What's eating me-theories and professionalism

  1. 2
    There are 6-100 different nursing theories, my classmates think this is a good thing.

    No wonder it's hard for nurses to be viewed as "professionals" when we can't even agree on a theory on which to base our practice.

    Yeah, I'm trying to do homework again for my BSN and the question is:

    "The nursing profession should have only one nursing theory, rather than several, to guide nursing education, practice, and research." Do you agree or disagree with this statement?

    Every single classmate disagrees with this statement in the assigned discussion board, I agree. What's really eating me up is that in my personal nursing practice I see nurses using several different nursing theories to guide their practice which makes every nurse off doing their own thing.

    For example:

    A resident is found on the floor and is not injured.

    The nurse using Henderson's Complementary-Supplementary model sees this as "illness-potential for lack of independance" The Henderson nurse will put alarms on this resident and require that whenever this resident gets up, staff will assist with mobility to prevent a broken hip which would remove independance.

    The King's Theory of Goal Attainment nurse sees this as illness because the Henderson nurse put on alarms and is requiring the resident to have stand-by assistance with mobility, hence impeding the resident's social roles by slowing the resident who just wants to get to church on time because she plays the piano.

    Meanwhile the Leininger's Cultural Care Theory nurse, talks to the resident and discovers that the resident laid down on the floor because the hard, cold surface felt good on her sore back and she has to play piano later, therefore, the resident is not ill at all because of the fall but because of uncontrolled pain.

    Each of these three nurses send a note to the doctor all stating different things.

    NURSES GET ON THE SAME PAGE! We look stupid to other professionals because we look at our patients with different filters and come up with different conclusions, so it looks like nobody knows what's going on!


    Creasia, J & Parker, B. (2007) Conceptual Foundations the Bridge to Professional Nursing Practice. (4th edition). St. Louis. Mosby Elsevier.

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  2. 16 Comments...

  3. 0
    Sorry about my spelling of independence. Just realized I do have a discussion post reply for my classmates. Cool.
  4. 4
    All three theories require a full assessment, and once you find out why the patient is on the floor collaboration with them is key. So they should all come to similar conclusions.

    Really, no one outside the profession cares about the theories. We don't know all the MD, PT, OT theoretical issues, so I doubt they pay much attention to ours.
  5. 8
    Seems that regardless of the theory used by an RN if they would do a full assessment and find out what happended, all outcomes should have been the same. When you rely on a " theory" rather than your brain and assessments, that's what make you look stupid.
    PeteZar, mamaonamission, KeyMaster, and 5 others like this.
  6. 7
    Theories are simply tools that we use to organize information. It doesn't make sense to limit ourselves to the use of only one tool.

    FYI: Other disciplines have multiple theories. Developing and testing theories (pural) is what science is all about. We continue to develop our knowledge through the development, testing, and refinement of theories. If we all just stuck with one theory only, our development of knowledge would stop. That would be a bad thing, not a good thing.
    kvdlr, NRSKarenRN, CaLLaCoDe, and 4 others like this.
  7. 0
    Thanks guys, please tell me more, I think I'm not understanding these concepts.

    I also agree about the full assessment statements, I was just trying to think of an example of theories in action, but I have unfortunately seen nurses do crazy things like put alarms on a resident who crawled onto the floor to ease her back pain.

    I really do see many nurses with opposing viewpoints that affect their clinical decisions.
  8. 2
    I think you're reading WAY too much into these theories; They are not exactly meant for the "practical" life situation such as resident found on floor..

    A comprehensive assessment and following with the cardinal nursing process is what makes a nurse, a nurse at the end of the day; not theories.
    KeyMaster and cherryames1949 like this.
  9. 0
    But what are they meant for? And if they're irrelevant to day to day nursing, why do I have to learn about them, I'd rather have a large dose of TNCC. But really, what are they for?
  10. 0
    Maybe I'm weird, but I'm enjoying reading all the different theories. Some of them make a good deal of sense to me and others appear to be out the box. At any rate, I think multiple theories are important, and I see that I use different parts and pieces of theories in my day to day working with pts.
  11. 0
    Quote from ltc rn jc
    but what are they meant for? and if they're irrelevant to day to day nursing, why do i have to learn about them, i'd rather have a large dose of tncc. but really, what are they for?
    they are just a backbone to assess patients, your job is to look at these theories and decide which one fits your style of nursing. i come to the conclusion that no one theory can be applied to all patients, in some situations it is the combination of theories that work the best. look at the jean watson threads, there is good information and debate on theories

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