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Using Nursing Theory in Practice?

mooseRN mooseRN (New) New Nurse Student

Has 1 years experience.

I am currently a student in an FNP program. I'm taking a class on Nursing Theory and am wondering if any current NP's or other Master's level nurses could share some insight on how they use nursing theory in their day to day practice?

KatieMI, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine. Has 7 years experience.

Nursing theory is commonly known as "fluff" by a reason. Forget it next moment after exam. Spend your time on patho, pharma and clinicals, you'll need them

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

On 6/10/2020 at 5:10 PM, mooseRN said:

I am currently a student in an FNP program. I'm taking a class on Nursing Theory and am wondering if any current NP's or other Master's level nurses could share some insight on how they use nursing theory in their day to day practice?

Homework question?

mooseRN

Has 1 years experience.

2 minutes ago, BostonFNP said:

Homework question?

Yes, We are supposed to talk to someone actively practicing about how they use theory in their practice.

BostonFNP, APRN

Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

Just now, mooseRN said:

Yes, We are supposed to talk to someone actively practicing about how they use theory in their practice.

It's best to be honest about that from the start, if you are looking for responses.

Consider for a minute that these assignments are designed to engage students NPs with local practicing NPs to develop a network and perhaps a mentorship. Have you reached out to any local providers to get their thoughts?

Numenor, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

I honestly want to help but when my day consists of chart review, writing notes, calling consults and rounding I can't think of literally any time where I use "nursing theory". Even though we are advanced NURSES, our job is largely grounded in medicine. We couldn't do our job otherwise.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 43 years experience.

I am not an NP. So my thoughts can't count in your homework assignment. But my thoughts might help you initiate a productive conversation with an NP that will help with the assignment.

I occasionally teach theory and have found that most people develop wrong ideas about its use because of the way it is often taught. Students come to think that in order to "use" theory, you have to do something major and complete some sort of complicated process. In reality, the purpose of theory is to help us organize our thoughts and information. Over the years, different theorists have focused on different topics and in different ways.

Have you ever interacted (assessed) a patient and thought, "This guy is not taking care of himself well? He's not eating well, he's not taking care of that wound right, he's not exercising like he should, etc." Have you then thought, "What can I do to do help him take better care of himself?" If you have ever had that kind of patient interaction, then you were almost certainly using Orem's Self-Care Theory. You were thinking in terms of the patient's self-care and hopefully came up with some things you could do or say (nursing interventions) to get him to take better care of himself. That kind of thinking was ingrained in you in nursing school and you probably use it automatically without consciously labeling it as "using nursing theory." You just think of it as "informed common sense."

Have you ever gone out of your want to be extra nice, kind, compassionate, etc. to a patient because you thought they needed a little extra TLC? Well, that is a use of any one of the Caring Theories out their. Once again, you may not consciously think about the specifics of the caring theories you studied in school as you use them ... but you probably picked up a few ideas or inclinations as you studied those theories that show up in your practice later.

etc. etc. etc. A lot of nurses write theory off as "fluff" because it is not of particular interest to them. But we all organize our thoughts in our head and we have all had our thinking influenced by the theories that we have been exposed to over the years -- even if we are not conscious of our use of them as we go about our practice. Your assignment is asking you to think about how you organize your thoughts and how concepts you learned about in nursing school influence your practice, even if it is subconsciously. It is asking you to do some deep reflection that not everyone likes to do - or does naturally -- to be a scholar of your practice and not just a technician.

Numenor, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 8 years experience.

13 hours ago, llg said:

I am not an NP. So my thoughts can't count in your homework assignment. But my thoughts might help you initiate a productive conversation with an NP that will help with the assignment.

I occasionally teach theory and have found that most people develop wrong ideas about its use because of the way it is often taught. Students come to think that in order to "use" theory, you have to do something major and complete some sort of complicated process. In reality, the purpose of theory is to help us organize our thoughts and information. Over the years, different theorists have focused on different topics and in different ways.

Have you ever interacted (assessed) a patient and thought, "This guy is not taking care of himself well? He's not eating well, he's not taking care of that wound right, he's not exercising like he should, etc." Have you then thought, "What can I do to do help him take better care of himself?" If you have ever had that kind of patient interaction, then you were almost certainly using Orem's Self-Care Theory. You were thinking in terms of the patient's self-care and hopefully came up with some things you could do or say (nursing interventions) to get him to take better care of himself. That kind of thinking was ingrained in you in nursing school and you probably use it automatically without consciously labeling it as "using nursing theory." You just think of it as "informed common sense."

Have you ever gone out of your want to be extra nice, kind, compassionate, etc. to a patient because you thought they needed a little extra TLC? Well, that is a use of any one of the Caring Theories out their. Once again, you may not consciously think about the specifics of the caring theories you studied in school as you use them ... but you probably picked up a few ideas or inclinations as you studied those theories that show up in your practice later.

etc. etc. etc. A lot of nurses write theory off as "fluff" because it is not of particular interest to them. But we all organize our thoughts in our head and we have all had our thinking influenced by the theories that we have been exposed to over the years -- even if we are not conscious of our use of them as we go about our practice. Your assignment is asking you to think about how you organize your thoughts and how concepts you learned about in nursing school influence your practice, even if it is subconsciously. It is asking you to do some deep reflection that not everyone likes to do - or does naturally -- to be a scholar of your practice and not just a technician.

This is actually a pretty good way to explain nursing theory. My problem with graduate nursing educations is that they put these theories on some sort of quantum physics level of detail requiring immense projects/papers which reduces the foundations and practicality of said theories into dust.

I can assure anyone here that if you every work inpatient, social/dispo problems are a literal nightmare and self care deficits are VERY evident.

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