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NURS 5327 Explorations in Nursing Theory and Science

  • Identifying Primary and Secondary Sources
  • Choosing a Nursing Theory
  • In the Library Catalog
  • In Google Scholar
  • Who Cited My Theorist? (Cited Reference Search)
  • APA Help This link opens in a new window
  • Writing Help

Finding a Nursing Theory

If you're unsure where to get started to find a nursing theory for your assignments, these resources can help.

The first few links are websites that list nurse theorists and their theories. The next links are ebooks about nursing theories, some may contain primary sources (hint: check the chapter author, is it the theorist?)

  • Nursing Theories and Theorists (Nurselabs) This guide for nursing theories aims to help you understand what comprises a nursing theory and its importance, purpose, history, types, or classifications, and give you an overview through summaries of selected nursing theories.
  • Nurse Theories (Nursology)

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  • Last Updated: Sep 29, 2023 2:00 PM
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Concept Analysis in Nursing: Concept Analysis Assignment

Concept analysis assignment.

  • Finding Journal Articles
  • Writing & Citing

Selected Books

Search the Library's online catalog for these and other books

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Selected Journal Articles

Some of these articles are freely accessible. For those that are not, you must be a currently enrolled JSU student, or a staff or faculty member to access them.

  • Concept Analysis: Examining the State of the Science. Hupcey, J. E., & Penrod, J. (2005). Concept Analysis: Examining the State of the Science. Research and Theory for Nursing Practice: An International Journal, 19(2), 197–208.
  • Concept analysis: method to enhance interdisciplinary conceptual understanding Bonis, S. A. (2013). Concept analysis: method to enhance interdisciplinary conceptual understanding. Advances in Nursing Science, 2, 80.
  • A Guide to Concept Analysis Foley, A. S., & Davis, A. H. (2017). A Guide to Concept Analysis. Clinical Nurse Specialist CNS, 31(2), 70–73.

What is Concept Analysis?

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A concept is usually one or two words that convey meaning, understanding or feelings between or among individuals within a same discipline. It is a measurable variable in a theory or conceptual model.  Concepts are the building blocks of theories.  They can be concrete or abstract and serve to classify the phenomena of interest (Alligood, 2018).

A concept analysis is an exercise designed to make the nursing student as familiar as possible with a concept. It is an important step in communicating meaning, understanding and feelings.

Reference Sources to Help Define Concepts

nursing theory assignment

Library Tutorials/Helpful Videos

Health and sciences librarian.

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Web Resources

  • Basic and Advanced Searching Guide to basic searching and using Boolean operator. (AND,OR, NOT)
  • Nurse Theorists and Nursing Theories This subject guide from Indiana University (Kokomo) contains information on a list of nurse theorists.
  • Nursing Theory Link Page List of nursing theory and theorists compiled by Clayton State University.
  • Next: Finding Journal Articles >>
  • Last Updated: Oct 23, 2023 4:18 PM
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Nursing theories & theorists explained.

Kathleen Gaines

What is Nursing Theory?

Nursing theory is "a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas that project a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena," per the book  Integrated Theory and Knowledge Development in Nursing.

Nursing theory provides the foundational knowledge that enables nurses to care for their patients and guides their actions. Theories are in place, regardless of nursing specialization, to establish guidelines for both broad and specific nursing practices.

Nursing theory is heavily influenced by Florence Nightingale's pioneering work, which significantly influenced the modern  nursing definition . Nightingale's Environmental Theory stated that nursing “ought to signify the proper use of fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet, and the proper selection and administration of diet – all at the least expense of vital power to the patient.” 

By identifying potential risk factors for illness or conditions that would exacerbate an illness and potentially lead to death, Nightingale saw the importance of a patient’s environment to their overall health and well-being. As a result, healthcare professionals, including nurses, began to treat patients differently and the start of population health and public health is seen. 

In Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory, she identified five environmental factors: 

  • Efficient drainage 
  • Cleanliness or sanitation
  • Light or direct sunlight

These factors were essential to decrease the spread of contagious diseases and decreasing mortality and morbidity. 

While Florence Nightingale may have introduced the first nursing theory in 1860, it is still extremely relevant today. In countries where fresh air, pure water, efficient drainage, cleanliness or sanitation, and light or direct sunlight are not present, morbidity and mortality are increased. 

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What are nursing theories used for.

Nursing theories provide the foundation for nursing practice and are essential to the care of patients. Academic hospitals and Magnet hospitals will consistently ensure that nursing theories are incorporated into their policies and procedures to ensure best practice is being used. 

Most nurses and institutions will employ a variety of nursing theories within their everyday practice versus just one theory. Most do it unknowingly. 

Nursing theories help bedside nurses evaluate patient care and base nursing interventions on the evaluation of the findings. 

The theories can also provide nurses with the rationale to make certain decisions. An example of a nursing theory in use is seen in the care of a Jehovah’s Witnesses patient that does not believe in blood transfusions. While the patient may need a blood transfusion, Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care theory provides nurses with a solid basis for assisting their patients and giving them the opportunity to express independence and control in caring for themselves. While the nurse may not agree with the patient’s decision to not receive a blood transfusion, Orem’s theory suggests the importance of allowing the patient to make the decision and respecting it as their own choice. 

Oftentimes, the integration of nursing theory is not as obvious as in the aforementioned example. However, it is important for nurses and nursing students to understand and respect the importance of nursing theories and their impact on modern-day nursing and healthcare. 

Who are Nursing Theories Used By?

While all nurses, regardless of position and specialty, utilize nursing theories in their practice, not all nurses are aware of their implications. Generally speaking, most nursing theories are used by nurse educators and nurse researchers. 

Nurse educators will utilize nursing theories in designing course curriculums based on educational principles, research, and theories to provide nursing students with the knowledge and skills needed to provide care to their patients. 

Nurse researchers will conduct theory-guided research in order to create best practices and to predict potential clinical problems or explain existing knowledge. 

Nursing Metaparadigms 

There have been countless nursing theories introduced since Florence Nightingale's Environmental Theory, including Imogene King‘s Theory of Goal and Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model. What they all have in common is they center around the nursing metaparadigm.

A metaparadigm is a set of theories or ideas that provide structure for how a discipline should function. Nursing metaparadigms were first classified by Fawcett into four specific categories, 

  • Environment

These four concepts are fundamental to all nursing theories and without identification of them and their relevance to the theory, it is incomplete.

Furthermore, these four basic nursing metaparadigms point to the holistic care of a patient and their medical health is interconnected to the four concepts. 

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The Four Main Concepts of Nursing Theory

Fawcett’s four specific concepts help define nursing and set it apart from other disciplines and professions. These four concepts have been used to define the context and content of the nursing profession. The person is the most important concept in nursing theory, but each theorist's interpretation of the other concepts is how to differentiate between them. 

Person (also referred to as Client or Human Being) is the recipient of nursing care and may include individuals, patients, groups, families, and communities.

2. Environment

Environment or situation is defined as the internal and external surroundings that affect the patient. It includes all positive or negative conditions that affect the patient, the physical environment, such as families, friends, and significant others, and the setting for where they go for their healthcare.

Health is defined as the degree of wellness or well-being that the client experiences. It may have different meanings for each patient, the clinical setting, and the health care provider.

The attributes, characteristics, and actions of the nurse providing care on behalf of or in conjunction with, the client. 

Levels of Nursing Theory

Nursing theories are categorized into three levels including, 

  • Grand Nursing Theories
  • Mid-range Nursing Theories
  • Nursing Practice Theories

Grand Nursing Theories 

These are theories based on broad, abstract, and complex concepts. They provide the general framework for nursing ideas pertaining to components such as people and health. These theories typically stem from a nurse theorist’s own experience.

Mid-Range Nursing Theories 

These are theories that drill down into specific areas of nursing rather than deal with sweeping concepts. They can emerge from nursing practice, research, or from the theories of similar disciplines.

Nursing Practice Theories 

These are theories that narrow their focus even further, specifically focusing on concepts concerning a defined patient population. These theories tend to directly affect patients more than the other two types of theories. Bedside nurses will often use these theories in their everyday practice. 

Nursing Theorists

We talked about Nightingale and Orems' role as nursing theorists and reviewed their respective theories. Let's explore the work of some other notable nursing theorists and how their work helps nurses and other healthcare providers give better patient care.

Virginia Henderson: Nursing Need Theory

Virginia Henderson's Nursing Need Theory centers around the concept of basic human needs. Henderson believed that the role of a nurse is to assist individuals in meeting their fundamental needs and help them increase their independence. 

Her theory emphasizes the nurse's role in supporting patients in activities such as:

Maintaining desired postures

Dress and undress


Communicating fears, opinions, and needs, and

Worshiping according to their faith

Jean Watson:  Theory of Human Caring

Jean Watson is a contemporary nursing theorist renowned for her Theory of Human Caring . Watson emphasizes the importance of creating a caring and compassionate relationship between the nurse and the patient. 

Her theory focuses on  ten factors:

Upholding humanistic-altruistic values by practicing kindness and compassion

Being genuinely present and fostering faith, hope, and belief systems while respecting the subjective experiences of oneself and others

Cultivating self-awareness and spiritual practices, transcending ego-centeredness to achieve a transpersonal presence.

Developing and nurturing loving, trusting, and caring relationships

Encouraging the expression of both positive and negative emotions, actively listening to others' stories without judgment

Applying creative problem-solving through the caring-healing process

Engaging in transpersonal teaching and learning within a caring relationship, adapting to the individual's perspective and transitioning towards a coaching approach for enhanced health

Creating a healing environment on various levels, fostering an atmosphere of authentic caring presence at an energetic and subtle level.

Acknowledging the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit while upholding human dignity

Embracing the spiritual, mysterious, and unknown aspects of life

Madeleine Leininger: Transcultural Nursing Theory

Leininger's Transcultural Nursing Theory , also called Culture Care Theory, focuses on providing culturally congruent care by understanding and respecting the values, beliefs, and practices of diverse individuals and groups.

Hildegard Peplau: Interpersonal Relations Theory

Peplau's Interpersonal Theory of Interpersonal Relations emphasizes that the journey of nurse-patient relationships involves three pivotal stages that are essential for their success: 

The initial orientation

A dynamic working phase, and

A  thoughtful termination process

According to Peplau, the nurse's role is to facilitate the patient's growth and development by utilizing therapeutic communication, empathy, and understanding.

Betty Neuman: Neuman Systems Model

The Neuman Systems Model focuses on identifying stressors that have the potential to negatively impact an individual's health and overall well-being. It incorporates various factors such as physiological, psychological, sociocultural, and developmental aspects. 

The theory also provides a flexible structure for assessment, intervention, and evaluation in nursing practice. 

Sister Callista Roy: Adaptation Model

The Roy Adaptation Model is based on the belief that individuals are adaptive systems, constantly interacting with their environment to maintain their physiological and psychosocial integrity. It views the person as a holistic being, consisting of four interconnected adaptive modes:

Physiological Mode: Deals with physical and biological aspects of adaptation, including the body's response to stressors, maintaining homeostasis, and meeting basic physiological needs.

Self-Concept Mode: Focuses on individuals' perception of themselves, including self-esteem and self-image.

Role Function Mode: Considers the roles people have in their lives, such as spouse, parent, employee, or student. 

Interdependence Mode: Emphasizes the importance of social relationships and how individuals interact with others, such as support from social networks.

Martha Rogers: Science of Unitary Human Being

Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings believed that nursing should focus on promoting harmony and balance within the individual and their environment. 

