I *do* recognize the need for nursing theory - page 4

but I am a bit appalled by the theory and research classes requird for my NP program while we covered the entire cardiovascular system in 1.2 hours of Patho. Why is that ?????????????????? We have... Read More

  1. by   ZASHAGALKA
    The reason why you can't make heads or tails of theory is that it is perfectly vague to protect it from scrutiny. If you disagree, then there is plenty of room to argue that you just didn't understand. Duh! Nobody understands this junk!

    That, and in order to get a phD in nursing, you have to buy into the garbage. There's no way you can receive your degree otherwise. It's the old 2 rules of college: 1. the instructor is always right, 2. if you want to pass, see rule #1.

    And if you criticize the work, then you don't have the education to offer that opinion, because you're not a phD. Oh, if only us bedside nurses had the education to truly understand the total milieu of our base of knowledge . . .

    It's a very insular catch 22. The result is that NOBODY can tell these so-called leaders how idiotic they are because nobody but them are qualified to judge OUR body of knowledge.

    No wonder we aren't considered professional! The so-called basic tenets of our profession are protected from any rational scrutiny.

    And so the ivory towered elitists have indeed successfully defined nursing: as an unprofessional body of tripe.

    If only nursing could be defined by what the trenches ACTUALLY do for a living: now that's professional work.

    In the meantime, we are being undermined by our so-called leaders. We are being quite successfully and systematically inculcated away from professionalism. And the maddening part of the whole thing: those that deny us a true professional body of knowledge do so in the very name of professionalism.

    I would be thrilled if nursing theory was required to be in line with the buzz words of the medical field today: that they simple be evidence based.

    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Dec 5, '05
  2. by   bookwormom
    I've been thinking about it, and there do seem to be theories in medicine. Consider:


    Some are very different, others not so. But they do represent different theoretical bases.
  3. by   gauge14iv
    And just how respected are most of these in scientific circles?
  4. by   gauge14iv
    sorry - pc crashed....

    In addition - none of these medical theories purports itself to be the underlying basis upon which all medicine is practiced.

    These theories are divisions (division being a rather key term) of medicine - nursing theory tries to apply itself to ALL of the practice of nursing by everyone in every situation.
  5. by   bookwormom
    Actually, some of these theories are well accepted. Certainly the Osteopath is almost as well accepted as the MD. (In my state, the Osteopathic School is very highly respected. ) And some people (many, in fact) accept Chiropractic medicine.

    I do not think that it is correct to call Chiropractic a branch or variation of regular medicine; I believe it has an entirely different theory base. From what I've read about the origins of Chiropractic and Osteopathy, they spring from distinct philosophic perspectives. ( However, I think that Osteopathy has come very close to the mainstream.)

    I do not mean to argue about the problems caused by nursing theory, but I think that theory is implicit in medicine, nursing, etc, even if we can't identify it specifically.
  6. by   1Tulip
    Sad to say, there is no venue where nsg theory could be openly critiqued. It would be nice if there existed a professional journal with the cajones to publish a few scholarly challenges.

    I think such a challenge would have to start with some data. A questionaire could be carefully crafted in a manner that does not slant responses. Administered to nurses working directly with patients, it could measure (1) general knowledge about nursing theory (2) use of nursing theory in clinical practice (3) impressions nurses have about theory.

    Respondents to the questionaire would, of course, have to be kept annonymous. Unfortunately the authors would have to use their real names. There's the rub. I wouldn't put my name on it unless and until I had full tenure.

    Any tenured rebels out there? I don't have any experience with questionaire design. Perhaps some visitor to this thread knows how to go about getting this kind of objective data?
  7. by   grannynurse FNP student
    My, my only the nurses in the trenches have the knowledge base to articulate theorical knowledge. How presumptive of some to believe that those holding PhDs do not currently ever practice the art of bedside nursing. If all one can do is articulate the negative and their own failure to understand, even attempt to understand, they are clearly lacking in cognitive abilities. I do not understand all the aspects of nursing theorists and there are some whom is disagree with but I do respect their attempts to articulate a theorical base. And I am assuming that many of those who have problems with nursing theory, are in the same general group that feel all nursing education should be grounded on in the physical aspects of care and who are againist higher educational standards for nursing.

  8. by   gauge14iv
    I think you actaully have to seperate the need for higher education standards and the need for theory at this point in time.

    As it is now - higher educational standards simply mean more theory, not more clinical education. Until both can be adressed on their own terms, I don't think you can say that people who are against theory are against higher educational standards in nursing. I think it is feasible to say that the whole of nursing theory needs to be critically examined before we build any houses of cards on it. There has been very little critical examination of theory. And as other posters have intimated - without critical examination, it can't be taken seriously.

