Systems theory


What is an easy way to explain system theory in relationship to healthcare? Theory is not my strong point.

classicdame, MSN, EdD

2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

which system theory? There are several related to nursing. Think of theory as a possible explanation of how things work. If you can pick out the concepts of the theory then you can elaborate on the concept. For instance, in Orlando's Dynamic Nurse-Patient Relationship Theory she advocates the nurse and the patient working together to assess and re-evaluate the condition of the patient. That theory has evolved into the nursing process. The concepts would be assessment, diagnosis, planning an intervention-----. If you can define the concepts you know the theory. In this example she refers to the relationship as dynamic - always changing.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

I assume you are talking about General Systems Theory -- and not one of the many specific nursing theories based on General Systems Theory and/or Open Systems Theory.

Start with a basic diagram and explanation of the components of a system -- Input, Throughput, Output, and Feedback -- and go from there. Once you have defined those concepts and desribed the basic systems perspective ... give some specific examples of systems within health care ... identifying the input, throughput, output, and feedback within those examples. Don't forget to talk about the interaction with the environment as that is one of the important principles in Systems Theory.

If you are talking about a specific nursing theory based on General Systems Theory, you may have to start with an overview of General Systems Theory ... and then progress to the specific nursing theory, showing how the concepts and principles of the nursing theory mirror those of General Systems Theory. Use examples to illustrate how the theory applies to nursing situations relevant to the audience.

I suspect you may have to go back and review the concepts and principles of the theory as a starting point. Clarify both in your mind (and maybe on a handout) ... and then illustrate them with examples. That's how you teach any theory.

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

The best way to prepare to explain anything at all is to know it yourself so thoroughly that you can explain it in your sleep. This goes for arterial blood gases, how to change a car tire, the Collecting Merit Badge, Cushing's Triad, or systems theory. IIg has given you a good outline to prepare ... now go fill in the blanks.