Her theory emphasizes the interconnectedness of human beings with their surroundings and the importance of energy fields in health and healing. Spoken another way, patients cannot be considered as “separate” from their environment.

Patricia Benner: Novice to Expert Theory

Benner's Novice to Expert Theory describes the stages of nursing skill from novice to advanced beginner, and finally, to competent. 

She emphasizes the importance of practical experience and clinical judgment in nursing practice and highlights that expertise develops over time through practice and reflection.

Imogene King: Theory of Goal Attainment

King's Theory of Goal Attainment focuses on the nurse-patient relationship and the mutual goal-setting process. Her theory emphasizes that nurses and patients should collaborate to establish goals that promote the patient's well-being and health.

Katharine Kolcaba: Comfort Theory

Kolcaba's Comfort Theory highlights the significance of providing comfort to patients as a central goal of nursing care. 

Her theory defines comfort as the immediate experience of being strengthened in physical, psychospiritual, environmental, and sociocultural dimensions.

Kolcalba’s framework proposes that healthcare providers:

Assess if patient’s comfort needs are not being met

Create interventions to meet those needs

Measure comfort prior to and after the interventions

Nursing Theory in Practice

Nursing theories are used every day in practice even if nurses aren’t aware of their use. Theories help guide evidence-based research which then leads to best practices and policies. These policies and procedures keep patients safe, while providing the best care possible. 

Nursing theories also allow nurses to positively influence the health and well-being of their patients beyond taking care of them at the bedside. Nursing theory-guided practice helps improve the quality of care delivered and helps continue to move the nursing profession forward into the 21st century. 

Most bedside nurses will not necessarily know the theories behind their practice so their usefulness is often dismissed. Advanced practice nurses, nurse scholars, nurse educators, and nurse researchers are most likely going to be up to date on current nursing theories and their impact on the nursing profession. 

Nursing theories should continue to guide nursing practice both in academia and at the bedside. It allows nurses to provide current best-practice care to their patients while also impacting them beyond the bedside. Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory was groundbreaking during the 1860s and helped change the course of nursing and healthcare while changing the outcomes of patients through the identification of environmental factors that may hinder their health and well-being. 

Nursing Theory FAQs

What are the major nursing theories .

  • All nursing theories encompass person, environment, health, and the nurse and are categorized into three hierarchies: grand nursing theories, middle-range nursing theories, and practice level nursing theories.  

What are examples of nursing theory? 

  • Some examples of nursing theories include the Environmental Theory, the Casey Model of Nursing, the Martha Rogers Theory, the Tidal Model, and the Cultural Care Theory. 

What is the Casey model of nursing?

  • The Casey Model of Nursing is a model of nursing designed to encompass the child-health relationship with five focuses: child, family, health, environment, and the nurse. 

What is Martha Roger's Theory?

  • The Martha Rogers Theory of nursing looks at people as “unitary” human beings that can’t be divided into parts and nursing as a blend of both art and science. 

What is a partnership model in nursing?

  • It’s a patient and family-centered care system that focuses on partnership between the two, along with education, support, communication, and collaborative practice.

What are the principles of the tidal model? 

  • The tidal model of nursing has 6 principles: curiosity, virtue, mystery investigation, respect of the person, crisis as an opportunity, possessing goals, and pursuit of elegance.
  • Dorothea Orem: Self-Care Deficit Theory

Dorothea Orem's Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory

Dorothea Orem is a nurse theorist who pioneered the Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory . Get to know Orem’s biography and works, including a discussion about the major concepts, subconcepts, nursing metaparadigm, and application of Self- Care Deficit Theory.

Table of Contents

Self-care theory, appointments of dorothea orem, works of dorothea orem, awards and honors of dorothea orem, description, assumptions of the self-care deficit theory, environment, self-care agency, basic conditioning factors, therapeutic self-care demand, self-care deficit, nursing agency, nursing system, self-care requisites, universal self-care requisites, theory of self-care deficit, wholly compensatory nursing system, partial compensatory nursing system, supportive-educative system, nursing diagnosis & care plans, implementation & evaluation, analysis of the self-care deficit theory, limitations, recommended resources, external links, further reading, biography of dorothea e. orem.

Dorothea Elizabeth Orem (July 15, 1914 – June 22, 2007) was one of America’s foremost nursing theorists who developed the Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory , also known as the Orem Model of Nursing .

Her theory defined Nursing as “The act of assisting others in the provision and management of self-care to maintain or improve human functioning at the home level of effectiveness.” It focuses on each individual’s ability to perform self-care, defined as “the practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf in maintaining life, health, and well-being.”

Dorothea Orem was born on July 15, 1914, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father was a construction worker, and her mother is a homemaker. She was the youngest among two daughters.

In the early 1930s, she earned her nursing diploma from the Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, D.C. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1939 and her Master’s of Science in Nursing in 1945, both from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Dorothea Elizabeth Orem

Dorothea Orem attended Seton High School in Baltimore and graduated in 1931. She received a diploma from the Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, D.C., in 1934. She went on to the Catholic University of America to earn a B.S. in Nursing Education in 1939 and an M.S. in Nursing Education in 1945.

She had a distinguished career in nursing. She earned several Honorary Doctorate degrees. She was given Honorary Doctorates of Science from Georgetown University in 1976 and Incarnate Word College in 1980. She was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1988 and a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Missouri in Columbia in 1998.

Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory focuses on each “individual’s ability to perform self-care, defined as ‘the practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf in maintaining life, health, and well-being.'”  The Self-Care or Self-Care Deficit Theory of Nursing is composed of three interrelated theories: (1) the theory of self-care, (2) the self-care deficit theory, and (3) the theory of nursing systems, which is further classified into wholly compensatory, partially compensatory and supportive-educative. It is discussed further below.

Photo of Dorothea Orem by Lynne Nickle, 1988

Dorothea Orem occupied important nursing positions, like the directorship of both the nursing school and the nursing department at Providence Hospital, Detroit, from 1940 to 1949, where she also taught biological sciences and nursing from 1939 to 1941. At the Catholic University of America, Orem served as Assistant Professor from 1959 to 1964, Associate Professor from 1964 to 1970, and Dean of the School of Nursing from 1965 to 1966.

She also served as curriculum consultant to The Office of Education, United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Practical Nurse Section in 1958, 1959, and 1960, to the Division of Hospital and Institutional Services, The Indiana State Board of Health from 1949 to 1957, and to the Center for Experimentation and Development in Nursing, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1969-1971, and to the Director of Nursing, Wilmer Clinic, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 1975-1976.

She was a group of nurse theorists who presented Patterns of Unitary Man (Humans), the initial framework for nursing diagnosis , to the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association in 1982.

Dorothea Orem helped publish the “Guidelines for Developing Curricula for the Education of Practical Nurses” in 1959.

In 1971 Orem published Nursing: Concepts of Practice, the work in which she outlines her nursing theory, the Self-care Deficit Theory of Nursing. This work’s success and the theory it presents established Orem as a leading theorist of nursing practice and education.

She also served as chairperson of the Nursing Development Conference Group, and in 1973 edited that group’s work in the book Concept Formalization in Nursing.

She authored many other papers and, during the 1970s and 1980s, spoke at numerous conferences and workshops around the world. The International Orem Society was founded to foster research and the continued development of Orem’s nursing theories.

The second edition of Nursing: Concept of Practice was published in 1980. Orem retired in 1984, but she continued to work on the third edition, published in 1985; the fourth edition of her book was completed in 1991. She continued to work on the conceptual development of Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory.

Orem continued to be active in theory development. She completed the 6th edition of Nursing: Concepts of Practice, published by Mosby in January 2001.

Dorothea Orem was also given many awards during her career: the Catholic University of America Alumni Achievement Award for Nursing Theory in 1980, the Linda Richards Award from the National League for Nursing in 1991, and an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 1992.

She also received accolades for her contributions to nursing, including honorary degrees from Georgetown University, Incarnate Word College, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

She was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and received awards from the National League for Nursing and the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society.

Dorothea Orem died on June 22, 2007, in Savannah, Georgia, where she had spent the last 25 years of her life as a consultant and author. She was 92.

Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory

There are instances wherein patients are encouraged to bring out the best in them despite being ill for a period of time. This is very particular in rehabilitation settings, in which patients are entitled to be more independent after being cared for by physicians and nurses. Between 1959 and 2001, Dorothea Orem developed the Self-Care Nursing Theory or the Orem Model of Nursing. It is considered a grand nursing theory, which means the theory covers a broad scope with general concepts applicable to all instances of nursing.

Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory defined Nursing as “The act of assisting others in the provision and management of self-care to maintain or improve human functioning at the home level of effectiveness.” It focuses on each individual’s ability to perform self-care, defined as “the practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf in maintaining life, health, and well-being.”

“The condition that validates the existence of a requirement for nursing in an adult is the absence of the ability to maintain continuously that amount and quality of self-care which is therapeutic in sustaining life and health, in recovering from disease or injury , or in coping with their effects. With children, the condition is the parent’s inability (or guardian) to maintain continuity for the child the amount and quality of care that is therapeutic.” (Orem, 1991)

Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Theory assumptions are: (1) To stay alive and remain functional, humans engage in constant communication and connect among themselves and their environment. (2) The power to act deliberately is exercised to identify needs and to make needed judgments. (3) Mature human beings experience privations in the form of action in care of self and others involving making life-sustaining and function-regulating actions. (4) Human agency is exercised in discovering, developing, and transmitting to others ways and means to identify needs for, and make inputs into, self and others. (5) Groups of human beings with structured relationships cluster tasks and allocate responsibilities for providing care to group members.

Major Concepts of the Self-Care Deficit Theory

In this section are the definitions of the major concepts of Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory:

Nursing is an art through which the practitioner of nursing gives specialized assistance to persons with disabilities, making more than ordinary assistance necessary to meet self-care needs. The nurse also intelligently participates in the medical care the individual receives from the physician.

Humans are defined as “men, women, and children cared for either singly or as social units” and are the “material object” of nurses and others who provide direct care.

The environment has physical, chemical, and biological features. It includes the family, culture, and community.

Health is “being structurally and functionally whole or sound.” Also, health is a state that encompasses both the health of individuals and groups, and human health is the ability to reflect on oneself, symbolize experience, and communicate with others.

Self-care is the performance or practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf to maintain life, health, and well-being.

Orem's Self-Care Theory: Interrelationship among concepts. Click to enlarge.

Self-care agency is the human’s ability or power to engage in self-care and is affected by basic conditioning factors.

Basic conditioning factors are age, gender, developmental state, health state, socio-cultural orientation, health care system factors, family system factors, patterns of living, environmental factors, and resource adequacy and availability.

Orem's Self-Care Theory - Conceptual Framework. Click to enlarge.

Therapeutic Self-care Demand is the totality of “self-care actions to be performed for some duration to meet known self-care requisites by using valid methods and related sets of actions and operations.”

Self-care Deficit delineates when nursing is needed. Nursing is required when an adult (or in the case of a dependent, the parent or guardian) is incapable of or limited in providing continuous effective self-care.

Nursing Agency is a complex property or attribute of people educated and trained as nurses that enables them to act, know, and help others meet their therapeutic self-care demands by exercising or developing their own self-care agency.

Nursing System is the product of a series of relations between the persons: legitimate nurse and legitimate client. This system is activated when the client’s therapeutic self-care demand exceeds the available self-care agency, leading to nursing.

