyzed. Each of these concepts is usually defined and described by a nursing theorist. Of the four concepts, the most important is that of the person.

What is the importance of theory? ›

Theories are vital: They guide and give meaning to what we see. When a researcher investigates and collects information through observation, the investigator needs a clear idea of what information is important to collect. Thus, valid theories are validated by research and are a sound basis for practical action.

Why is theory important in clinical practice? ›

Theories are important because they allow nurses to understand how different aspects of health and illness affect each other. Nurses must be able to understand these connections to provide appropriate treatment plans for their patients.

What are the 4 Metaparadigm concepts of nursing? ›

The four metaparadigms of nursing include person, environment, health, and nursing. The metaparadigm of person focuses on the patient who is the recipient of care.

What are the four major concepts of Watson's theory? ›

Embrace: Altruistic Values and Practice Loving Kindness with Self and Others. Inspire: Faith and Hope and Honor Others. Trust: Self and Others by Nurturing Individual Beliefs, Personal Growth and Practices. Nurture: Helping, Trusting, Caring Relationships.

What are the 4 components of Peplau's theory? ›

Peplau stressed that many nursing problems can be overcome through strong interpersonal relations. In the Theory of Inter- personal Relations she developed, she identified four distinct stages in the patient-nurse relationship,[22] namely, orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution (Fig. 1).

What are the 4 theories related to Self Care Deficit nursing theory? ›

Theory of Self-Care Deficit

Acting for and doing for others. Guiding others. Supporting another. Providing an environment promoting personal development about meet future demands.


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