What is theory and why is theory development in nursing important to practice? What are the differences between a theory and a model? Why is the distinction important?
A theory is a model that seeks to explain how a part of a phenomenon works. It is not just a description of how things happen but it explains how things work. Theory draws observations made over time to interpret, explain and predict behavior. Theories refer to a set of concepts that offer systematic view of activities (Duffy, 2009). Theory development in nursing has concepts, models, definitions and propositions. Theory development is important in nursing because it gives planners important tools that help in moving design and evaluation of health. It allows development of interventions after understanding behavior (Basford & Slevin, 2011). Theory development allows organization of relationships that will help in explaining, predicting and controlling practices. Theories provide foundations that help in generating knowledge and indicating direction that nursing will follow now and in future. It helps in the formation of a body of knowledge. Increasing the body of knowledge helps in the elimination of disease. Theories are logical in nature and consistent with the concepts.
Theories and models arise at different periods and levels of study. Models happen before formulation of actual theories. Models lead to the production of theories. Models function for explaining theories whereas theories form the basis of explaining various phenomena and their existence (Orem et al., 2003). Distinction of a theory and a model is important to help students to avoid confusing the terms. The terms confuse people because they believe they mean the same thing.
Discuss philosophical perspectives and the influence of these perspectives on theory development and application in nursing practice.
Quality care for patients continues to be the priority of nursing. In the 21st century, the urgency is of care surpasses everything because of better awareness and diversity. The needs of people change and the conflicting priorities of health care systems influence the theory development process (Meleis, 2011). Theoretical thinking and theory have in the past promoted answers to the roles of nursing that are not defined. However, the present era where unequal access to care is the order of the day, there are emerging challenges that hinder the development and implementation of nursing practice. The nursing discipline just like any other discipline has a way it executes its activities. The paradigms that govern nursing profession include constructivism where every individual constructs his/her on reality that leads to several interpretations which leads to different results in the theory development. Critical theory involves formulation of ideas that have relationships to an ideology. Positivism refers to experimental testing (Bomar, 2004). The way people view knowledge affects the way people plan to carry out the research process. The concepts of realism and relativism affect the moral rules and ethics.
How does theoretical nursing impact the care patients receive
Theoretical nursing affects the quality of care that patients receive. Development of nursing theory involves investment in education and a great deal of research. Theory guides the medical practitioners in making clinical decisions (Leininger, 2005). Theory is important in providing guidelines for research process. The concepts used in treatment and diagnosis arise from the theories of nursing. Doctors and nurses follow guidelines from theories. Theories are important in evidence-based practice. The type of care that patients receive depends on the motivation that nurses possess.
Basford, L., & Slevin, O. (2003). Theory and practice of nursing: An integrated approach to patient care. Cheltenham, U.K: Nelson Thornes.
Bomar, P. J. (2004). Promoting health in families: Applying family research and theory to nursing practice. Philadelphia, Penns: Saunders.
Duffy, J. R. (2009). Quality caring in nursing: Applying theory to clinical practice, education, and leadership. New York: Springer Pub.
Leininger, . (2005). Culture Care Diversity & Universality: A Theory of Nursing. Jones & Bartlett.
Meleis, A. I. (2011). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Orem, D. E., Renpenning, K. M. L., & Taylor, S. G. (2003). Self-care theory in nursing: Selected papers of Dorothea Orem. New York: Springer.