The Self-Care or Self-Care Deficit Theory of Nursing is composed of three interrelated theories: (1) the theory of self-care, (2) the self-care deficit theory, and (3) the theory of nursing systems, which is further classified into wholly compensatory , partially compensatory and supportive-educative .

Theory of Self-Care

This theory focuses on the performance or practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf to maintain life, health, and well-being.

Self-care Requisites or requirements can be defined as actions directed toward the provision of self-care. It is presented in three categories:

Universal self-care requisites are associated with life processes and the maintenance of the human structure and functioning integrity.

  • The maintenance of a sufficient intake of air
  • The maintenance of a sufficient intake of water
  • The maintenance of a sufficient intake of food
  • The provision of care associated with the elimination process and excrements
  • The maintenance of a balance between activity and rest
  • The maintenance of a balance between solitude and social interaction
  • The prevention of hazards to human life, human functioning, and human well-being
  • The promotion of human functioning and development within social groups in accord with human potential, known human limitations, and the human desire to be normal

Normalcy is used in the sense of that which is essentially human and that which is in accord with the genetic and constitutional characteristics and individuals’ talents.

Developmental self-care requisites

Developmental self-care requisites are “either specialized expressions of universal self-care requisites that have been particularized for developmental processes or they are new requisites derived from a condition or associated with an event.”

Health deviation self-care requisites

Health deviation self-care requisites are required in conditions of illness, injury, or disease or may result from medical measures required to diagnose and correct the condition.

  • Seeking and securing appropriate medical assistance.
  • Being aware of and attending to the effects and results of pathologic conditions and states
  • Effectively carrying out medically prescribed diagnostic, therapeutic, and rehabilitative measures.
  • Being aware of and attending to or regulating the discomforting or deleterious effects of prescribed medical measures
  • Modifying the self-concept (and self-image) in accepting oneself as being in a particular state of health and in need of specific forms of health care
  • Learning to live with the effects of pathologic conditions and states and the effects of medical diagnostic and treatment measures in a lifestyle that promotes continued personal development

This theory delineates when nursing is needed. Nursing is required when an adult (or in the case of a dependent, the parent or guardian) is incapable of or limited in providing continuous effective self-care. Orem identified 5 methods of helping:

  • Acting for and doing for others
  • Guiding others
  • Supporting another
  • Providing an environment promoting personal development about meet future demands
  • Teaching another

Theory of Nursing System

This theory is the product of a series of relations between the persons: legitimate nurse and legitimate client. This system is activated when the client’s therapeutic self-care demand exceeds the available self-care agency, leading to nursing.

This is represented by a situation in which the individual is unable “to engage in those self-care actions requiring self-directed and controlled ambulation and manipulative movement or the medical prescription to refrain from such activity… Persons with these limitations are socially dependent on others for their continued existence and well-being.”

Example: care of a newborn , care of client recovering from surgery in a post- anesthesia care unit

This is represented by a situation in which “both nurse and perform care measures or other actions involving manipulative tasks or ambulation… [Either] the patient or the nurse may have a major role in the performance of care measures.”

Example: Nurse can assist the postoperative client in ambulating, Nurse can bring a meal tray for a client who can feed himself

This is also known as a supportive-developmental system. The person “can perform or can and should learn to perform required measures of externally or internally oriented therapeutic self-care but cannot do so without assistance.”

Example: Nurse guides a mother on how to breastfeed her baby, Counseling a psychiatric client on more adaptive coping strategies.

Dorothea Orem’s Theory and The Nursing Process

The Nursing Process presents a method in determining self-care deficits and defining the roles of persons or nurses to meet the self-care demands.

  • Diagnosis and prescription; determine why nursing is needed. Analyze and interpret by making a judgment regarding care.
  • Design of a nursing system and plan for delivery of care.
  • Production and management of nursing systems.

Step 1 – Collect Data in Six Areas

  • The person’s health status
  • The physician’s perspective of the person’s health status
  • The person’s perspective of his or health health
  • The health goals within the context of life history, lifestyle, and health status.
  • The person’s requirements for self-care
  • The person’s capacity to perform self-care
  • The nurse designs a system that is wholly or partly compensatory or supportive-educative.
  • The two actions are: (1) Bringing out a good organization of the components of patients’ therapeutic self-care demands. (2) Selection of a combination of helping methods will be effective and efficient in compensating for/overcoming the patient’s self-care deficits.
  • A nurse assists the patient or family in self-care matters to identify and describe health and health-related results. Collecting evidence in evaluating results achieved against results specified in the nursing system design.
  • The etiology component of nursing diagnosis directs actions.

There is a superb focus of Orem’s work which is self-care. Even though there is a wide range of scope seen in the encompassing theory of nursing systems, Orem’s goal of letting the readers view nursing care to assist people was apparent in every concept presented.

From the definition of health which is sought to be rigid, it can now be refined by making it suitable to the general view of health as a dynamic and ever-changing state.

The role of the environment in the nurse-patient relationship , although defined by Orem, was not discussed.

Orem set nurses’ role in maintaining health for the patient with great coherence following every individual’s life-sustaining needs.

Although Orem viewed the parent’s or guardians’ importance in providing for their dependents, the definition of self-care cannot be directly applied to those who need complete care or assistance with self-care activities such as the infants and the aged.

  • A major strength of Dorothea Orem’s theory is that it is applicable for nursing by the beginning practitioner and the advanced clinicians.
  • Orem’s theory provides a comprehensive basis for nursing practice. It has utility for professional nursing in the areas of nursing practice, nursing education, and administration.
  • The terms  self-care, nursing systems,  and  self-care deficit are easily understood by the beginning student nurse and can be explored in greater depth as they gain more knowledge and experience.
  • She specifically defines when nursing is needed: Nursing is needed when the individual cannot maintain continuously that amount and quality of self-care necessary to sustain life and health, recover from disease or injury, or cope with their effects.
  • Her self-care approach is contemporary with the concepts of health promotion and health maintenance.
  • Three identifiable nursing systems were clearly delineated and are easily understood.
  • Orem’s theory, in general, is viewed as a single whole thing, while Orem defines a system as a single whole thing.
  • Orem’s theory is simple yet complex. The use of self-care in multitudes of terms, such as self-care agency, self-care demand, self-care deficit, self-care requisites, and universal self-care, can be very confusing to the reader.
  • Orem’s definition of health was confined to three static conditions, which she refers to as a “concrete nursing system,” which connotes rigidity.
  • Throughout her work, there is a limited acknowledgment of the individual’s emotional needs.
  • Health is often viewed as dynamic and ever-changing.

Orem’s theory is relatively simple but generalizable to apply to a wide variety of patients. It explains the terms self-care, nursing systems, and self-care deficit essential to students who plan to start their nursing careers.

Moreover, this theory signifies that all patients want to care for themselves. They can recover more quickly and holistically by performing their own self-care as much as they’re able. This theory is particularly used in rehabilitation and primary care or other settings where patients are encouraged to be independent.

Though this theory greatly influences every patient’s independence, the definition of self-care cannot be directly applied to those who need complete care or assistance with self-care activities such as infants and the aged.

Recommended books and resources to learn more about nursing theory:

Disclosure: Included below are affiliate links from Amazon at no additional cost from you. We may earn a small commission from your purchase. For more information, check out our privacy policy .

  • Nursing Theorists and Their Work (10th Edition) by Alligood Nursing Theorists and Their Work, 10th Edition provides a clear, in-depth look at nursing theories of historical and international significance. Each chapter presents a key nursing theory or philosophy, showing how systematic theoretical evidence can enhance decision making, professionalism, and quality of care.
  • Knowledge Development in Nursing: Theory and Process (11th Edition) Use the five patterns of knowing to help you develop sound clinical judgment. This edition reflects the latest thinking in nursing knowledge development and adds emphasis to real-world application. The content in this edition aligns with the new 2021 AACN Essentials for Nursing Education.
  • Nursing Knowledge and Theory Innovation, Second Edition: Advancing the Science of Practice (2nd Edition) This text for graduate-level nursing students focuses on the science and philosophy of nursing knowledge development. It is distinguished by its focus on practical applications of theory for scholarly, evidence-based approaches. The second edition features important updates and a reorganization of information to better highlight the roles of theory and major philosophical perspectives.
  • Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice (5th Edition) The only nursing research and theory book with primary works by the original theorists. Explore the historical and contemporary theories that are the foundation of nursing practice today. The 5th Edition, continues to meet the needs of today’s students with an expanded focus on the middle range theories and practice models.
  • Strategies for Theory Construction in Nursing (6th Edition) The clearest, most useful introduction to theory development methods. Reflecting vast changes in nursing practice, it covers advances both in theory development and in strategies for concept, statement, and theory development. It also builds further connections between nursing theory and evidence-based practice.
  • Middle Range Theory for Nursing (4th Edition) This nursing book’s ability to break down complex ideas is part of what made this book a three-time recipient of the AJN Book of the Year award. This edition includes five completely new chapters of content essential for nursing books. New exemplars linking middle range theory to advanced nursing practice make it even more useful and expand the content to make it better.
  • Nursing Research: Methods and Critical Appraisal for Evidence-Based Practice This book offers balanced coverage of both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. This edition features new content on trending topics, including the Next-Generation NCLEX® Exam (NGN).
  • Nursing Research (11th Edition) AJN award-winning authors Denise Polit and Cheryl Beck detail the latest methodologic innovations in nursing, medicine, and the social sciences. The updated 11th Edition adds two new chapters designed to help students ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of research methods. Extensively revised content throughout strengthens students’ ability to locate and rank clinical evidence.

Recommended site resources related to nursing theory:

  • Nursing Theories and Theorists: The Definitive Guide for Nurses MUST READ! In this guide for nursing theories, we aim to help you understand what comprises a nursing theory and its importance, purpose, history, types or classifications, and give you an overview through summaries of selected nursing theories.

Other resources related to nursing theory:

  • Betty Neuman: Neuman Systems Model
  • Dorothy Johnson: Behavioral System Model
  • Faye Abdellah: 21 Nursing Problems Theory
  • Florence Nightingale: Environmental Theory
  • Hildegard Peplau: Interpersonal Relations Theory
  • Ida Jean Orlando: Deliberative Nursing Process Theory
  • Imogene King: Theory of Goal Attainment
  • Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring
  • Lydia Hall: Care, Cure, Core Nursing Theory
  • Madeleine Leininger: Transcultural Nursing Theory
  • Martha Rogers: Science of Unitary Human Beings
  • Myra Estrin Levine: The Conservation Model of Nursing
  • Nola Pender: Health Promotion Model
  • Sister Callista Roy: Adaptation Model of Nursing
  • Virginia Henderson: Nursing Need Theory

References and sources for this study guide about Dorothea Orem:

  • “Obituary: Dorothea Elizabeth Orem ,” Savannah Morning News, June 24, 2007, retrieved June 17, 2014
  •  Taylor, Carol R.; Lillis, Carol; LeMone, Priscilla; Lynn, Pamela (2011). Fundamentals of Nursing. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7817-9383-4.
  • Orem, D. (1991). Nursing: Concepts of practice. (4th ed.). In George, J. (Ed.). Nursing theories: the base for professional nursing practice. Norwalk, Connecticut: Appleton & Lange.
  • Orem, D. (1995). Nursing: Concepts of practice. (5th ed.). In McEwen, M. and Wills, E. (Ed.). Theoretical basis for nursing. USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Orem, D. (2001). Nursing: Concepts of practice. (6th ed.). In McEwen, M. and Wills, E. (Ed.). Theoretical basis for nursing. USA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Taylor, S.G. (2006).  Dorothea E. Orem: Self-care deficit theory of nursing. 
  • Meleis Ibrahim Afaf (1997), Theoretical Nursing: Development & Progress 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott.
  • International Orem Society for Nursing Science and Scholarship
  • Self-care requirements for activity and rest: an Orem nursing focus.
  • Self-care: a foundational science.
  • Self-care–the contribution of nursing sciences to health care  (in German).
  • Nursing Concepts of Practice

With contributions by Wayne, G., Ramirez, Q.

