9 May 2022


Nursing Theory: An Overview

Format: APA

Academic level: University

Paper type: Term Paper

Words: 1571

Pages: 6

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The foundation of any profession lies in the development of specialized knowledge, models, and practices that best fit it to actualize the essential goals. One of the renowned professions is the nursing profession and, just like other professions, it requires a set of body with relevant knowledge that enhances its practice (Nayeri, 2016). In this paper, the assignment takes an overview of the nursing theory by defining it, and highlighting its purpose. Secondly, the paper discusses the nursing metaparadigm and its four primary concepts. In its final part, the paper evaluates the importance of theory in nursing practice by using two examples from current practice. 

Nursing theory and its purpose

In its basic terms, a theory denotes to a group of related concepts that suggest actions which guide a particular practice or profession. The nursing theory is the set of concepts, definitions, their relationships, and the assumptions they propose derived from relevant nursing and other professional models that project a purpose-oriented system view of nursing phenomena (Colley, 2003). These phenomena design the specific relationship among the ideas so that they can describe, explain, predict, and prescribe what ought to be done in a situation. 

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The nursing theory is an indispensable part of the nursing profession because of the role it plays. One of the purposes of the nursing theory is that it guides the practice and generates relevant knowledge for all practitioners, especially from a practical point of view. Secondly, the nursing theory helps in describing and explaining the nursing profession. Thirdly, according to Nayeri (2016), the nursing theory enables professional nurses to know why they do what they do. Fourthly, it allows the profession to organize the relationship among the concepts so that it describe, explain, predict, and initiate controls in the nursing practice. Effectively, the nursing profession relies of the nursing theory to carry out everyday practice in their professional engagements (Nayeri, 2016). It suffices to say that modern processes, models, knowledge, and nursing theories owe their relevance from the nursing theory. They are initiated in line with the defining components of the nursing theory as concepts and definitions, their inter-relationships and the assumptions they propose based on nursing models and phenomena (Nayeri, 2016). Therefore, the purpose of theory in nursing is have a body of knowledge, models, and practices that help them actualize the goals of the profession. 

Nursing metaparadigm

Metapradigm is a global conceptual or philosophical framework of a profession or discipline that defines and describes the relationship among the main values and ideas within the profession. Secondly, it guides the organization of the existing theories and models that define a profession (Nayeri, 2016). Effectively, the nursing profession’s conceptual models and theories are based on the nursing metaparadigm. The implication is that without metaparadgm components, the nursing theory and profession would cease to exist because these components are the critical areas of focus. The nursing metaparadgm has four critical ideas or components that include person, environment, health, and nursing. Let’s take an overview of each component.


Many will say that the ‘person’ concept denotes to a patient, usually a sick individual that benefits from the nursing services and models. However, the ‘person’ metaparadigm may denote to that one sick person, and their family and friends. The person is the subject o the nursing profession. Nurses need to understand that the ‘person’ metaparadigm is unique and as a human being they are open energy fields with different life experiences (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). These fields of energy are different from their parts and should not be modeled by nurses based on how they know their parts. Humans are holistic beings because of their uniqueness, dynamism, and their sentiency. They are also multidimensional and able to reason in abstract, create, and are responsible. Therefore, nurses must view them as valued persons that should have respect, be nurtured, and comprehended since they possess the right informed choices or decisions concerning their wellness (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). Therefore, nurses need to understand that a person is not a mere object of professional care or surveillance but rather one that should be valued because they are the foundation and the main reason for nursing practice. 


The environment metapradigm is critical to the nursing profession because it influences one’s health. These may be the external and internal conditions that affect one’s beliefs, values, customs, mores, and even expectations (Nayeri, 2016). Just like the human energy filed, the environment is an energy field that allows nursing clients to encounter aesthetic beauty, threats to wellness, and life experiences in health care, and blossoming and caring relationships. The environment remains a critical component of the nursing practice because it affects a nursing client’s health in different dimensions. These dimensions are physical, historical and development, psychosocial, cultural, and the economic and political facets of the social world (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). Effectively, nurses need to appreciate the important role that the environment plays in a patient’s nursing approaches. For instance, the environment impacts on a patient’s recovery, mental state, and even pain management. Nurses need to appreciate the fact that the social and cultural systems must create positive energy that will allow the profession to meet its intended objectives. In some literature, environment is defined as the situation, an implication that nurses must understand a patient’s situation to improve quality outcomes and delivery of services.


Health is defined as dynamic process that denotes to being well or ill. Additionally, it is regarded as the perception of a nursing client based on their life. Effectively, the approach ensures that a patient’s physical, social, and moral aspects are addressed by the nursing practice (Nayeri, 2016). One’s wellness is viewed as one’s healthy life experience that sums up their possibilities and realities based on the care and the emotional experience of being cared for. On the other hand, illness denotes to experience of a loss or dysfunction which can be corrected and mitigated through caring nursing interventions (Fawcett, 2013).

