Nursing Theory??? - page 2

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  1. by   whipping girl in 07
    Ahhh, nursing theory...

    I took it way back in 1995 the first time I went to nursing school. (I dropped out twice before I finished but that's another story...) Thank God when I applied to the school I eventually graduated from they counted it as credit for Nursing 101: Introduction to Nursing.

    I don't remember much of it at all. I remember some names (Peplau, Orlando, Sister Calista Roy). I remember when Ally McBeal came out and I watched it the first time, I thought, Calista Flockhart, hey, she has the same first name as that nun nursing theorist.

    I remember I had to do a group paper about one of the nursing theorists, but I can't remember which one, or even the names or faces of the people who were in my group. I do remember that we got an A on it though.

    I guess my point is (other than the fact I don't have a good memory) is that don't use nursing theory on a regular basis, so I don't remember it. I know it's there in the library if I need it, and I'm glad some nurses cared enough about making nursing it's own field (rather than assisting the doctors) that they sat down and developed some theories.

    I think their theories should be inspiration for practicing nurses to come up with their own theories. I have a couple.

    1) The theory of quiet: If your patient who's been yelling for the past three nights you've worked suddenly becomes quiet, don't assume he's gone to sleep. Better go check on him.

    2) The theory of defibrillators: If your patient (who's gone into v-fib four times on day shift) has gone six hours on your shift without coding, make sure to put new Zoll pads back on her after you give her a bath and hook them back up to the defibrillator.

    I'm sure I have more but I probably won't remember them until I have to put them in practice again.
  2. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Quote from Suzy

    Nursing science is about science yes, the nursing process in it's whole. It's a good basis for a new nursing student to begin patient care and organize thoughts
    I know you're really into the whole theory thing, but nursing theory is not science. Nursing theory is an attempt to separate what nursing students learn from what other allied health professions learn in degree programs, for the purpose of segregation not education.

    Sjoe put it well,

    If it will simplify things, instead of "theory," think "philosophy."
    I don't think this person should be misled into thinking they are getting ready to embark on any kind of science course.

    A career based in science, but certainly not an education that has much to do with reality based science.
    You've worked very hard to get where you are and I respect that, but you are confusing what nurses do with what nurses learn in school.
  3. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    Konni,

    You're a theory of "water pitcher filling" away from writing a book!

    Enthralling.
  4. by   adrienurse
    Peeps. You're burnt out from your studies -- I understand that (I can be blunt). There is nothing wrong with being a generalist and letting what ever source of knowledge guide your future practice as you want. Any good scholar recognizes that ideas are not limited to those of his/her field.

    P.S. I didn't fully understand where the theory part fit into the "real" stuff that nursing is made of until I had worked for a few years. I'm still learning where this fits in.
  5. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Peeps Mcarthur
    I know you're really into the whole theory thing, but nursing theory is not science. Nursing theory is an attempt to separate what nursing students learn from what other allied health professions learn in degree programs, for the purpose of segregation not education
    I never said nursing theory was science. The poster asked what IS nursing "science", other than the obvious science courses like chem, bio, etc. The nursing process is considered nursing science. If you read other posts of mine, I am not "into" the whole nursing thing but rather disgruntled at what there is out there. Please see the thread "Can Someone Be a Nurse without Jean Watson" where alot of us discussed the gaps between nursing theory and practice.




    A career based in science, but certainly not an education that has much to do with reality based science.
    You've worked very hard to get where you are and I respect that, but you are confusing what nurses do with what nurses learn in school.
    In addition, I thought this poster was asking what nurses do in school, not in real life. Had she asked about a day in and day out portrayal of bedside nursing, I would have provided that.

    I don't want to get into the argument of the usefulness or value of nursing theories. Like I stated, the common nurse I think tries to allign them with their daily practice, and that simply is not really the intended purpose. The purpose is to make it so our profession is measurable, justifiable and autonomous. I see nothing wrong with explaining that or my opinions on their value.
    Last edit by Susy K on Nov 1, '02
  6. by   k123456
    Message deleted. No response necessary.
    Last edit by k123456 on Mar 8, '04
  7. by   whipping girl in 07
    Like I said in my previous post, nursing theory was covered in one class, and I don't remember anyone ever referring to it again. I'm not sure many nursing schools will have anything in the brochure about how much nursing theory is included in the curriculum and how important they think it is. A BSN program will probably claim to be theory-based, but that could mean different things to different people. So I guess you have to decide if you really want to be a nurse. If the answer is yes, consider the possibility that you may want to return to school for a MSN someday. Do you picture yourself at the bedside forever, or do you see yourself as a midwife or anesthetist? If you think there's a possibility that you may want to go for the MSN someday, go for the BSN now. If not, get your ADN. I think either of these programs can produce nurses adequately prepared for the bedside. Whether you become a "good" or even "great" nurse will depend on what you do after you graduate and obtain your license.

