is nursing theory important to nursing practice - page 2

by precious nikz 36,531 Views | 73 Comments

hello everyone...pls help me with our debate this Monday.. our clinical instructor gave us the topic,,"IS NURSING THEORY IMPORTANT TO NURSING PRACTICE?,, and we are in the negative side,.the decision was given through toss coin,.... Read More


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    My nursing school didn't have a strong emphasis on nursing theory while I was there. I graduated from a ADN program. I think when it comes to actual practice at the bedside, it's not important. I think what we're taught and how we care for the patients, use our knowledge, and coordinate care are all things we do regardless of what theory it happens to fall under.

    For someone that has never really been exposed to the theory of nursing, I don't feel that I'm lacking when it comes to my practice.

    Edit: After researching a bit, it seems that Nursing Theory is another name for Evidence-based Practice, which makes sense to me.
    Last edit by theatredork on Jul 8, '09
    precious nikz likes this.
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    I have taught nursing research and nursing theory. Theory can be hard to understand, with the different language and the different way of viewing things. But without theory, nursing as a profession cannot and will not advance. We used to have to "borrow" theories from other professions and disciplines and we don't have to do that as much now that nursing theory is emerging.

    To help my students understand nurisng theory, I ask them to think of their own religion and how it pretty much guides your life, the decisions you make, the way you live, etc...That is how nursing theory should be for nurses. It is hard to find just one that personifies any nurse or nursing department at a hospital, but there are many hospitals who have nursing theorists as the basis for their nursing philosophies at the hospital. I believe that Magnet hospitals must have theory based philosophies.
    pbid and llg like this.
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    From what I can see, nursing theory is of little practical use at the bedside. I believe that one can be an excellent nurse while having zero knowledge of the varied nursing theories out there.

    As with some other fields (education being one), a lot of these theories derive from the need of PhD candidates to develop something novel and from the need of tenure-track faculty to publish.
    Scrubby, canoehead, travel50, and 1 other like this.
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    :yeahthat:
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    Quote from ♪♫ in my ♥
    From what I can see, nursing theory is of little practical use at the bedside. I believe that one can be an excellent nurse while having zero knowledge of the varied nursing theories out there.

    As with some other fields (education being one), a lot of these theories derive from the need of PhD candidates to develop something novel and from the need of tenure-track faculty to publish.
    There's probably a kernel of truth to what you say. Still, don't you think it's useful to have a framework for professional reflection about the practice of nursing?
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    Quote from multicollinearity
    Still, don't you think it's useful to have a framework for professional reflection about the practice of nursing?
    Just out of curiosity, can you provide an example of this?
    canoehead likes this.
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    Quote from travel50
    Here is my problem with nursing theory. Some nurse comes up with a "new theory", write books, teaches on it, lectures, etc. I look at this "new theory" and think, well good grief, who doesn't know that. For example, the theorist who came up with the idea of "nursing as caring". How is that new? Of course it is caring...that is one reason why we do it. And if you don't care, you need to quit. But yet she is famous for creating this "new theory" that is just common sense to me.
    It may seem like common sense to you now ... but at the time Jean Watson started publishing her work on caring, the "caring" aspect of nursing was being lost in the physiology and technology of nursing. At that time in our history, nursing curricula, nursing practice policies, etc. were all so heavily reliant on physiology and technology facts that the element of human caring was not receiving much attention. Hence, Dr. Watson felt the need to describe caring and put its important on paper -- and to become an advocate for that particular aspect of nursing -- so that it wouldn't continue to be downgraded within nursing education and practice.

    Look at some of the posts in this thread and elsewhere on allnurses. People write that "all that caring stuff" is just a load of bull****. Some write that nursing should all be based on physiology ... etc. Other nurses only focus on the machines such as the monitors, etc. And still other people focus primarily on the money -- particularly in today's economy. As you read and listen to the discussions about health care and health reform here and elsewhere, you will often hear little mention of caring. Caring takes a back seat to money and physiology.

    That's why we need to have SOME people at least talking and writing about caring. To you, it may seem like common sense. But if you had been raised and educated in a world where NOBODY was talking or writing about caring, it wouldn't seem like common sense to you. It would be a strange and "foreign" approach ... or... at least a "new idea." That's where the caring theorists come in. They are the ones who speak up about the caring aspect of nursing so that it doesn't get lost in all the discussions of physiology, technology, and money.

    Let's hope the caring ideal continues to seem like common sense to you -- and to many others. But don't forget the fact that it seems like common sense to you because somewhere along the line, you acquired that value and internalized it -- probably from Jean Watson or someone like her that taught you about the importance of caring.

    Thanks for the post. By responding to your post, it forced me to advance some of my own ideas about nursing theory and about the caring theorists in specific. I'll use that thinking to improve my practice as a nurse educator and leader.
    NRSKarenRN, canoehead, KellyCCRN, and 8 others like this.
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    Quote from multicollinearity
    There's probably a kernel of truth to what you say. Still, don't you think it's useful to have a framework for professional reflection about the practice of nursing?
    Yes I do but my framework is much more practical: Did I perform all assessments and interventions on a timely basis and in a complete, accurate, and respectful manner? Did I minimize my patients' physical and emotional discomfort as much as possible given the constraints on my time and the limited sets of interventions at my disposal? Did I help out my coworkers as much as possible?

    In short, the Golden Rule: Did I treat everybody, patients and coworkers, as I would want myself (or my child) treated?

    I've read through all the grand theories, written numerous pages in which I've connected them to my clinical patients... I've really taken it seriously and read through far more resources than those assigned but I must still conclude that they're of little practical significance.

    I'd love to hear case studies in which people related in concrete, practical terms how their care of actual patients was changed due to a nursing theory.
    NRSKarenRN, Scrubby, canoehead, and 2 others like this.
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    Quote from SondheimGeek
    Just out of curiosity, can you provide an example of this?

    Well, Benner's theory about 'novice to expert' is useful. I like some of Sister Callista Roy's Adaptation theory, too. Orem's self-care deficit theory makes sense to me. Nursing theories are helpful to provide reference points and frameworks within nursing research. Sometimes it's just to state the obvious, but we do need to have reference points, no matter how obvious.

    I do confess much of what I've had to study about nursing theories for my classes makes me wrinkle my nose and think it's a lot writing to justify one's existence. And that Roger's energy field pablum is just embarrassing to the profession.
    Last edit by Multicollinearity on Jul 8, '09
    MedSurgeMess likes this.
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    Quote from llg
    Let's hope the caring ideal continues to seem like common sense to you -- and to many others. But don't forget the fact that it seems like common sense to you because somewhere along the line, you acquired that value and internalized it -- probably from Jean Watson or someone like her that taught you about the importance of caring.
    I didn't acquire the value of caring from Jean Watson or some other theorist in nursing school, I acquired it from my parents - neither of them nurses.
    Scrubby, canoehead, and travel50 like this.


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