Application of Nursing Theory to Practices

Application of Nursing Theory to Practices

Becoming a practicing nurse is no easy task. Throughout their course, students encounter theory-based homework, assignments, and research work, while also participating in practical training as part of the institution’s program. In this section, we will explore the application of nursing theory to practice and its significance.

Introduction to Nursing Theories

To begin, let’s understand what nursing theories are, why they are essential to study, and their overall importance in the field of nursing.

What are Nursing Theories?

Nursing theories are well-organized and researched concepts that elucidate the principles of nursing and its practice. They shed light on the scope of nursing and provide valuable insights for reference and case studies for nurses. These theories encompass major concepts related to the patient, the hospital environment, the practice of nursing, and the patient’s overall well-being.

Major Concepts of Nursing Theories

Nursing theories revolve around four major concepts: the patient (person), the hospital environment, the practice of nursing, and the patient’s well-being (health) in various aspects such as social, spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions.

Different Types of Nursing Theories

There are several types of nursing theories, each serving different purposes and levels of detail:

1. Grand Nursing Theories:

These conceptual frameworks offer a broad perspective on nursing behaviors within various environments and can be applied in different settings.

2. Middle-Range Nursing Theories:

More detailed and specific than grand nursing theories, middle-range theories establish relationships between related theories or disciplines and have been tried and tested over the years.

3. Practice-Level Nursing Theories:

These theories provide specific details relevant to nursing interventions and can be based on both grand and middle-range theories, catering to the needs of nurses in practice.

Importance of Nursing Theories

Nursing theories play a crucial role in guiding nurses in their practice and patient care. They serve as reference points, enabling nurses to make critical decisions, deliver high-quality healthcare services, regulate the environment for patient well-being, and draw professional boundaries based on ethical considerations. Additionally, nursing theories contribute to evidence-based practice, ensuring that interventions are well-researched and effective.

Users of Nursing Theory Application

Nursing theories find application among researchers as references for further research, students as a means to enhance their knowledge before entering the real-world environment, and practicing nurses as references to make informed decisions and provide quality care.

Nursing Theories and Theorists

Numerous theorists have contributed evidence-based theories that support the four major nursing concepts:

1. Ida Jean Orlando

Theory of Nursing Process: Focusing on the nurse-patient connection, Orlando emphasizes the importance of understanding verbal and non-verbal patient communication.

2. Dorothy Johnson

The System Model Theory: Johnson’s theory emphasizes maintaining system stability in the face of daily environmental stressors.

3. Madeleine Leininger

Theory of Transcultural Nursing: Leininger’s theory highlights the universal and transcultural aspects of caring for patients, considering cultural values and differences.

4. Dorothea Orem

Self-Care Deficit Theory: Orem emphasizes the nurse’s role in assisting patients with self-care and learning to care for themselves.

5. Jean Watson

Theory of Philosophy and Caring Model: Watson’s philosophy centers on universal caring, considering human nature and self-awareness.

6. Imogene King

Theory of Goal Attainment: King’s theory focuses on transactions within a particular environment, working towards achieving specific goals.

7. Hildegard Peplau

Theory of Interpersonal Relations: Peplau highlights the nurse’s understanding of interpersonal traits to build effective nurse-patient relationships.

8. Faye Abdellah

21 Nursing Problems Theory:

Abdellah’s theory emphasizes that nursing care should be based on the problems presented by the patient.

9. Myra Estrin Levine

The Theory of Conservation Model of Nursing: Levine proposes the use of conservation by nurses to enhance patient energy levels, integrity, and well-being.


In conclusion, nursing theories provide a solid foundation for nursing practice, guiding decision-making, and offering a framework for nurses to deliver effective and compassionate patient care. Familiarity with nursing theories is essential for all nurses to excel in their real-world practice.