Metaparadigm is a term that distinguishes a discipline and gives that discipline an abstract view. It distinguishes one field of study from another. Metaparadigm is a combination of two words, Meta and paradigm. Fawcett defined metaparadigm of discipline as groups of statements that identify its phenomena in a global way and not specific. Fawcett explained the concepts that define the discipline. Fawcett identified four concepts of nursing as environment, health, nursing and human beings (Fawcett, 2005). The nursing discipline development has seen many challenges over the past century. Fawcett formulated that nursing is a distinct discipline composed of structural holarchies, which are integrated to function in unity to produce nursing knowledge. Acquiring the nursing knowledge occurs from abstract and concrete thinking. The holarchy that Fawcett describes consist of metaparadigm, philosophy, conceptual model, empirical indicator and theory. The holarchy in other terms is hierarchical meaning the components of nursing knowledge have some hierarchies.
Agreeing to nursing metaparadigm allows nursing to have its honor as a profession. It brings unity. It allows nurses to communicate their function. It helps them to express what they cannot do. It also helps them to speak on what they do not do. Metaparadigm allows the nurses to express what they are about and what they are not doing. Researchers have spent time deliberating and trying to identify aspects of nature that take nursing as a discipline. Philosophy tries to search this body of knowledge. Fawcett specifies philosophy as an argument that speaks about phenomena as an interest to a discipline. Philosophers have tried to know how nursing existed. The questions that philosophers ask try to research on possibilities about the existence of nursing. The areas of philosophical inquiry include logic, ethics, ontological and epistemology. The epistemology seeks to understand how knowledge is created and disseminated. Ontology refers to the beliefs that people have about something. Ethics concerns itself with morals and the values that nursing as a profession possesses. The scholars of nursing communicate their researches about nursing as a discipline by developing philosophical views about human beings and the world. Fawcett gave three worldviews that nursing scholars have developed. The worldviews include simultaneous worldview, reciprocal interaction and reaction worldview. The philosophy component of nursing according to Fawcett, philosophies are important in forming the foundations for new formulations of theories and conceptual models.
Conceptual models are abstract and general concepts addressing a specific interest in a discipline. It helps in describing concepts and propositions. Conceptual models help in classifying relationships in different phenomena. It helps in communication of nursing concepts with confidence because one understands he/she is doing. The conceptual models guide research and allow attainment of accurate results. Nursing metaparadigm helps individuals to understand, analyze and characterize data. The models that Fawcett develops allow the nurses to have diverse views and their functions. The models of nursing give a unique direction and allows for the development of concrete theories. The way the nurses see the world is important in their practice as nurses. Conceptual models form the important part where claims about nursing as a career can happen. Conceptual models classify relationships. Conceptual model enables the world to observe what is happening in the world through hearing, seeing and processing information to have a frame of reference. It is important also for nurses to know how to choose a credible conceptual model that is relevant to the area of study one is interested in taking.
Nursing metaparadigm allows nursing to continue have its own unique identity. Conceptual models are different from other middle range theories. A conceptual model requires one to complete some steps that will allow linking of concepts to testable hypotheses. Theories define and sort knowledge. Fawcett provides a way that helps to distinguish between theory and conceptual framework. Fawcett described theory as concepts that give specific relationship between concepts. Theory is important in conducting a research. The theory must undergo some scrutiny for determination of its viability. The conceptual models help in transforming and informing nursing practice by providing evidence. It also provides information that assists in modification of documentation outcomes and conception models. The relationship between conceptual models and the practice of nursing goes from the abstract of models to real life setting. Theories have levels of abstractions. The theories that have traces of holarchy are the middle range theory and grand theory. Grand theory is a level of abstraction of Fawcett theory. It consists of propositions and concepts that are narrow and very abstract. Grand theory is the macro theory. Grand theories assist in development of middle range theories. The middle range theory is less abstract and narrow in scope. It helps in the alignment of nursing practice. It guides research in attaining specificity in research.
The aim of Fawcett included to express how testing of middle range theories occur, how they indicate a maturing discipline, how middle range theories fit in the holarchy and the importance of holarchy. The middle range theories are classified into three categories: predictive, explanatory and descriptive. Descriptive theory involves presenting information and giving details. Explanatory theory seeks to explain how concepts relate to each other. The prescriptive theory works on predicting the likelihood of events in the future. Empirical indicators provide a means through which middle range theories undergo testing.
Conceptual theoretical empirical is important in translating the metaparadigm of nursing from theory to practice. This involves the society, individual and the community at large requiring nursing. Conceptual theoretical empirical helps in the health institutions, it helps in setting the tone of how the institution treats its clients. It also helps in translating philosophies into the realm of nursing practice. Communication of philosophy in the organization is through code of conduct, bill of rights and sometimes through the American Nurses Association. The empirical indictors include the performance standards of nursing practice, evaluation criteria, formatting of the assessment and classification of taxonomies. Metaparadigm allows individuals to characterize and interpret reality. This happens through understanding nursing theories.
The components of nursing knowledge according to Fawcett include conceptual model, empirical indicator, theory and philosophy. Nursing may soon lose its identity if nursing scholars and researchers leave nursing models for theories from other disciplines. Translation of real practice of nursing requires the linking of the conceptual models of nursing to the empirical indicators and integrating them to conceptual theoretical empirical system. This allows the translation of the components into the practice of nursing. Nurses, scholars and researchers need to continue develop their knowledge to ensure that they continue being relevant. They need to acquire nursing knowledge and be able to use the skills to in the analysis of theories.
Fawcett, J. (2005). Contemporary nursing knowledge: Analysis and evaluation of nursing models and theories. FA Davis.