Before nursing theories have been developed, there was no need to explain some nursing practices as they were considered as a set of ordinary tasks. Owing to the nursing theories and concepts, nursing has transformed from calling to a specific field of study and professional occupation. Being used as a set of instructions on how to apply critical thinking, nursing theories teach people to make decisions on their own. Eventually, nursing theories made a serious contribution to the development of such area as nursing (McEwen & Wills, 2011).
The notions nursing ideology and nursing theory are identical. The point is that the attitude nurses have towards the profession of a nurse identifies the theories they will apply while working. Nursing ideology gives us a clear explanation of what nursing is and helps us understand the way nurses work. As to the nursing theory, it demonstrates how the collaboration between patients and nurses promotes excellent health. In addition, it discovers the connection between different health-relating issues by providing good examples. The role of nursing theory is to make the communication between nurses more effective and shed light on the aspects relating to nursing. Nursing theory describes the main stages of the development of this area and gives guidance on how it should progress in the future (Alligood & Tomey, 2002).
Marilyn Parker states that the term “nursing theory” can be interpreted in several ways. Owing to the nursing theory, specialists working in the nursing area can find out how the advanced techniques work in practice and how to apply them properly. It is necessary to admit that nursing theory discusses the medical issues relating to different specialties within the nursing area. Basically, nursing theory is primarily focused on improving the care services provided to patients. It can be said that nursing theory performs several roles. It identifies the place of nursing in the health care system, teaches its followers to critically analyze complicated situations, and defines the principles which nursing education should be based on (Parker, 2006). What is more, nursing theory teaches nurses and other specialists working in the mentioned filed not to be afraid of arriving at crucial decisions. One can define three main types of nursing theory: middle range theory, nursing practice theory, and grand theory. Each of the types clearly explains what professional nursing care is (McEwen & Willis, 2011).
According to Colley, 2003, the main task of nursing theory is to help nursing develop as an independent area. Due to the nursing theory, the specialists working in different sectors of a health care system learn to communicate with each other and discuss the concepts relating to nursing. Theories and ideologies play a crucial role in making decisions and implementing innovative ideas. Nurses would find it hard to carry out their professional duties if there were no coherent nursing theories which could help them understand how quality care should be provided.
Meleis claims that being fully aware of nursing theory is rather beneficial. First, it explains how the patients should be treated and diagnosed. Second, it gives a solid foundation for conducting studies. Third, it helps nurses develop their competence. As it has already been mentioned, nursing theory improves communication between all the specialists participating in the caring process. According to Meleis, 2011, it maintains “nursing independence” and teaches nurses to take responsibility for their actions. The major advantage of nursing theory is that it offers a systematic approach to dealing with the issues relating to the nursing field.
Alongside numerous advantages of the nursing theory, there are specific obstacles in the path of its development. The main role of nursing staff is to properly analyze different issues relating to their work in order to do their job well. Many people decide to build a career in the nursing area because they want to help others. However, they are not interested in analyzing and evaluating some issues. Another big problem that does not let applicants concentrate on the nursing philosophy is finances and applicants’ desire to achieve remarkable success in the chosen field. One more barrier to applying nursing theories is misinterpretation of its types. One should understand that a specific theory cannot be suitable for dealing with different patients (Meleis, 2011).
Dorothea Orem, Florence Nightingale, and Jean Watson are the most famous nursing theorists. The notes published by Florence Nightingale in 1860 became the foundation of nursing practice and study. The theory introduced by Jean Watson in 1975-1979 made a great contribution to the development of the nursing area. According to it, nursing is an independent sector within a large health care system with its own traditions and ethics. As to Dorothea Orem, she states that taking care of others is an intrinsic nature of everyone. The theory developed by Dorothea Orem claims that nurses should work efficiently to meet patients’ needs (Im & Ju Chang, 2012).
Nursing ideology presents the set of beliefs and principles which one should refer to when conducting research in the nursing area. It clearly illustrates the fundamental aspects of nursing. Additionally, it describes the methods and techniques that should be used in practice. Nursing ideology represents the essence of nursing and describes the peculiarities of relationship between nurses and patients. It is considered a helpful directory for experienced and new nurses. Nursing ideology helps us understand what major focus of nursing is and how to do one’s job perfectly (Kikuchi & Simmons, 1994).
The principles, methods, and techniques applied by nurses and their outlook on life and attitude towards nursing form the basis of the nursing philosophy. It helps a nurse understand what direction to move in. Ernestine Wiedenbach has developed a theoretical nursing pattern according to which nursing philosophy consists of three main sections. They are appreciation for life, significance of freedom, of every individual, and a guarantee to work efficiently by following one’s beliefs (Wiedenbach, 1964). A researcher Virginia Henderson was convinced that the chief role of a nurse wass to assist patients in every possible way. Nurses should help patients go through the daily routine since the latter are not able to cope with all the issues on their own for clear reasons (Castledine, 1996).
Since the period of Virginia Henderson's and Florence Nightingale, many nursing-related issues have changed. Still, one thing stays the same – the importance of understanding patients and taking care of them appropriately. By being aware of nursing theories and the way they are applied, nurses will be able to fulfill their duties well.
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