Therefore, nurses have a professional obligation to ensure that their clients approach to stress and their coping is conceptualized based on the nursing models. Furthermore, the degree of health is the demonstration of the mutual interactive process that exists between the physical environment and people (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). Imperatively, in assessing a patient’s health, the metaparadgm should not be viewed as an absolute term but rather a relative one. For instance, a sixty year old man can manage ten pushups and be considered as in good health. Conversely, an eighteen year old man who can manage only five pushups may be viewed as being less healthy in comparison to the average man in his age. Effectively, nurses are in a position to understand this view and educate their nursing clients. 

Nursing Practice

Nursing is an academic discipline and a profession practice forming one critical component of metaparadigm in nursing. Nursing can be viewed as an art and science that deals with holistic care based on the values of freedom, choice, and responsibility (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). Nursing is a science that derives its concepts, models, and practices by developing theory, research, and analysis (Nayeri, 2016). Nursing theories remain fundamental in guiding and advancing the practice. On the other hand, nursing practice is a creative art that offers human care using scientific knowledge. The nursing is practiced through therapeutic interventions. Nurses are expected to apply critical thinking skills and clinical judgment when providing evidence-based care so as to achieve an optimal level for their client’s wellness in diverse nursing situations (Fawcett, 2013). Therefore, judgment and use of critical thinking skills enhance the professional nursing practice. 

Practicing nurses need to appreciate that care is the moral ideal of the profession and a pivotal part of nursing practice. Care includes having concern and empathy, and a zealous commitment to the client’s health experience and its relationship concerning wellness and disease. Imperatively, caring becomes the nursing’s source of power and the nurse should use it autonomously to define their professional goals and empower patients through caring relationships. Moreover, they should use critical thinking skills and research to enhance knowledge transition, skills, and technologies in nursing (Fawcett, 2013). The practice is a basis for the incorporation of intellectual, interpersonal psychomotor and communication skills in caring for persons, families and communities irrespective of their settings. It encourages the formation of coordinated relationships with other health service providers (Nayeri, 2016). Therefore, nursing aims at enhancing a humanistic approach to health in people and also care for all irrespective of their health conditions. Achieving excellent nursing practice needs one to be committed, caring, and use of essential skills concerning mastery, status and control in the practice. 

Importance of theory in nursing practice

According to Fawcett, (2013) nursing theory is important because it provides the foundations of the nursing practice and assists in the generation of further knowledge. It gives the direction where the nursing practice should develop in the future. For instance, evidence-based nursing model is a relevant example of the development of theory in nursing. Effectively, theory allows nurses to understand what they know and what they need. Secondly, it allows the nursing practice to continue the expansion of a unique body of knowledge to serve the practice, especially when nurses attempt to maintain the professional boundaries (Fawcett, 2013). The approach ensures that nurses know what is expected based on their knowledge and the defined boundaries of practice. Thirdly, nursing theory allows the nurses to analyze what they do because caring as the fundamental exponent in nursing cannot be measured and it’s only through theory that they can evaluate the impact of caring. 

Fourthly, nursing theory helps in distinguishing the basis of nursing practice through an explicit description of nursing. Through the defined body of theory, nurses can enhance better care, their professional status, improve communication among them, and have guidance for research and education (Fawcett, 2013). Furthermore, the theory aims at describing, predicting, and explaining nursing phenomena for a better understanding. 

The current practice shows that theory in nursing practice is important on two fronts. Nurses use theory in everyday practice in organizing, understanding, and analyzing health information. They use it in arriving at appropriate decisions on the kind interventions to be used and plan for their client’s care (Chinn & Kramer, 2014). They also use it to predict care outcomes. Finally, nurse use it to evaluate patient outcomes. Secondly, nursing students use the nursing theory to understand the nature of knowledge required to practice nursing and the implication of nursing practice to them. 


Nursing theory is a critical component of the nursing profession and practice. Imperatively, professional nurses who ignore the nursing theory may practice the profession at the command of others, for instance, the physicians, or based on routines and health facility policies. The implication is that they may fail to deliver quality and humanistic care to their patients. 


Colley, S. (2003). Nursing Theory: Its importance to practice. Nursing Standard , 17 (46), 33-37.

Chinn, P. L., & Kramer, M. K. (2014). Knowledge development in nursing: Theory and process

Elsevier Health Sciences.

Fawcett, J. (2013). The state of nursing science: hallmarks of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Philosophical and theoretical perspectives for advanced nursing practice , 35-43.

Nayeri, N. D. (2016). The Concepts of Nursing’s Meta paradigm in the Monotheistic System. Nursing Practice Today , 2 (3).

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