9 thoughts on “Dorothea Orem: Self-Care Deficit Theory”

Thanks for the great overview on D. Orem’s theory.

Glad to be of help! Thanks for visiting the site Jinda! Don’t forget to read about other nursing theorists here .

What a wonderful resource. So nicely laid out yet very well detailed. Great job. Wish we had this back in the 70’s. Tatiana Retired RN

This was very helpful for completing a project for my MSN. Thank you!

That’s good to know! Good luck!

Thanks for the wonderful work. Her history will remain forever.

Thank you very helpful information

Thanks alot💪

Very educative and precise content….. helped me pass my assessments….Thanks alot

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Nursing Theory and Advanced Practice – NURS 502

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/27/2021

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Course Description

Emphasis is placed on the critique, evaluation, and utilization of nursing and other relevant theories that apply to advanced nursing practice and a comprehensive approach to care. Professional role development, interdisciplinary relationships, and issues relevant to advanced practice are studied.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the  Academic Course Catalog .

The purpose of this course is to prepare the graduate to critique, evaluate, and utilize appropriate theories within his/her specific fields of practice. Practice that incorporates nursing and related theories enables advanced practice nurses to develop and implement a comprehensive and holistic approach to care in all phases of a dynamic health care system.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations , the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview. 

Discussion Assignments (5)

Discussion assignments are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each Discussion. The purpose of the 5 Discussion assignments throughout the course is to generate interaction among students in regard to relevant, current course topics. The student is required to create a thread of at least 500 words. In addition to the thread, the student must also post 2 replies of at least 250 words each. For each thread, the student must support his/her assertions with at least 2 citations in current APA format. Each reply must cite at least 1 source. Acceptable sources include the textbooks, scholarly articles, and the Bible.

MSN Essentials I,II,III,V,VII;   MSN PLO 1, 6

Personal Philosophy Assignment

The student will write a personal narrative on his/her worldview and philosophy of nursing. The student will provide at least 3 main components of a personal framework that drive practice and an example of an encounter that demonstrates application. The paper must be 4 – 7 pages and reflect current APA format. Eventually, this assignment will be included in the student’s Graduate Portfolio.

MSN Essential I, IX; MSN PLO 1, 3

Theory-Based Exemplar Assignment (TEP)

This assignment provides the student with an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to apply a selected nursing theory to an actual practice situation. This assignment has several parts that will be submitted throughout the course. All parts of the assignment must follow current APA format.

MSN Essentials I, II, IV; MSN PLO 1

TEP: Theory Analysis Assignment

The student will research, identify, summarize, and critique a nursing theory to be used for the Theory-Based Exemplar Paper. A listing of selected theories and theorists is provided in the course. This assignment must be 6 – 8 pages and reflect at least 2 scholarly sources.

TEP: First Draft Assignment

The student will submit a draft of the Theory-Based Exemplar Paper. In addition, a copy will be submitted for peer review by means of a Discussion. At least 3 current, professional sources must be included in the references.

MSN Essentials I, II, IV, IX; MSN PLO 1

TEP: Final Assignment

The final paper will be 8 – 10 pages and utilize at least 4 scholarly sources.

Theoretical Framework Assignment

In this assignment, the student will review a selected research article and respond to questions that relate to the article’s theoretical framework. The assignment must include a minimum of 2 (textbook and article) sources and follow current APA format. Any additional scholarly references used must be published within the past 7 years.

Quizzes (2)

There will be 2 open-note/open-book quizzes. Each quiz contains 10 multiple-choice questions and will have a 40-minute time limit.

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Library Resources for MN502

Purdue global library library guides library resources for mn502 nursing theory assignment help, nursing theory assignment help.

In this section, you will find suggestions for how to search in the library for resources about a nursing theory in the Library.

How to Search for a Nursing Theory in the Library

First you would need to pick out a mid-range theory and a grand nursing theory. Having chosen those will make searching in the library easier. There should be some listed in your textbook. 

Here is a partial list to help you get started:

Grand theory

Florence Nightingale:  Environmental Theory

Virginia Henderson: Nursing Need Theory

Faye Glenn Abdellah: 21 Nursing Problems Theory

Joyce Travelbee: Human-to-Human Relationship Model

Jean Watson: Theory of Human Caring

Myra Estrin Levine: Conservation Model for Nursing

Martha Rogers: Theory of Unitary Human Beings

Margaret Newman: Health as Expanding Consciousness

Dorothea E. Orem: Self-Care Theory

Betty Neuman: Neuman’s Systems Model  

Sister Callista Roy: Adaptation Model of Nursing

Margaret A. Newman: Health as Expanding Consciousness

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse: Human Becoming Theory

Helen C. Erickson, Evelyn M. Tomlin, and Mary Ann P. Swain: Modeling and Role-Modeling

Mid-Range theory

Hildegard Peplau's Interpersonal Relations Theory

Kathryn E. Barnard: Child Health Assessment Model

Ida Jean Orlando: Nursing Process Theory 

Marilyn Anne Ray: Theory of Bureaucratic Caring

Imogene M. King: Theory of Goal Attainment

Dorothy E. Johnson: Behavioral Systems Model

Afaf Ibrahim Meleis: Transitions Theory

Nola Pender: Health Promotion Model 

Madeleine M. Leininger: Transcultural Nursing Theory

Ramona T. Mercer: Maternal Role Attainment—Becoming a Mother

Merle H. Mishel: Uncertainty in Illness Theory

Pamela G. Reed: Self-Transcendence Theory

Carolyn L. Wiener and Marylin J. Dodd: Theory of Illness Trajectory

Georgene Gaskill Eakes, Mary Lermann Burke, and Margaret A. Hainsworth: Theory of Chronic Sorrow

Phil Barker: Barker’s Tidal Model of Mental Health Recovery

Katharine Kolcaba: Theory of Comfort

Cheryl Tatano Beck: Postpartum Depression Theory

Kristen M. Swanson: Theory of Caring

Cornelia M. Ruland and Shirley M. Moore: Peaceful End-of-Life Theory 

For this example, Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring will be used.  You can simply search for the theory, like this :

  • In the large search box on the  Library's main page , type:    theory  of human caring
  • Click on  Search

nursing theory assignment

  • Here is a quick guide helps to show the  different parts of citations.
  • Back on the Library homepage , there is a link labeled Advanced Search , located just below the large search box.  Click on that link.
  • In the top search box, type the name of the theory you are searching.    "theory of human caring"
  • In the middle search box, type the name of the theorist.   jean  watson  (Try it without quotes first)
  • Then, change the middle drop down box so that the AU Author appears.  By doing that, the author field will be searched and only authors by that name will appear in the results list.
  • Click on Search.

nursing theory assignment

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Nursing theories

Open access articles on nursing theories and models.

nursing theory assignment

Nursing Theories - Overview


  • A theory is a group of related concepts that propose action that guide practice.
  • Theory refers to “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation”
  • A nursing theory is a set of concepts, definitions, relationships, and assumptions or propositions derived from nursing models or from other disciplines and project a purposive, systematic view of phenomena by designing specific inter-relationships among concepts for the purposes of describing, explaining, predicting, and /or prescribing.
  • Kerlinger - theories as a set of interrelated concepts that give a systematic view of a phenomenon (an observable fact or event) that is explanatory and predictive in nature.
  • Theories are composed of concepts, definitions, models , propositions and are based on assumptions.
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Inductive reasoning. 
  • Nursing theorists use both of these methods.
  • Nursing theories are "attempts to describe or explain the phenomenon (process, occurrence and event) called nursing" - Barnum(1998)
  • Theories are for professional nursing.
  • Theory is "a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas that projects a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena"
  • A theory makes it possible to "organize the relationship among the concepts to describe, explain, predict, and control practice"


  • Concepts are basically vehicles of thought that involve images.
  • Concepts are words that describe objects , properties, or events and are basic components of theory.
  • Empirical concepts
  • Inferential concepts
  • Abstract concepts.
  • Models are representations of the interaction among and between the concepts showing patterns.
  • Models allow the concepts in nursing theory to be successfully applied to nursing practice.
  • They provide an overview of the thinking behind the theory and may demonstrate how theory can be introduced into practice, for example, through specific methods of assessment.


  • Prepositions are statements that explain the relationship between the concepts.
  • Processes are series of actions, changes or functions intended to bring about a desired result .
  • During a process one takes systemic and continuous steps to meet a goal and uses both assessments and feedback to direct actions to the goal.
  • A particular theory or conceptual frame work directs how these actions are carried out .
  • The delivery of nursing care within the nursing process is directed by the way specific conceptual frameworks and theories define the person (patient), the environment, health and nursing.


  • Nursing theory aims to describe, predict and explain the phenomenon of nursing (Chinn and Jacobs1978).
  • It should provide the foundations of nursing practice, help to generate further knowledge and indicate in which direction nursing should develop in the future (Brown 1964).
  • Theory is important because it helps us to decide what we know and what we need to know (Parsons1949).
  • It helps to distinguish what should form the basis of practice by explicitly describing nursing.
  • This can be seen as an attempt by the nursing profession to maintain its professional boundaries.


  • interrelate concepts in such a way as to create a different way of looking at a particular phenomenon.
  • are logical in nature.
  • are generalizable.
  • are the bases for hypotheses that can be tested.
  • increase the general body of knowledge within the discipline through the research implemented to validate them.
  • are used by the practitioners to guide and improve their practice.
  • are consistent with other validated theories, laws, and principles but will leave open unanswered questions that need to be investigated


Nursing theories are often based on and influenced by broadly applicable processes and theories. Following theories are basic to many nursing concepts.

A. General System Theory :

  • It describes how to break whole things into parts and then to learn how the parts work together in " systems".
  • These concepts may be applied to different kinds of systems, e.g.. Molecules in chemistry , cultures in sociology, organs in Anatomy and health in Nursing.

B. Adaptation Theory

  • It defines adaptation as the adjustment of living matter to other living things and to environmental conditions.
  • Adaptation is a continuously occurring process that effects change and involves interaction and response.
  • --- the internal ( self )
  • --- the social (others)
  • --- and the physical ( biochemical reactions )

C. Developmental Theory

  • It outlines the process of growth and development of humans as orderly and predictable, beginning with conception and ending with death.
  • The progress and behaviors of an individual within each stage are unique.
  • The growth and development of an individual are influenced by heredity , temperament, emotional, and physical environment, life experiences and health status.


