Nursing Theorists - page 2

by Spidey's mom Guide

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Hello - I'm just starting a nursing theory class for my RN-BSN program and we've started with Jean Watson and Betty Neuman. I actually met Jean at a conference about a month ago. Nice lady. Who would YOU all say is the most... Read More


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    Here's a very funny article about Martha Rogers, if you haven't seen it:

    http://jef.raskincenter.org/publishe...ryForSite.html
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    The school at which I completed my BSN (proud diploma grad here ) based its curriculum on Rogers' theory. I found her ideas extremely interesting and engaging to read and discuss -- it's just a darned shame that they have nothing at all to do with nursing! (On the other hand, ol' Martha was quite a character, and I've suspected for years that she may have intended the whole business as an elaborate practical joke on the rest of us. )

    On the other hand, she's the only nursing theorist who has spawned an entire industry of mid-level theorists who spend their entire academic careers trying to explain just what Dr. Rogers meant and how it really does apply to nursing, regardless of what the rest of us think ...
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    I've read that article - very funny.

    Elkpark - our university bases its program on Jean Watson, which is why she was here recently.

    Thanks so much you all for responding - this has been interesting.

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Jun 13, '08
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    Like many nurses, I learned a little about nursing theory in college but didn't fully grasp its significance for nursing at the time. I also didn't fully integrate its use into my practice at the time. However, as I got more experience as a practicing nurse (both as a staff nurse and CNS) and went to graduate school twice, my understanding and appreciation of the nurse theorsits has grown enormously.

    Today, my primary job is in Nursing Staff Development. I work full time for a hospital. But I also teach a Nursing Theory class (and a nursing research class) for a local university in their BSN completion program. I am having a terrific time with that as the students and I together explore the different theories and relate them to our practice. I think that having had at least a couple of years of nursing practice experience makes it easier for my students to fully appreciate what the theories can contribute to their undestanding of situations that occur in nursing.

    I am a huge advocate of the use of multiple theories -- of not just picking one upon which to base your practice. I see each theory as a tool to be used. Just as I wouldn't assume that only 1 tool (such as a hammer or a wrench) would be the only tool I would need to build a house, I would not assume that I only needed one theory to understand all aspects of the world around me. As one of my students said at the end of the semester "Each theory is like a different color of paint. While you can paint a picture with just different shades of one color ... you get the most realistic painting if you use multiple colors of paint. Each theory is a different color on the artists pallette."

    Also, as I've re-explored the thoeries over the last couple of years, I have discovered "new" aspects of some of them that I never really understood before. Some theories I didn't like in the past are becoming my favorites and other theories that seemed so great in the past don't impress me as much. I am also havng fun exploring some of the new theories that most people never heard of. As we have seen a growth in graduate level nursing programs, the volume of work being done in nursing research and theory development/testing has increased. The new work is taking nursing theory beyond what it was in decades past -- often in directions that relate to issues relevant to contemporary nursing such as outcomes measurement and cost containment. The practical use of theory is emphasized more than it was in some past eras. That's an exciting development.

    Some of my favorite theories (at the moment):

    Benner -- ( classic for anyone is staff development

    Kristin Swanson -- I prefer her caring theory over Watson's even though Watson was one of my grad school professors. I think Watson has been the most influential theorist in recent years, but the spriritual aspects of her theory are difficult for some people to relate to and it can be difficult to translate her theory into practical, measurable outcomes. I love Swanson's definition of nursing as "informed caring for the well-being of others."

    Rogers -- hard to grasp the universe as being composed of energy rather than matter, but I admire her courage for putting "something new and different" out there.

    Parse -- Like Rogers, her theory is very hard to grasp and I doubt it will ever be mainstream, but as I read it again this past year, I finally "got it" and found it excitingly profound.

    The Synergy Theory -- developed by the critical care nursing association. Yes, it's a theory developed by a committee (a scary idea if ever there was one) ... and I have a few quibbles with it ... but it's basic underlying idea is one I really like for use in actual practice. It was designed to provide nursing leadership (as well as for bedside nurses) to provide a structure for the provision of nursing services. We need that. This would be my pick if I were going to have to pick one theory to serve as a foundation for nursing practice. It includes all the other theories as pieces within its comprehensive overview.

    Henderson -- the giant of the 20th century ... Probably my #1 pick if I had to pick just one person whose work I respected the most.
    Last edit by llg on Jun 13, '08
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    Quote from llg
    Like many nurses, I learned a little about nursing theory in college but didn't fully grasp its significance for nursing at the time. I also didn't fully integrate its use into my practice at the time. However, as I got more experience as a practicing nurse (both as a staff nurse and CNS) and went to graduate school twice, my understanding and appreciation of the nurse theorsits has grown enormously.

    Today, my primary job is in Nursing Staff Development. I work full time for a hospital. But I also teach a Nursing Theory class (and a nursing research class) for a local university in their BSN completion program. I am having a terrific time with that as the students and I together explore the different theories and relate them to our practice. I think that having had at least a couple of years of nursing practice experience makes it easier for my students to fully appreciate what the theories can contribute to their undestanding of situations that occur in nursing.

    I am a huge advocate of the use of multiple theories -- of not just picking one upon which to base your practice. I see each theory as a tool to be used. Just as I wouldn't assume that only 1 tool (such as a hammer or a wrench) would be the only tool I would need to build a house, I would not assume that I only needed one theory to understand all aspects of the world around me. As one of my students said at the end of the semester "Each theory is like a different color of paint. While you can paint a picture with just different shades of one color ... you get the most realistic painting if you use multiple colors of paint. Each theory is a different color on the artists pallette."