    It doesn't matter what theory is or isn't - if it can't be subjected to critical examination then it's worthless. Are we to believe in theory as some of us believe in God? Should nursing theory be above critical examination? In my experience, some theory thumpers seem to think so.
  9. by   1Tulip
    For the record, I have a PhD in one of the biological sciences and have done research for 14 years with a break of 3 years to teach Pharm and Pathophys on the graduate level. I hope to start a job as a bedside per diem nurse on a neuro unit this month. I have an application in for a tenure track position in a SON and, if hired, would need up to date clinical skills.

    None of which makes my opinion on Nsg. Theory any better than anyone elses'. I'm not sure I understand GrannyNurses' objection to my/our doubts about Nsg Theorists. I think she is suggesting that the anti-Theorist rhetoric is maybe anti-intellectual or anti-nursing scholarship. (She can correct me if I'm wrong.)

    It is, indeed, my strong feeling that the bedside (broadly defined) is the well from which we must draw our definitions of nursing. That context and none other. If it were shown that working nurses object to, do not use, feel frustrated and intimidated by discussion of nsg. theory, then it's time to ask why we are expending a huge (HUGE!!!) amount of academic capital preserving it.

    Somewhere, somehow, that discussion must take place.
  10. by   epg_pei
    Quote from Kelly_the_Great
    How was your presentation received from the faculty at your school?
    Well, the instructor for that particular course has very open concepts about education...so it was not your standard presentation...we did a Jerry Springer show...our guests were Rogers, Raskin, and Nightingale, as played by students...we even had a Steve...anyway, we basically poked every hole we could in Rogers theory...I don't know if faculty in general ever got wind of what we did, which may be a good thing too....:chuckle
  11. by   gauge14iv

    I agree Tulip!!! Do we pour vast amounts of money and researchers time and patients lives into therapeutics that don't show evidence over time? No, we abandon them for something else, we keep looking, we learn from what has NOT served us and move on. I don't see that happening with much of theory. We will not attain different results by continuing to do the same thing! Inquiry does not demand that we accept theory at it's face value, inquiry would demand that we keep looking. Maybe the theoretical underpinnings are not it, maybe something else is. But we will never know unless we keep moving and keep asking and keep looking.

    To accept theory - any theory - at face value is to resign. If theory isn't it, then perhaps evidence and science is, but won't ever know unless we reject theory as it stands and LOOK for whatever else it might be.

    The rejection of theory is the basis of it's proof. Scholars in any field must consider the popular thoery and thought AND consider it's rejection if for no other reason than to prove that it's valid.
  12. by   krisssy
    Quote from tencat
    The field of Education has theory.....and the vast majority of it is a lot of crap that is TOTALLY useless in the classroom ( I taught for 12 years ). So nursing ought to embrace theory in the same way as education? IT DOESN'T WORK FOR EDUCATION, why the heck would it work for nursing? It isn't going to make other professions automatically respect nursing if we have a base of theory. As another poster pointed out, Med students and law students don't sit around studying a base of theory. I think nursing is on the right track when using evidence to back up practice. That makes sense to me. If it works, use it. If not, don't use it. Any physician has to have evidence that his/her treatment is effective and must decide to continue or try something different based on solid evidence. Theory is not solid evidence.

    This might be a bit off topic, but any profession that has a diagnosis "disturbed energy field" is not going to get the respect that it wants. What is the evidence that backs up that diagnosis?
    I, also, was a teacher-for 25 years. I was highly respected, teacher of the year, a mentor etc. etc. etc. I never used educational theory. Honestly, I don't even remember what it is. My teaching was based on evidence to back up practice. At the beginning, I learned by watching other teachers who I thought were good at their job and by reading everything that made good sense to me.. Eventually, by trial and error, I learned to be great in my field. I learned by EXPERIENCE and observation of the good and bad teaching skills around me. I learned by observing the children. I learned by doing, reading, listening and observing everything around me. I learned by years and years of very hard work bringing suitcases full of books home each night. I learned by trial and error and trying new things and ways. When something worked, I continued to use it. If it didn't work, that was the end of it. Toward the end of my career, they came out with Educational Standards and constant meetings to discuss them. No one used these standards, and half the teachers didn't even understand them. What the new teachers wanted to know from me was, "How do you do what you do so well?" "Show me, teach me, talk to me, help me, share with me, observe me, let me observe you etc. I spent hours after school showing new teachers how to teach. We talked, and they listened , and they observed, and they learned well. The theories and the standards were words that meant nothing to any of us EXCEPT the people on the committees wasting their time writing about theory and standards that everyone ignored, because they were boring and not practrical at all.

    As far as nursing, I am just starting my NP in Psych program this winter. My first course is Theory. I am enjoying listening to what everyone here has to say about nursing theory. I will let you know what I think when the course starts. Please keep sharing your thoughts. I am really looking forward to taking the course so I can share my own opinions! Right now, I agree with this poster, "Evidence to back up practice seems the way to go for me as of now! At least that is what worked when I was teaching. Krisssy
  13. by   1Tulip
    14 guage is absolutely correct. The object of research is to reject the null hypothesis. If you're not doing that, you are not doing science. And likely you aren't doing scholarship.