  • The person( patient)
  • The environment
  • Nursing (goals, roles, functions)
  • Each of these concepts is usually defined and described by a nursing theorist. Of the four concepts, the most important is that of the person. The focus of nursing is the person.
  • Nightingale (1860): To facilitate "the body’s reparative processes" by manipulating client’s environment
  • Paplau 1952: Nursing is; therapeutic interpersonal process.
  • Henderson 1955: The needs often called Henderson’s 14 basic needs
  • Abdellah 1960 : This theory focus on delivering nursing care for the whole person to meet the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs of the client and family.
  • Orlando 1962: To Ida Orlando (1960), the client is an individual; with a need; that, when met, diminishes distress, increases adequacy, or enhances well-being.
  • Johnson’s Theory 1968: Dorothy Johnson’s theory of nursing 1968 focuses on how the client adapts to illness and how actual or potential stress can affect the ability to adapt. The goal of nursing to reduce stress so that; the client can move more easily through recovery.
  • Rogers 1970: to maintain and promote health, prevent illness, and care for and rehabilitate ill and disabled client through "humanistic science of nursing"
  • Orem1971 : This is self-care deficit theory. Nursing care becomes necessary when client is unable to fulfill biological, psychological, developmental, or social needs.
  • King 1971: To use communication to help client reestablish positive adaptation to environment.
  • Neuman 1972: Stress reduction is goal of system model of nursing practice.
  • Roy 1979: This adaptation model is based on the physiological, psychological, sociological and dependence-independence adaptive modes.
  • Watson’s Theory 1979 : Watson’s philosophy of caring 1979 attempts to define the outcome of nursing activity in regard to the; humanistic aspects of life.


Depending on the generalisability of their principles.

  • Metatheory : the theory of theory. Identifies specific phenomena through abstract concepts.
  • Grand theory: provides a conceptual framework under which the key concepts and principles of the discipline can be identified.
  • Middle range theory: is more precise and only analyses a particular situation with a limited number of variables.
  • Practice theory: explores one particular situation found in nursing. It identifies explicit goals and details how these goals will be achieved.

School of thoughts in Nursing Theories-1950-1970

Categories of Theories

Theories can also be categorised as:

  • "Needs "theories.
  • "Interaction" theories.
  • "Outcome "theories.
  • "Humanistic theories"

"Needs" theories

  • These theories are based around helping individuals to fulfill their physical and mental needs.
  • Needs theories have been criticized for relying too much on the medical model of health and placing the patient in an overtly dependent position.

"Interaction" theories

  • These theories revolve around the relationships nurses form with patients.
  • Such theories have been criticized for largely ignoring the medical model of health and not attending to basic physical needs.

"Outcome" theories

  • These portray the nurse as the changing force, who enables individuals to adapt to or cope with ill health (Roy 1980).
  • Outcome theories have been criticized as too abstract and difficult to implement in practice (Aggleton and Chalmers 1988).

"Humanistic" Theories:

  • Humanistic theories developed in response to the psychoanalytic thought that a person’s destiny was determined early in life.
  • Humanistic theories emphasize a person’s capacity for self actualization .
  • Humanists believes that the person contains within himself the potential for healthy and creative growth.
  • Carl Rogers developed a person –centered model of psychotherapy that emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual.
  • The major contribution that Rogers added to nursing practice is the understanding that each client is a unique individual, so person-centered approach now practice in Nursing.


  • A model, as an abstraction of reality, provides a way to visualize reality to simplify thinking.
  • A conceptual model shows how various concepts are interrelated and applies theories to predict or evaluate consequences of alternative actions.
  • A conceptual model "gives direction to the search for relevant questions about the phenomena of central interest to a discipline and suggests solutions to practical problems"
  • Four concepts are generally considered central to the discipline of nursing: the person who receives nursing care (the patient or client); the environment (society); nursing (goals, roles, functions); and health.

Criticisms of nursing theories

  • To understand why nursing theory is generally neglected on the wards.
  • A nrsing theory should have the characteristics of accessibility and clarity.
  • It is important that the language used in the development of nursing theory be used consistently.
  • Many nurses have not had the training or experience to deal with the abstract concepts presented by nursing theory.
  • Majority of nurses fail to understand and apply theory to practice (Miller 1985).
  • Theory and practice are related
  • To develop nursing as a profession the concept of theory must be addressed.
  • If nursing theory does not drive the development of nursing, it will continue to develop in the footsteps of other disciplines such as medicine.
  • George B. Julia , Nursing Theories- The base for professional Nursing Practice , 3rd ed. Norwalk, Appleton and Lange.
  • Wills M.Evelyn, McEwen Melanie (2002). Theoretical Basis for Nursing Philadelphia. Lippincott Williamsand wilkins.
  • Meleis Ibrahim Afaf (1997) , Theoretical Nursing : Development and Progress 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott.
  • Taylor Carol,Lillis Carol (2001)The Art and Science Of Nursing Care 4th ed. Philadelphia, Lippincott.
  • Potter A Patricia, Perry G Anne (1992)Fundamentals Of Nursing –Concepts Process and Practice 3rd ed. London Mosby Year Book.

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Nursing Theory

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  • Eddie Bernice Johnson
  • Mary Todd Lincoln
  • Mary Eliza Mahoney
  • Malinda Ann Judson Richards
  • Dr. Lauranne Sams
  • Margaret Higgins Sanger
  • Dame Cicely Mary Saunders
  • Mary Jane Seacole
  • Susie King Taylor
  • Lillian D. Wald
  • Alyce Faye Wattleton
  • Walt Whitman
  • National Nurses Week
  • First Annual Travel Nurse Day
  • AACN Synergy Model
  • Trans-Cultural Nursing

Evidence-Based Nursing

  • Modern Nursing

Nursing Techniques

  • Methods of Nursing
  • Nursing Theories and a Philosophy of Nursing
  • Nursing Mentors
  • Nursing Leaders
  • How to Study and Pass the NCLEX
  • How to Study in Nursing School
  • Pain Scale 1-10
  • Nursing Clinicals and Nursing Theories
  • Nursing Program
  • Nursing Theory Definition
  • Nursing Ethics and the Nursing Process
  • History of Nursing

Definition of Nursing

  • The Nursing Process
  • Nursing Care Plans in Action
  • Nursing Technology
  • Nursing Home Jobs and Getting Qualified
  • Standards and Criteria Used by the NLNAC
  • How Much Does Nursing School Cost
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  • A Statistical Look at Patient-Centered Care
  • Being A Nurse At Christmas
  • Nemours Brings Nursing Opportunities to Central Florida
  • How Have the Sequester Cuts Affected Nursing and Health Care

Nursing Theory

nursing theory assignment

The nursing profession has evolved greatly over time. Moving from dependence upon total medical direction providing basic care into an independent practice modality, nursing has its own nursing theory practice, nursing models, and distinct nursing interventions. Nursing theories have been developed by a large number of leaders in the nursing field. Below is a list of major nursing theorists who have contributed to the development of professional nursing practice into what it is today.

Nursing Theorists

nursing theory assignment

Part of learning to be a nurse is learning about how to nurse. That is, a nurse must learn different nursing theories, methods, and research in order to be able to practice as a nurse in the health care field.

nursing theory assignment

From the earliest nuns who cared for the sick and dying to the modern men and women who work in hospitals, clinics, and homes to help people achieve and maintain health, nursing is a way to get involved in the health care industry and work with patients on a personal level.

Part of working as a nurse is deciding how to approach and care for individual patients and their families. As with any career involving people, there is no set formula on how to deal with and treat patients.


Nursing Theorists and Theories for your Nursing Assignments

Nursing Theory and Theorists

As a Nursing student, you will be assigned to write a paper using nursing theory. It could be an essay on a nursing theorist or one that explores a specific theory. Your instructor or professor might also assign you a capstone project or change project that needs you to select a nursing theory or theorist as part of recommending change.

As a leading online nursing papers website , we have had students request us to at least do a blogpost on theorists and their nursing theory. We rallied up some of our best nursing writers who authored this great piece after research.

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To this end, is all you need is to know what nursing theories and theorists exist in nursing literature, scroll down below.

What Are Nursing Theories?

Nursing theories are knowledge-based concepts that are organized to define the nursing practice.  Nursing theories are fundamental in defining and distinguishing nursing from other disciplines such as medicine. Moreover, nursing theories consist of purposes and conceptual frameworks that are essential in guiding nursing practice at specific and concrete standards.

Nursing as a discipline consists of concepts and frameworks that make it a vital and recognizable discipline. It involves unparalleled concepts that are significant in nursing science. The foundation of nursing knowledge helps nurses to classify, develop, and master theories and concepts concerning nursing. Generally, the science of nursing is linked to nursing theories and nursing practices.

Why uses nursing theory?

Nursing theories have a wide range of uses in the contemporary world. Nursing theory is vital in providing knowledge development guidance and education, practice, and research direction. Historical analysis of nursing reveals that nursing was not initially recognized as a profession or academic discipline. The development of nursing theory provided the grounds for classifying the discipline as profession and academic discipline rather than task-oriented occupation. Moreover, the initial training and practices of nurses were controlled and directed by the medical profession. Let us identify some of the uses of the nursing theories and their impact on nursing practice.

  • nursing theories assist in the recognition of components of nursing practice through the nursing description
  • Through nursing definition, nursing theories enable nurses to understand their roles and purposes in the healthcare environment.
  • Nursing theories act as scientific reasons and rationale of nursing interventions that are ideal inappropriate responses to nursing care conditions.
  • Nursing theories ensure knowledge development through the provision of comprehensive guidance and direction in practice, research, and education.
  • Nursing theories are vital in defining, predicting, and demonstrating several nursing phenomena.
  • Nursing theories help nurses to reflect on the questions and assumptions of nursing values which is significant in nursing definition and elevation of nursing knowledge.
  • Nursing theory is also recognized as one of the critical components in safeguarding professional boundaries and limits.
  • The provision of nurses' identity as one of the roles of nursing theories enables the managers, healthcare professionals, and patients to acquire knowledge and be aware of the ideal contribution of nurses in healthcare service delivery.
  • Nursing theories are crucial in the provision of nursing practice foundation, knowledge generation, and determination of the future scope of nursing as a profession.

Purposes of Nursing Theories

The basic purpose of nursing theory is to surpass nursing practice through the establishment of positive measures that aim at influencing patients' quality of health and life. Furthermore, nursing theories are established to describe and define nursing care, control nursing practice, and provide a foundation for nursing decision-making. The developments of nursing theories have led to the recognition of nursing as an academic, professional, and research discipline.

In Academic Discipline

Nursing programs are developed through the incorporation of organized concepts, models, and frameworks of nursing theories. The theories contribute majorly to the development of the whole nursing curriculum.

Nursing theories ensure unique language, course descriptions, clinical performance protocols, and course objectives. Theories play integral roles in informing the learners of what the nursing profession entails and its significance as an academic discipline.  

Consequently, nursing theories are vital in discussing professional fundamental implications and the enhancement of professions' status.

In Professional Practice

The clinical practice involves the generation of knowledge and research questions that are based on nursing theories. The primary contribution of the clinical setting includes questioning, thinking, and reflecting about the roles of the nurses.

Since nursing practice and nurses are subordinate to traditions and institutional forces, the suggestion of any framework that helps nurses to question, think and reflect on what they do is invaluable service provision.

In Research

Theory development is the basic component in the research process that applies the theoretical frameworks to define research study through the provision of guidance and perspective.

Moreover, theory can be applied to guide the process of research by testing and establishing the intended phenomena. Improvement of the nursing profession's potential to achieve societal responsibilities and duties, demands to be a cyclical, reciprocal connection with research, theory, and practice.

This aspect is critical in linking the perception gap between practice and theory and embracing the theory-guided practice.

What are Nursing Metaparadigms?

The nursing metaparadigm s is a group of ideas or theories that provide the nursing structure and explain the functionality of nursing as a discipline.  Nursing paradigms consist of the four primary concepts that describe the patient, patient's well-being and health, patient's environment, and nursing roles. In simple terms, the major concepts include person, health, environment, and nursing. The concepts are interrelated and critical to nursing theories. Let us look at each of the nursing paradigms.