    Also, as I've re-explored the thoeries over the last couple of years, I have discovered "new" aspects of some of them that I never really understood before. Some theories I didn't like in the past are becoming my favorites and other theories that seemed so great in the past don't impress me as much. I am also havng fun exploring some of the new theories that most people never heard of. As we have seen a growth in graduate level nursing programs, the volume of work being done in nursing research and theory development/testing has increased. The new work is taking nursing theory beyond what it was in decades past -- often in directions that relate to issues relevant to contemporary nursing such as outcomes measurement and cost containment. The practical use of theory is emphasized more than it was in some past eras. That's an exciting development.

    Some of my favorite theories (at the moment):

    Benner -- ( classic for anyone is staff development

    Kristin Swanson -- I prefer her caring theory over Watson's even though Watson was one of my grad school professors. I think Watson has been the most influential theorist in recent years, but the spriritual aspects of her theory are difficult for some people to relate to and it can be difficult to translate her theory into practical, measurable outcomes. I love Swanson's definition of nursing as "informed caring for the well-being of others."

    Rogers -- hard to grasp the universe as being composed of energy rather than matter, but I admire her courage for putting "something new and different" out there.

    Parse -- Like Rogers, her theory is very hard to grasp and I doubt it will ever be mainstream, but as I read it again this past year, I finally "got it" and found it excitingly profound.

    Henderson -- the giant of the 20th century ... Probably my #1 pick if I had to pick just one

    Thank you llg, and everyone else:flowersfo
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Jun 13, '08
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    Quote from Spidey's mom
    Hello - I'm just starting a nursing theory class for my RN-BSN program and we've started with Jean Watson and Betty Neuman. I actually met Jean at a conference about a month ago. Nice lady.

    Who would YOU all say is the most influential nurse theorist and why do you think so?

    Thanks - steph
    most influential, IMHO would be Nightingale--I consider her a theorist; one could argue she revolutionized health care with her attention to sanitation and keeping notes and statistics; without her work during the Crimean War, are we where we are today?

    Quote from elkpark
    I am also a big fan of Henderson and also, since my field is psych, Hildegard Peplau, the "mother" of psychiatric nursing.
    sadly, we did not cover Peplau in the theory class I took; it's no coincidence that there is a lot of anti-psych sentiment at the school; any neat little websites about her that you know of?
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    Quote from PsychRN03
    sadly, we did not cover Peplau in the theory class I took; it's no coincidence that there is a lot of anti-psych sentiment at the school; any neat little websites about her that you know of?
    Well, back in the day, I learned about her and her theory the old-fashioned way -- you know, words on paper :chuckle But here is the "official" HP website, and I'm sure that would be a good start.

    http://publish.uwo.ca/~cforchuk/peplau/hpcb.html
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    Quote from llg
    Watson .....the spriritual aspects of her theory are difficult for some people to relate to and it can be difficult to translate her theory into practical, measurable outcomes. Henderson -- the giant of the 20th century ... Probably my #1 pick if I had to pick just one person whose work I respected the most.

    I'm in the same program with Stephanie and really interested in the different theories. We talked at length about Watson and I agree with your above statement. Her theory has been very difficult for me to relate with. I have an overall general understanding but it just seems so far out there.

    As for my #1 pick, I really appreciate the Basic Principles of Nursing Care by Henderson. I think more so because I'm a new nurse and those basic principles of care apply to "any person regardless of diagnosis or treatment".:redpinkhe
    llg likes this.
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    Quote from Heart4RN
    I'm in the same program with Stephanie and really interested in the different theories. We talked at length about Watson and I agree with your above statement. Her theory has been very difficult for me to relate with. I have an overall general understanding but it just seems so far out there.

    As for my #1 pick, I really appreciate the Basic Principles of Nursing Care by Henderson. I think more so because I'm a new nurse and those basic principles of care apply to "any person regardless of diagnosis or treatment".:redpinkhe
    Yes, Watson is "out there." That's a phrase we used in grad school. Another expression that sometimes crept into our conversation was that we were on the "cutting edge" of nursing scholarship and sometimes were afraid that we were falling off the edge!

    Seriously ... if you like the idea of caring, but have trouble relating to Watson ... look up the work of Kristen Swanson. She has studied the process of caring in a way that is much less mystical and more pragmatic. She uses it as a foundation for outcomes research and it is more concrete and easier to relate to actual practice situations. As a former student of Watson, her work is compatable with Watson's theory -- but has a more practical, down-to-earth tone.
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    Quote from llg
    Yes, Watson is "out there." That's a phrase we used in grad school. Another expression that sometimes crept into our conversation was that we were on the "cutting edge" of nursing scholarship and sometimes were afraid that we were falling off the edge!

    Seriously ... if you like the idea of caring, but have trouble relating to Watson ... look up the work of Kristen Swanson. She has studied the process of caring in a way that is much less mystical and more pragmatic. She uses it as a foundation for outcomes research and it is more concrete and easier to relate to actual practice situations. As a former student of Watson, her work is compatable with Watson's theory -- but has a more practical, down-to-earth tone.
    Thank you for mentioning Kristen Swanson.

    I forgot to add that I asked for a "favor" (answering the original question here) on another forum and there is an answer to the question I posted here on there. (If that makes sense - I'm tired).

    Here is the link for that thread and a lengthy and interesting post.

    http://allnurses.com/forums/f223/favor-309750.html

    steph
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Jun 24, '08


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