Help with theoretical framework

  1. Was wondering if somone could help me come up with good ideas for a theoretical framework to use for my thesis paper. I am doing a literature review on the medical calculation skills of nurses. All is going pretty well, I have good research questions, materials, and a good selection of literature. What I am missing though is a good theoretical framework to use. I am starting to despair that I might have to find one from another discipline. None of the theories I have found in nursing seem to fit my topic. Anyone have any suggestions?


  2. Visit Great Scott profile page

    About Great Scott

    Joined: Sep '03; Posts: 25


  3. by   llg
    Hmmm... that's a hard topic to match up with an existing theory. The major theorists have not focused on the development or use of specific technical skills.

    You might want to look at some of the really "general" theories or philosophies of nursing to ground your work in nursing to begin with. If you need something more specific, you could use an educational theory or psychological theory to discuss the acquisition or use of the specific skills you are focusing on. Because you would have the work grounded in a nursing theory or philosophy, the use of the non-nursing model of skill acuisition/use would not take your work "out of nursing."

    A couple of general nursing theoryies that I particularly like are:

    1. Virginia Henderson -- In her early work 1950's and 1960's she defined nursing by saying essentially that nurses do whatever the patient would do for himself if only he had the knowledge, skill, and ability to do so. In your case, the skills you are focusing on is what the patient would do for himself if he could, but he can't, so the nurse is doing it.

    2. Kristin Swanson Kaufman -- defined nursing as "informed caring for the well-being of others" which essentially says that caring alone is not enough, you need to be informed and skilled in order to be a good nurse.

    3. Patricia Benner -- applied the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition to nursing. This might be the most directly applicable. You could address the development of the skills in terms of both "book learning" and also practical experience performance the skills. As for the use of those skills ... in the first half of her 1984 book "From Novice to Expert," Benner talks about the different functions of a nurse, one of which involves the administration of medical treatments. Taken together, both sections of the book (and some of her more recent work) would cover both the development of the skills in question and also provide a context for the use of those skills within the nursing role.

    Let us know what you decide.

    Good luck,
  4. by   2bPhD
    Try Bandura's theory of self-efficacy, however he is psych and not nursing. If you are looking for a mid-range nursing theory check out...

    Smith, M., Lierhr, P. (2003). Middle Rante Theory for Nursing. NY: Springer.

    Most of these theories, however focus on direct patient care. If you want a theoretical framework that works for any situation, go with Bandura. Nursing research is utilizing this theory more and more, and Smith has a chapter on it. Also, look at the theories that other people have used with research on your topic. That is always a good way to go. Hope this helps.