Person as a component of the nursing paradigm refers to the human being or the client that receives nursing care and can comprise of patients, individuals, families, communities, and groups

Health can be defined as the standards of well-being or wellness that are felt by the client. Health has different meanings depending on the patient, healthcare provider, and the clinical setting.


The environment is the external or internal surrounding that influences the client. Environment involves both negative and positive conditions that have an impact on the physical environment, patient, families, friends, and setting where the individuals receive health care.

Nursing is a fundamental component of the nursing paradigm, nurses’ characteristics, actions, and attributes are important in care provision incorporation with the clients.

Several definitions of nursing have been developed by many nursing scholars; however, the scholars have not come to terms in producing the exact definition. Nursing theories are embedded in the ultimate role of improving patient care.

The four concepts of the nursing metaparadigm are defined differently and used frequently throughout different types of nursing theories. Moreover, examination of the definition of nurse theorists suggests that each definition differs in nursing experience, orientation, and is affected by different factors influenced by the theorist's view.

The person forms the central focus; nevertheless, the way theorist explains nursing metaparadigm ensures a unique view on a certain theory. Generally, various theorists define the nursing paradigm in their individual views that clearly express their different views. 

Components of Nursing Theories

The consideration of theory is based on its constituents such as phenomenon, concepts, relational statements, assumptions, and definitions. Additionally, the explanation of the relationship between the components of the theory justifies the validity of the theory.

This is a term used to describe a response or idea about an occurrence, process, or situation. The phenomenon can be permanent or temporary depending on its intensity and duration. Nursing theories are curtailed in the description of the nursing phenomena.

Nursing theories are described by interrelated concepts. Concepts label or describe the phenomenon. Concepts are phrases and words that define, establish and identify boundaries and structures of generated ideas of a certain phenomenon. Concepts can be classified into two groups: abstract or concrete. Abstract concepts are mentally created and are exclusive of a specific place or time. On the other hand, concrete concepts are experienced directly and are linked with a particular place or time.

Relational Statements

Rational statements refer to the chains that connect concepts. They describe the bond between two or multiple concepts.


Definitions are used to explain the meaning of the concepts of a certain theory. Definitions can be grouped into two categories: operational and theoretical. Theoretical definitions describe a certain concept with theorists' understanding. Operational definitions explain the measuring levels of concepts.


Assumptions are tolerable facts that are based on beliefs and values and are considered true. These statements discuss the purpose, theory structure, features of concepts, relationships, and definitions

Classification of Nursing Theories

Nursing theories are categorized in different ways. Nursing theories are classified based on their goal orientation, abstraction, or function

Goal orientation

Theories can be grouped depending on their goals. This classification method defined theories into prescriptive and descriptive.

Prescriptive Theories

Prescriptive theories control practice change, predict consequences, and describe nursing interventions. They also consist of propositions that allude to transformations. Prescriptive theories are also known for their anticipation of nursing interventions outcomes.

Descriptive Theories

Descriptive theories are the initial level of developing theory. They identify and describe the occurrence of phenomena components and properties. Descriptive theories do not create or transform situations because they are not action-oriented. Descriptive theories are divided into two explanatory theories and facto-isolating theory.

Explanatory theory

As the name suggests, the explanatory theories explain and describe characteristics of relationships that exist between several phenomena.

Factor-Isolating Theory

The nursing theories are described as factor-isolating theory is they explain the dimensions and features of phenomena. They are also addressed as labeling or category-formulating theory.


Abstraction classifies theories into three ultimate categories: practice level theory, middle-range theory, and grand theory.

Practice-Level Theories

Practice–level theories are nursing theories that are situation-specific and consist of narrow scope and aim at specific patients at a certain duration. They provide frameworks that address nursing interventions and propose the results or impacts of nursing practice.

Theories that are developed at the practice level have a more direct influence on nursing practice than abstract theories. Practice-level theories are connected with concepts derived from grand theories and middle-range theories.

Middle-Range Theories

Middle-range theories have limited scope and the present propositions and concepts are at the abstraction lower levels.  They explain the nursing-specific phenomenon.

Several middle-range theories are obtained from grand theories, however, their conception from nursing practice, research, and other discipline theories is suggested their flexibility.

This level of theories can be used at the expense of grand theory because it is easy to test, unlike grand theories.

Grand theories

Grand theories are described as abstract, broad and comp-ex thus demands further study for simplification. These theories do not explain particular nursing interventions but instead ensure general nursing ideas and frameworks.

The grand nursing theory defines the components of the nursing paradigm such as person-environment, health, and nursing

Notably, the theorists of grand nursing create their work regarding their time and individual experiences one of the factors that explain why their theories are endowed with numerous variations.

Other Forms of Nursing Theory Classification

Theory classification

Alligood Classification Format

Raile Alligood in her book, Nursing Theorists and Their Work groped nursing theory based on her studies. The groups include nursing –conceptual models, nursing philosophy, middle-range theories, and grand theories and nursing theories

  • Nursing- conceptual models. These nursing theories are linked to several nursing pioneers and are comprehensive in nature.
  • Nursing philosophy . These are an abstract set of theories that are critical in explaining nursing phenomena through the implication of reasoning, logical presentation, and analysis. Nightingale, Benner, Watson, and Ray are some of the theorists whose works are categorized in this group.
  • Middle-range theories. Alligood described the middle-range theory as short and addresses a particular nursing practice through adherence to the derivative model or theory. Some of the middle-range theories are attributed to theorists such as Reed, Barker, Mercer, and Mishel.
  • Grand- nursing theories. These are theories that are the derivatives of conceptual models, other grand theories, and nursing philosophy. Alligood attributed the grand-nursing theory to the works of Orem, Rogers, King, and Levine in this category.

Meleis Classification Format

In his book Theoretical Nursing: Development and Progress, Afaf Ibrahim Meleis grouped fundamental nurse models and theories into the following areas: outcome theories, interaction theories, and needs theories. The categories described by Meleis indicates the primary theories philosophical underpinnings.

  • Outcome theories . These are set of theories that target the nurse as the major patient care provider. The nurse directs and controls the patient by applying the knowledge of human behavioral and physiological systems. This group consists of the nursing theories of Levine, Johnson, and Roy.
  • Interaction Theories . Interaction theories are based on the development and sustenance of relationships between the patients and the nurses. These theories highlight the nursing affects the patients and the influence of interactions with people, situations, and the environment. Several theories of Travelbee, Orlando, and King fall under this group.
  • Needs-Based theories. The needs-based theory was developed by a section of nurses who developed conceptual order to define nursing care. Needs-based theories are based on assisting individuals to achieve their mental and physical needs. Theories of Abdella, Henderson, and Orem fall into this category. However, the needs-based theory has been criticized for depending extremely on the health medical model and placement of the patient in an overt position.

List of nursing Theorists who impacted Nursing education/practice

This section provides the names of some of the renowned nursing theorists who contributed immensely to the development of nursing knowledge and the specific theories they pioneered.

  • Hildegard E. Peplau. developed the interpersonal relations theory
  • Florence Nightingale. pioneered environmental theory and modern nursing
  • Faye Glenn Abdalla. created the 21 nursing-problems theory
  • Lydia E. Hall. Developed the three Cs theory of Lydia Hall which is based on cure, care , and core.
  • Ernestine Wiedenbach. Pioneered the Helping Art of Clinical Nursing is a conceptual model.
  • Joyce Travelbee. developed Human to Human Relationship Model
  • Evelyn Adam. developed theories and models on the nursing concept
  • Nancy Roper, Winifred Logan, and Alison Tierney. They developed A Model for Nursing Based on a Model of Living.
  • Jean Watson. Created Transpersonal Theory and Philosophy.
  • Ida Jean Orlando. Founder of Nursing process theory
  • Marilyn Anne Ray. pioneered Bureaucratic Caring Theory
  • Kari Martinsen. founder of caring philosophy
  • Patricia Benner. Pioneered Clinical Wisdom, Caring, And Nursing Practice Ethics .
  • Katie Eriksson. developed Creative Caring Theory
  • Martha E. Rogers. founder of Human Beings Theory
  • Myra Estrin Levin. Developed the Nursing Conservation Model.
  • Cornelia M. Ruland and Shirley M. Moore. pioneered The Theory of Peaceful End-Of-Life
  • Cheryl Tatano Beck. developed Theory of Postpartum Depression
  • Kristen M. Swanson. the founder of Caring Theory
  • Katharine Kolcaba. Developed the Comfort Theory.
  • George Gaskill Eakes. Mary Lermann Burke and Margaret A. Hainsworth. The pioneers of Chronic Sorrow Theory.
  • Phil Barker. established Barkers Tidal Model of Mental Health Recovery that is applied in mental- health nursing
  • Carolyn L. Weiner and Marylyn J. Dodd. created the Illness Trajectory Theory
  • H. Mishel. Developed the theory of Illness Uncertainty
  • Pamela G. Reed. associated with Self –Transcendence Theory
  • Ramona T. Mercer. Founder of maternal Role Attainment –Becoming a Mother Theory.
  • Hellen C. Erickson, Evelyn M. Tomlin, and Mary Ann P. Swain. Founders of Modeling and Role Modeling.
  • Gladys L. Husted and James H. Husted. Developed theory of Symphonological Bioethical.
  • Rosemarie Rizzo Parse. Created Human Becoming Theory.
  • Madeleine M. Leininger is the developer of the Culture Care Theory of Diversity and Universality.
  • Margaret A. Newman. Created Health as Expanding Consciousness Theory.
  • Afaf Ibrahim Meleis. Developed Transitions Theory.
  • Nola J. Pender. Created Health Promotion Model.
  • Dorothy E. Johnson. The founder of Behavioral System Model.
  • Anne Boykin and Savina O. Schoenhofer. Established Nursing as Caring Theory: Model for Transforming Practice.
  • Betty Neumann. is well known with Neuman’s System Model
  • Imogene M. King. The pioneer of Conceptual System and Middle-Range Theory of Goal Attainment.
  • Sister Callista Roy. She developed Adaptation Model
  • Dorothea E. the pioneer of Self-Care Theory

List of nursing theories for Nursing Students and Nurses

Nursing Theories

 As discussed earlier, nursing theories play different roles. Many nursing theories are developed by theorists. In this section, we are going to look at some of the fundamental theories and their application in nursing.

Environmental Theory

  • was developed by Florence Nightingale
  • This theory describes nursing as the activity of using the patient environment to aid in the patient recovery process.
  • This theory states that nursing should effectively utilize light, air, cleanliness, diet administration, and warmth to ensure patient care.
  • The environmental theory considers five environmental conditions such as pure water, fresh air, cleanliness, efficient drainage, and direct sunlight to emphasize effective patient care delivery.

Interpersonal Relations Theory

  • Developed by Hildegard E. Peplau in 1952.
  • Peleus theory of interpersonal relations suggests that an interpersonal therapeutic interaction process between the patient and the educated nurse relies on response, need, and recognition
  • This theory assists nurses to create many therapeutic interventions that are essential in the clinical environment.
  • The theory posits four phases including orientation, identification, exploitation, and resolution.

Nursing Need Theory

  • Was pioneered by Virginia Henderson
  • This theory emphasizes the significance of elevating the independence of patients to increase their hospital healing process
  • Nursing need theory elaborates on the fundamental human needs and the roles of the nurses in meeting the needs.
  • This theory encourages nurses to implement a physician's therapeutic care plan, while the patient care should be improved by the nurses based on their knowledge and the need of the patient at a particular time.