    Good luck to you, whatever you choose.

    I'm off to write more nursing theories now.
  8. by   toronto rn
    I am just in the midst of taking a theory course as part of a BN degree. Origionally in college Orem was the theorist which we studied, learned all the jargon and them never used it in practise. This time around the course is a little more applicable in that it doesn't force a specific theory down my throat but gives me the opportunity to critique how the theories give value to nursing practise. The premise behind a theory is to give substance to our way of thought and practise. Theory is supposed to be a scientifically based practise in that the proposed approaches can be reproduced with simular results. Assumptions about behavior and feelings of the patient lead to an impulsive response from the nurse. Whereas disciplined thought leads to insight and critical thinking. Like most degree courses I have taken, the value seems to come in the thought processes it stimulates rather than the ability to put the knowledge into practise.
  9. by   Q.
    Originally posted by k123456
    SusyK,

    To make sure I am truly understanding nursing (outside of the theory issue), what do nurses do in real life as opposed to school as you suggested?

    As I've tried to suggest earlier, nursing theories aren't utilized in practice, at least consciously. Everything a nurse does, from caring about his/her patient to empathizing with them, are stemmed from nursing theories. One of the theorists I am looking at now developed her theory on observing nurse-patient interactions alone. As I've stated, most theories develop out of patterns that have been identified. Example, Orlando identifed patterns that nurses exhibited while caring for patients. Together, these patterns form a theory.

    Theory really isn't emphazised terribly much in undergrad, so I don't think you have to clinch your decision on nursing school on whether or not theory will be covered or whether it will be interesting to you. As Adrie stated, theory doesn't make much sense in practice until later on in your career.

    Every profession has theories which guide/define their respected discipline. Psychology, medicine, social work, teaching..ALL have theories. Much of those disciplines borrow from us as we do them.

    Theory is relevant for graduate level studies in nursing as you advance into either education or nursing research. Understanding theories and their development, as well as critiquing them is part of being at that level in the profession. For undergrad purposes, I simply feel an overview of what is out there is a necessity, again, not to mold your practice but to understand what other nurses before have observed. Whether it molds your practice is your choice.

    So basically, in school, students get minimal information in order to practice safely. Further knowledge comes from experience combined with continued education. In practice, nurses basically go in, do their job, and do it well, and come home. Rarely do they consciously think about theory (that's the Nurse Educator's job anyhow )but really, it is being used and is being used to formulate protocols. That's the difference.
  10. by   k123456
    Message deleted. No response necessary.
    Last edit by k123456 on Mar 8, '04
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    Aahhhh....good ol' nursing theory. I know I studied it in my first term, probably even took an exam or two on it......but now, a mere 7 yrs. later, I'll be damned if I can remember anything I learned about it. Frankly, when I think of nursing theory at all, I tend to define it as a philosophy of care developed over the course of each individual nurse's career, not the dry, lifeless, formal stuff we all got spoon-fed in school. But that's just me.
  12. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    So there we have it,

    It is subconcious.

    Maybe I really use all the psych and health illness continuum and love it! How would I know if it was buried deep in my psyche?
  13. by   WashYaHands
    In my BSN program we had one course on nursing theory where we were exposed to different theorists. After that, my courses were clinical based and theory wasnt formally addressed because we were too busy learning all the clinical aspects of nursing. Once I started my master's program, theory became a major focus. I think the reason for this is because at the masters level you have already practiced nursing, so some theories make more sense because you can apply them to your own practice. Basically, my view is that one establishes being a nurse first and forms an individual view and way of nursing. Then it is easier to study theories and find those that are closely aligned with your nursing beliefs (you choose the theory, the theory doesn't choose you). Theory is an area of study in nursing, and to be honest, when I'm working I'm not thinking about theory. However, if questioned about why I did something a certain way, I could articulate my actions based on theories that have been tested and those that I agree with. As Suzy said, an example is writing protocols. "Theory without practice is sterile. Practice without theory is blind." I can't quote the source, but that quote is one that I found interesting.

    Linda

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