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The Role of Nursing Theory in Research and Practice - Essay Example

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Florence Nightingale deemed today as the author of modern nursing and the first nurse theorist was a practitioner whose beliefs and ways contributed for the development of nursing over the years. Even until today the involvement of Nightingale in nursing practice can be felt…
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The Role of Nursing Theory in Research and Practice
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Nursing Theories: Guide for Better Nursing Practice Nursing Theories: Guide for Better Nursing Practice Nightingale’s environmental concept theory: an environment of healing. Briefly summarize the theory you reviewed and relate the theory to your practice setting.
Florence Nightingale deemed today as the author of modern nursing and the first nurse theorist was a practitioner whose beliefs and ways contributed for the development of nursing over the years. Even until today the involvement of Nightingale in nursing practice can be felt and is believed to be one of the foundations of nursing practice. Florence Nightingale conceptualized the first nursing theory known as “The Environmental Theory.” In this theory, the role of the nurse is to use the patients environment to help the patient recover and get back to the usual pre-sickness environment. This theory explains the reason that the patients environment is important due to its effect and affectation to a person’s health in a positive or a negative way—attributed with diseases. Providing a therapeutic environment is viewed essential for a person to heal himself (Chen, n.d.). Some examples of the environmental factors affecting health according to Nightingales theory are fresh air, pure water, sufficient food and appropriate nutrition, efficient drainage, cleanliness, and light or direct sunlight. If any of these factors is lacking, it can delay the patients recovery. Nightingale also emphasized providing a quiet, warm environment for patients to recover in. The theory also calls for nurses to assess a patients dietary needs, document food intake times, and evaluate how the patients diet affects his or her health and recovery (“Florence Nightingale,” 2011)
The Nightingale’s concept views a person to have reparative powers and can be affected by the environment. Health on the other hand is the utilization of the person’s power to maintain well-being and is affected by the environment through the utilization of the nursing process by providing fresh air, warmth, cleanliness, and proper diet to facilitate person’s reparative process. The goal of nursing is to put the patient in the best possible condition in order for nature to act.
Theoretical framework: advantages versus disadvantages. Explain two of the benefits of using a theory or conceptual model to guide a research study. Suggest one possible disadvantage of this.
The advent of nursing theories benefited the whole healthcare system by virtue of guidance in the nursing practice through research and empirical studies. Aggleton and Chalmers cited that practicing within the scope of nursing without a theory to underpin is an empty approach often described as ‘practicing in the dark’ (1986 as cited by Mckenna, 1997, p108). Nursing theories therefore provides nursing practice with a systematic basis for assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation offering a way of revitalization (Mckenna, 1997, p. 108)
As a guide to practice, the nursing theories are essential guide for action and help bring theoretical knowledge and clinical practice closer together (Mckenna, 1997, p108), thus paving way for a more evidenced-based, factual and safe practice guidelines backed up with studies and not merely thoughts or ideas without basis. On simpler sense, nursing theory provides nurses of how the construction of a rationale for nursing procedures emerged; an example is the provision of a clean and safe environment to patients with proper ventilation and sanitation was actually a practice dated back from the time of Nightingale known today as the environmental theory.
Furthermore, nursing theories provide bases for researchers to find factual information leading to truth and validity of the concepts of such theories. An example is finding a research study regarding the effectiveness of establishing nurse-patient relationship which is under the theory of Hildegard Peplau (Chen, n.d.). Nursing theories provide a framework for generating new knowledge and new ideas it offer a systematic approach to identify questions for study; select variables, interpret findings, and validate nursing interventions (“Application of theory in Nursing process,” 2012).
On the contrary Theofanidis & Fountouki (2008, p. 18-19) discussed the ambiguity in the use of the nursing theories. (Hardy, 1986 as cited by Theofanidis & Fountouki, 2008, p18-19),
According to these authors’ discussion one of the disadvantages of theory usage is that any particular model presents the subjective views of those constructing it based on the authors’ conceptions and are biased in particular of the author’s own learning and experiences. It can be argued that any particular model includes some of its creator’s subjectivity. In this context even purely scientific experimental designs are subject to the researcher’s influence (Theofanidis & Fountouki, 2008, p18-19). Furthermore, according to the discussion posed on the ambiguity of nursing theories, models promote the use of specialized concepts and jargon which necessitate lengthy orientation, a procedure which is not available to health consumers that creates a distance between care and consumer, and between professions. By this it explains that theorizing in itself carries a risk that could lead to distancing the new nursing academia from those providing practical care and this might fracture the powerful care identity bestowed upon the socially valuable discipline of nursing (Theofanidis & Fountouki, 2008, p18-19).
Putting theory in practice. Briefly describe a research study that could test your selected theory or conceptual framework. How could you implement this theory and your proposed research into your practice setting?
A research proposal that can be attributed to the environment theory of Nightingale is through a study of finding the effectiveness of providing a therapeutic environment in the fast recovery of post-operative patients. The conduction of this research is relevant in finding the role of therapeutic environment in the recovery of patients who undergo surgical procedures likewise the success of the study will be related to the increase rate in fast recovery of patients admitted in a hospital. Population sample will be taken from two different sets of post-operative patients; one will be given ample therapeutic environment while the control group will be given less—in terms of sanitation, quiet environment, and self-care. Both health care facility and the patients will benefit from the research findings in terms of improving the provision of therapeutic environment thus decreasing the rate of prevalence of surgical-related infections. The contributions of nursing theories in the progression and improvement of nursing practice evolve over time, never ending questions are sought to be given answers for the benefit of safe, efficient and patient directed nursing practice.
Application of Theory in Nursing Process (2012) Retrieved March 5, 2012, from Nursing Theories website,
Chen P. (n.d.) Foundations in Nursing Practice. Laurete Education Inc.
Florence Nightingale (2011) Retrieved March 5, 2012, from Nursing Theory website,
McDonald L. (2001) Florence Nightingale and the early origins of evidence-based nursing. Evidence Based Nursing 2001, 4, 68-69.
Mckenna H. (1997) Nursing Theories and Models, Essentials for Nurses Series. Routledge Publisher. Print.
Theofanidis D. & Fountouki A. (2008) Nursing theory: A discussion on an ambiguous concept. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 1(1), p 15-20 Read More
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