21 Nursing Problems Theory

  • Developed by Faye Glenn Abdellah
  • This theory states that nursing depends on science and art that creates attitudes, technical skills, and intellectual competencies of the nurse into feelings and potentials of assisting the patient and people to cope with health requirements.
  • This theory changed the nursing focus to patient-centered from the initial disease-centered and to include the elderly and families in nursing care.
  • This theory was developed with the aim of care provision in a hospital setting; however, it can be used in nursing and community health as well.

Three Cs theories (The Core, Care, and Cure)

  • pioneered by Lydia E. Hall
  • In her definition of nursing, Lydia emphasized nursing as a process of engaging in care, cure, and core to ensure patient care. she elaborated that care is the sole function of the nurse while cure and core are shared among the health team
  • The main reason for care is to ensure interpersonal relationships with the patient or client to promote core development.
  • The basic role of the nurse is to define the care circle through the provision of patient physical care. The core is addressed by the provision of nursing care to the patient. The cure involves medication administrations and treatment by the nurse.

Nursing process theory

  • was created by Ida Jean Orlando
  • This theory proposes that patients have their interpretations and meanings of situations; hence nurses must validate their opinions and suggestions with the patients before conclusions.
  • this theory permits nurses to develop comprehensive nursing care plans that can be implemented in all patient conditions
  • According to Orlando, people change to patients only when they need help that t they could not get on their own triggered by physical limitations. inability to communicate, and negative environmental reactions
  • This theory proposes that nurses have a role to identify and meet immediate patient needs.

Philosophy and Theory of Transpersonal Caring

  • pioneered by Jean Watson
  • This theory is grounded on health promotion, illness prevention, health restoration, and patient caring.
  • this theory is based majorly on how nurses implement patient care and how to care plan progresses to promote illness prevention, health restoration, and health promotion
  • According to this theory, patient caring is an integral part of nursing practice and enhances better health compared to simple medical applications.

Theory of Bureaucratic Caring

  • developed by Jean Marylyn Ann Ray
  • this theory suggests that infection control, care quality, medication error reductions, and patient safety in a complicated bureaucratic healthcare system cannot be undertaken without comprehension and knowledge of the organization. Therefore, spiritual-ethical caring, economic and political systems right, compassions of professionals and patients are some of the factors that affect the complex organizations
  • This theory challenges the nursing participants to think beyond their normal reference frame and to view the world based on its complexity.
  • The theory of bureaucratic caring presents a different approach of healthcare organization view and how the nursing phenomena are connected as parts and wholes in the complex systems.

Theory of Carative Caring

  • Pioneered by Katie Eriksson.
  • This theory proposes that people should apply Caritas in a caring patient in suffering and health. Carative caring means the expression of love to the patient.
  • The ultimate objective of carative caring theory is to serve health and life and reduce suffering through love manifestation.
  • This theory has been valued in Nordic countries and has been fundamental in clinical practice, education, and research.

Theory of Human Beings

  • Developed by Martha E. Rogers.
  • Rogers in her theory describes nursing as a science and an art that is humanitarian and humanistic.
  • This theory is grounded on the science of Unitary Human Beings which consists of two dimensions: nursing art which emphasizes the application of nursing creatively to improve the status of a patient; and nursing science which entails specific knowledge to the nursing discipline.
  • The theory of human beings suggests that patients cannot be excluded from their environment when solving treatment and health issues.

Self-Care Theory

  • Created by Dorothea E. Orem.
  • Orem in her theory explained nursing as an act of helping others in the management and provision of self-care to improve or sustain human functioning effectively at home standards.
  • This theory determines an individual's potential to undertake self-care.
  • Self-care theory consists of three connected theories: nursing systems theory, theory of self-care, and the self-care deficit theory.

Humanistic Nursing Theory

  • Focuses on the human aspect of nursing
  • Developed by Loretta Zderad and Josephine Paterson in the 1960s
  • It posits that for nurses to effectively focus on the overall human experience when caring for their patients, they need to treat the patients as more than a statistic.
  • Nurses need to connect with the patient at an interpersonal level for the best patient-centered care.
  • It recommends engaging in dialogue (person to person, person to object, and group dialogues) to blend personal and emotional perspectives with the patient’s receptive perspective to develop a holistic understanding of the medical situation at hand.
  • It champions for phenomenological nursing that helps nurses describe their experiences within the humanistic dialogue in five phases.
  • Nurses must also express their personal and emotional viewpoints through community.

Transitions Theory

  • developed by Afaf Ibrahim Meleis
  • This theory commenced with the identification of the experiences that are encountered by people dealing with health and well-being changes and the capacity of the people to support individual care plans.
  • The transitions addressed in this theory are organizational, situational, and developmental.
  • Transitional theory appreciates the ideal roles of nurses in aiding patients through illness and transitions of life.
  • this theory also focuses on helping nurses to conduct community, families, and patient health transitions

Human Becoming Theory

  • pioneered by Rosemarie Rizzo Parse
  • This theory defines nursing based on the principles of science and performing and emphasizes that nursing practice involves relationships.
  • this theory explains that a person cannot be separated from the environment, hence nursing applies abstract knowledge to assist people
  • The human becoming theory revolves around three themes such as transcendence, meaning, and rhythmicity.

Symphonological Bioethical Theory

  • Developed by Gladys L. Hausted and James H. Husted.
  • This theory discusses nursing in terms of agreements. As the name suggests symphonology was derived from thee the Greek word symphonia meaning agreement.
  • this theory states that nursing cannot take place without the agreement between the patient and the nurse hence advises the nurse to take no actions in a non-interactive situation
  • Human interaction is one of the major aspects of this theory and is driven by essential non-aggression agreement and human rights among rational individuals.

Self-Transcendence Theory

  • Pioneered by Pamela G. Reed.
  • Reed in her theory of transcendence focuses on the fluctuation of perception boundaries that pushes the individual beyond constricted and immediate world and self-views.
  • this theory is based on three concepts namely self –transcendence, well-being, and vulnerability
  • Self-transcendence theory gives details about human development nature with the health situation based on nursing care .

Theory of Illness Trajectory

  • Founded by Carolyn L. Weiner and Marylin J. Dodd.
  • This theory was based on the certainty that influences chronic diseases like cancer. Understanding the certainty of exaggeration is critical in evaluating the life trajectory.
  • Enables nurses to comprehend how cancer patients cope with uncertainty displayed as loss of direction.
  • This theory also provides an understanding of how families and patients tolerate uncertainty and work comprehensively to decrease uncertainty through treatment situations, involvement of varied players, and illness dynamic flow.

Theory of Chronic Sorrow

  • Created by Georgene Gaskill Eakes, Mary Lermann Burke, and Margaret A. Hainsworth.
  • This theory is grounded on pervasive grief feelings that occur periodically in individuals suffering from chronic illness.
  • This theory is a middle-range theory that explains the prospects of chronic sorrow as a basic response to the continuous disparity that is influenced by the destruction.

Theory of Comfort

  • developed by Katharine Kolcaba
  • This theory suggests that comfort is a stressor antidote that is ingrained in healthcare conditions, and enhancement of comfort ensures families' and patients' strength.
  • Patient comfort occurs in three forms such as transcendence, ease, and relief. Moreover, comforts can exist in four different contexts: sociocultural, physical. Psychospiritual, and environmental.
  • Change in patient’s comfort need of the patient demands transformation in nursing interventions .

Theory of Caring

  • pioneered by Kristen M. Swanson
  • Proposes that caring is nurturing aspect linked to the value of individual life apart from feeling of a personal sense of responsibility and commitment.
  • Describes nursing as the provision of informed caring to ensure the well-being of people.
  • Provides a framework of improvement of the nursing practice, research, and education as a way of relating the discipline to its caring–healing roots and traditional values .

Peaceful End-of-Life Theory

  • Developed by Cornelia M. Ruland and Shirley M. Moore
  • Focuses on the provision of meaningful and peaceful living apart from death.
  • The major aim is to enhance complexity reflection in ill-patient terminal caring.

Postpartum Depression Theory

  • proposed by Cheryl Tatano Beck
  • focuses on the depression that is experienced by some of the mothers after delivery
  • Defines nursing as a caring discipline that is controlled by several obligations to students, persons, and among the nurses.
  • Applies evidence to prevent and understand postpartum depression.

Culture Care Theory of diversity and universality

  • Developed by Madeleine M. Leininger
  • Highlights transcultural nursing based on comparative-culture care, practices, beliefs, and values. it defines the similar and different cultures to develop universal nursing practices that are effective in a diverse culture
  • Entails the study of a different culture about nursing, beliefs, values, and caring practices.
  • Focuses on the variation of various cultures and their distinctive caring behaviors, beliefs, behavior patterns, and values.

The Theory of Nursing as Caring: A Model for Transforming Practice

  • Pioneered by Anne Boykin and Savina O. Schoeenhofer
  • Defines nursing as an aspect of unity between nursing as a profession and as a discipline.
  • Focuses on professional service and discipline to nurture personal growth and living in care.
  • Proposes that nursing caring is an expression of affection, intentional, and involves value recognition and correctness.

Behavioral System Model

  • created by Dorothy E. Johnson
  • Describes nursing in terms of patients' behavior that affects social and physical health.
  • Emphasizes the development of effective and efficient patient behavioral functioning for illness prevention and stress on the effect and significance of research-based knowledge.
  • Uses seven subsystems to describe an individual behavioral system. the seven subsystems include eliminative, sexual, ingestive, attachment-affiliative, dependency, achievement, and aggressive-protective

Adaptation Model

  • Developed by Sister Callista Roy.
  • Discusses nursing as a profession that is concerned with the process of human life and patterns. It also stresses the promotion of family, group, society, and individual health.
  • Regards individual is a system of connected systems that competes to ensure a balance between several stimuli.
  • This model is an inspiration to the creation of numerous adaptations instruments and middle-range nursing theories.

A Model for Nursing Based on a Model of Living

  • attributed to Nancy Roper, Winifred Logan, and Alison Tierney
  • Logan developed a simple theory that aims at aiding bedside nurses
  • The three individuals collaborated to develop a nursing model based on Activities of Daily Living. The Roper-Logan-Tierney Model of Nursing is one of the significant models that have been applied in nursing to ensure patient independence.
  • This model involves several aspects including maintaining a conducive environment, personal cleansing, dressing, controlling temperature, mobilizing, breathing, communicating among other activities of daily living.

Child Health Assessment Model

  • Pioneered by Kathryn E. Bernard.
  • focuses on the improvement of the infant health
  • This model is based on Kathryn’s findings on the interaction between the parent and the child as a cognitive development predictor that is significant in shaping public policy.
  • Derived from human development and psychology and emphasizes the mother-child interaction with the surrounding.
  • This has led to a close connection to practice that modifies how the healthcare providers conduct children assessments based on the parent-infant relationship.

In the modern healthcare context, the nursing theories help nurses to adopt different strategies and approaches when providing optimal care to their patients. It is therefore imperative to understand the meaning, classification, and application of nursing theories. Understanding the nursing theorists is also critical.

