Choosing a Nursing Theory to Study

It is important to give adequate attention to selection of theories for study. Results of this work may have lasting influences on one’s nursing practice. For all the reasons already offered in this book, aspects of one’s personal and professional life may encounter challenges and growth. It is not unusual for nurses who begin to work with nursing theory to realize their practice is changing and that their future efforts in the discipline and practice of nursing are markedly altered.

There is always some measure of hope mixed with anxiety as nurses seriously explore nursing theory for the first time. Individual nurses who practice with a group of colleagues often wonder how to select and study nursing theories. Nurses and nursing students in courses considering nursing theory have similar questions. Nurses in new practice settings designed and developed by nurses have the same concerns about getting started as do nurses in hospital organizations who want more from their nursing. The following exercise is grounded in the belief that the study and use of nursing theory in nursing practice must have roots in the practice of the nurses involved. Moreover, the nursing theory used by particular nurses must reflect elements of practice that are essential to those nurses while at the same time bringing focus and freshness to that practice. This exercise calls on the nurse to think about the major components of nursing, and calls forth the values
and beliefs nurses hold most dear. In these ways, the exercise begins to parallel knowledge development reflected in the nursing metaparadigm and nursing philosophies as described in Chapter 1. From this point on, the nurse is guided to connect nursing theory and nursing practice in the context of nursing situations. It is from these experiences that decisions about nursing theory and practice are derived.
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