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  • Nurse Labs: List of nursing theory and theorists
  • Regis College: What is nursing theory?
  • University of Massachusetts Boston: NURSNG 601
  • Alligood, M., & Tomey, A. (2010). Nursing theorists and their work, seventh edition (No ed.). Maryland Heights: Mosby-Elsevier.
  • Fitzpatrick, J. J., & Whall, A. L. (Eds.). (1996). Conceptual models of nursing: Analysis and application. Connecticut, Norwalk: Appleton & Lange.
  • Meleis, A. I. (2011). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

nursing theory assignment

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NUR 513 Topic 4 APA Assignment; Meaningful Application of Nursing Theory to Patient Care

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Category: Nursing Theories

Nursing Theories

Nursing theories consist of coherent groups of broad propositions used as fundamental principles of explanation, are derived from existing conceptual frameworks, and are classified based on scope and purpose. (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

What You’ll Learn hide 1 Summary of Nursing Theories 2 Key Definitions 3 Types of middle-range theories: Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay 4 Nursing Theories Metaparadigms 4.1 General Definitions of the 4 Nursing Phenomena or Metaparadigms of Nursing 5 List of the 82 Nursing Theories 6 Working On an Assignment With Similar Concepts Or Instructions? ​ Summary of Nursing Theories Key Definitions Philosophy of Science in Nursing: “examination of nursing concepts, theories, laws, and aims as they relate to nursing practice.

Concept: a word or phrase that captures the essence of something; definition or description of the concept is one proposition; the building blocks of theory; Image or symbolic representation of an abstract idea: for example cup, chair, rain, intelligence, presence, caring, pain, weight, self-concept, self-esteem(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

Conceptual definition: general meaning based on the theory— similar to a dictionary definition. These are important so that you can compare the results of other studies of the same concept. If the definitions of the concept differ from study to study, there is no quantitative way to summarize the data regarding that concept.

Operational definition: defines the specific direction of how a concept is measured. How a concept is measured in the study may be indicated by the words as evidenced by or as measured by

Conceptual model: Very abstract and general works that lead to theory development and can guide research and practice; enable nurses to view the world from a unique perspective. Diagrams typically used to show theme and link concepts through symbols.

Praxis: “The planned, deliberate, and thoughtful creation of a plan of action to achieve a set goal” (Polifroni, 2015, p. 11). Practice, action, or practical application of theory. (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

Theory: A worldview; Representation of reality whose purpose is to describe, explain, and predict phenomena of interest; Set of interrelated constructs [concepts], definitions, and propositions which specify the relationships; made up of concepts and propositions about a phenomenon of interest; Diverse works from a theorist’s point of view;

Theories range from “very abstract and general conceptual models to less abstract and general grand theories, to relatively concrete and specific middle-range theories, to very concrete and specific narrow-range, situation-specific theories” (Fawcett, 2013, p. 593). Theories are derived from conceptual models. Theories are NEVER proved, only tested: Research only strengthens, refutes, or refines the theory tested.

Types of middle-range theories: Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay Descriptive (describe a phenomenon, “information presenting”); Explanatory (specify how concepts are related to each other to explain the phenomenon of interest, “knowledge building”); Predictive (specify how one concept affects one or more other concepts, “knowledge confirming”); Prescriptive (“knowing utilization”). Nursing Theory: “A relatively specific and concrete set of concepts and propositions that purports to account for or characterize phenomena of interest to the discipline of nursing” (Fawcett, 1989, p. 23). Usually focuses on healthcare experiences, conditions, or events;

Theoretical Framework: Provides a frame of reference for current practice and future study. Provides the rationale for the predictions of the relationships between the variables of interest and therefore provides a structure for research studies.

The purpose of researching the propositions of a study is to determine if the predictions they hypothesize are valid, that is— does the theory hold true in the real world?

Theoretical frameworks can be thought of as Road Maps.

Theoretical frameworks: Provide directions for how to practice nursing according to a philosophical bent, analytic or continental. Guide the design and conduct of research by helping the researcher make decisions about whom to sample, sample selection, data collection process, and forms, how to analyze the data, etc. They help to make sense of the meaning of the study (meaningful interpretation) to provide theory-based implications for practice.

Borrowed or Shared Theoretical Frameworks: theoretical frameworks from disciplines other than nursing used in the nursing domain. Nurses may use borrowed theories in conjunction with nursing theories to inform and guide practice (though theories should be examined for congruence with nursing ideals and situations). (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

Borrowed theories have been used in nursing theory development. Commonly “borrowed” theories include:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Selye’s General Adaptation Theory (Stress Theory) Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Model Lazarus & Folkman’s Theory of Stress and Coping Kohlberg’s Moral Reasoning Theory (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Bandura’s Social Learning Theory Azjen & Fishbein’s Theory of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Behavior Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations Theory Freire’s Theory of Human Liberation Chaos and Complexity theories Von Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory Lewin’s Change Theory Nursing Theories Metaparadigms Metaparadigms: “a set of concepts and propositions that sets forth the phenomena with which a discipline is concerned.

A metaparadigm is the most general statement of a discipline and functions as a framework in which the more restricted structures of conceptual models develop” (Miller-Keane Dictionary, 2003); “The concepts that identify the phenomena of central interest to a discipline; the propositions that describe those concepts and their relationships to each other” (Farlex Dictionary, 2009). (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

The four phenomena of central interest that define nursing are identified as:

NURSING PERSON HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT Think about these as the elements of nursing, the key foci of patient care: nursing actions (nursing) are administered to patients/families/communities (person) in a setting (institutional or home environment) for the purpose of attaining, recovering, or maintaining health or assuring a good death (health). (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

Each theorist defines the metaparadigms according to their worldview. For example, Orem’s definition of the nursing metaparadigm is different from Martha Rogers’ or Sister Callista Roy’s definitions. Orem defines the Person metaparadigm as “an integrated whole,” Martha Rogers as “an energy field,” and Roy as a “biopsychosocial being.(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

General Definitions of the 4 Nursing Phenomena or Metaparadigms of Nursing Nursing metaparadigm: the art and science of nursing; nursing actions or nursing interventions; what nurses DO. Includes applying professional knowledge, technical skills, “hands-on” care Person metaparadigm: defined according to the patient (the person) and may include the patient’s family and friends and the community Health metaparadigm: defined according to the patient’s perspective; Refers to the patient’s level of wellness (or illness to wellness continuum) and ability to access healthcare; health is a relative term; many aspects to health/wellness (physical, psychological, mental, intellectual, emotional, spiritual); Environment metaparadigm: internal, external, and social factors that impact a patient’s health (genetics, culture, interpersonal relationships, economics, mental state, geographic location)(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) List of the 82 Nursing Theories Goal Attainment Theory Orem’s Self-care Deficit Theory Suchman’s Stages of Illness Model Betty Neuman’s Systems Model in Nursing Care Roy’s Adaptation Model in the Nursing Process Peplau’s Interpersonal theory in the Nursing Process Health Belief Model in Nursing Practice Attachment Theory : John Bowlby Attribution Theory(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Betty Neuman’s system model Behaviorist Theory Biopsychosocial Model Care, Cure and Core: The Three C’s of Lydia Hall Comfort Theory by Katharine Kolcaba Cybernetics(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Decision-Making Models Development of Nursing Theories Ernestine Wiedenbach’s “The Helping Art of Clinical Nursing Epistemology of Nursing Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development From Novice to Expert: Patricia Benner Faye Glenn Abdellah’s Theory Functional Health Patterns by Majory Gorden Health Promotion Model Health Belief Model Helping and Human Relationships Theory : Robert R. Carkhuff Human Becoming Theory : Rosemarie Rizzo Parse Human-To-Human Relationship Model by Joyce Travelbee Grounded Theory in Nursing Research Gate Control Theory of Pain Germ Theory of Disease(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Hans Selye’s Stress Theory Harry Stalk Sullivan’s Interpersonal Theory Introduction to Nursing Theories Jean Piaget’s Cognitive Development Theory Jean Watson’s theory(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Johnson’s behavior system model Kurt Lewin’s Change Theory Laws (Principles) of Learning Learned Helplessness Model Levin’s Four Conservation Principles Life Perspective Rhythm Model by Joyce Fitzpatrick Martha Roger’s Science of unitary human beings Maslow’s Theory of Needs Modeling and Role Modeling Theory by Erickson, Tomlin & Swain McGill Model of Nursing by F. Moyra Allen Models of Prevention Models of Nursing Care Delivery Newman’s Health As Expanding Consciousness Nursing Theorists Nursing Theories: An Overview Nursing Theories and Research Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory Orlando’s Nursing Process Object Relations Theory Prochaska and DiClemente’s Stages of Change Model Psychoanalytic Theory Roy’s Adaptation Model Roper–Logan–Tierney Model of Nursing Systems Theory in Nursing Stress-Diathesis Model Stuart Stress Adaptation Model Self-efficacy Theory(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Statistical Theory Theories Based on Interactive Process Theories of Florence Nightingale Theories Applied in Psychiatric Nursing Theories Used in Community Health Nursing Theories of Intelligence Theories of Learning Theory of Mind Theory of Interpersonal Relations:: Peplau Theory of Goal Attainment: Imogene King Theory of Chronic Sorrow Theory of Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger Theory of Moral Development Theory of Evolution(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) Tidal Model of Mental Health Nursing Trajectory Model by Corbin & Strauss Transcultural Nursing Understanding the works of Nursing Theorists Virginia Henderson’s Need Theory(Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay)

Applying the Concepts of Epidemiology and Nursing Research on Measles Comprehensive Nursing Essay Sample

Posted on November 23, 2023 |

Applying the Concepts of Epidemiology and Nursing Research on Measles Comprehensive Nursing Essay Sample Introduction Before the 20th century, infectious diseases comprised the most severe health globally until they were replaced by degenerative diseases, particularly in the developed countries. A defining characteristic of infectious diseases is that they are caused by organisms like viruses, bacteria, […]

Clara Barton Impact on Nursing Today

Posted on August 12, 2023 |

Clara Barton, a pioneering figure in American history, is often remembered as the founder of the American Red Cross and an unwavering humanitarian. However, her remarkable contributions extend far beyond her role in disaster relief and philanthropy. Barton’s legacy is intertwined with her tireless efforts as a Civil War nurse, educator, and advocate for social […]

Dr. Albert Bandura – Pioneer of Social Learning Theory

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In the vast landscape of psychological theories, few have left as indelible a mark as Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. Born on December 4, 1925, in Mundare, Alberta, Canada, Bandura’s insights have not only transformed the field of psychology but have also reverberated across various disciplines, including education, sociology, and even business management. This article […]

A Comprehensive Guide to Pediatric Nursing Theories: 10 Key Theories

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Pediatric nursing theories are frameworks that guide nurses in providing care to children and their families. They help nurses understand the physical, emotional, and developmental needs of children, as well as the impact of the environment on their health. Pediatric nursing theories also provide a basis for nursing research and practice. In this article, we […]

Exploring the Essence of Humanistic Theory: Nurturing the Growth of the Self

Humanistic theory is a perspective in psychology that emphasizes the importance of the individual’s subjective experience and potential for growth. It is often contrasted with other perspectives in psychology, such as behaviorism and psychoanalysis, which focus on more objective and deterministic explanations of human behavior. In this article, we will embark on a comprehensive journey […]

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    APA style is used for professional writing in nursing and health care. As a professional, it is important to be able to clearly communicate your research or professional writing in an accurately formatted paper using the most current APA style. The purpose of this assignment is to write a 500-750-w... [Show more] Preview 1 out of 4 pages

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    Nursing Theories. Nursing theories consist of coherent groups of broad propositions used as fundamental principles of explanation, are derived from existing conceptual frameworks, and are classified based on scope and purpose. (Summary of Nursing Theories- Essay) What You'll Learn hide. 1 Summary of Nursing Theories. 2 Key Definitions.

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