Historical Theory

What is nursing Science? According to Barnett, nursing science is an identifiable with distinct knowledge that comprise of frameworks, theory and paradigms. In order to understand nursing science, I will discuss the historical development and explain the relationship between nursing profession and nursing science. Also, I will discuss how other disciplines can influence nursing science. This will help understand how theoretical thinking has evolved.

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Theory development and theory thinking was first intiated by Florence Nightingale. She presented the first nursing theory, the environmental theory. Her theory focused on the physical environment such as air, light, and warmth to restore the individuals health (George, 2011). Her work directed nursing practice for over a hundred and fifty years.

As we jumped to the 1950’s, graduates from Columbia University developed the first concept of nursing theory. Theorists such as Hildegard E. Peplau, Faye Abdellah, and Lydia Hall are one of many theorists who used the biomedical model. This model focuses on what nurses do and their functional role (George, 2011). Hildegard Peplau focused on the professional relationship between the patient and nurse by focusing on the patients needs, feelings, problems and ideas. Faye Abdellah, however, focused on patient-centered care (George, 2011). While Lydia Hall uses the circle of care, core and cure. She uses the three circles to involve nurses and patients to care for illness.

In the 1960s, theorists such as, Virginia Henderson, Ida Jean Orlando, and Ernestine Widenbach focused on nurse-patient relationship. Their theories focused on what nurses do and how patients perceives them (Walker and Avant, 2011). In 1965 the American Nurses Association (ANA) recommended two levels of education, the baccalaureate degree (the professional nurse), and the associated degree (the technical nurse). As a result of this, doctored prepared nurses became the next wave of nursing theorists (Walker and Avant, 2011).

As we look into the 1970’s, this was an era were many theorists were first presented, including Dorethea Orem, Jean Watson, and Patricia Benner. During this time, the understanding of research and knowledge of development increased. There was an understanding that research and theory together were required to produce nursing science. In the mid 1970s, the National League for Nursing (NLN) required all nursing schools to meet the accreditation standards by chosing, developing and implementing a conceptual framework. (George, 2011). This allowed students to apply theory to his/her nursing education (Walker and Avant, 2011). Towards the late 1970s, the first published journal, Advances in Nursing Science focuses on theory building, analysis and theory application. This journal was used as a forum for debate and discussion about theoretical thinking in nursing (Walker and Avant, 2011). This journal gave awareness of the need for concept and theory development.

In the 1980s many theories were being reviewed and expanded. This was a period of major developments in nursing theory from the pre-paradigm to the paradigm period. To further the development of nursing, paradigms (models) provided perspectives in nursing practice, administration, and research (Alligod, 2011). This includes the work of Patricia Benner, Madeline Leininger, and Martha Rogers. There theories focused on the body of theoretical thought in nursing.

As we get to the 1990s numerous nursing theories expaned and research studies were being tested. Middle-range theories guides clinical practice, while the circle of theory-research-practice provides the foundation of evidence-based and best practices(George, 2011). Theorists such as Martha Rogers, Ida King, and Patricia Benner, made revisions and refinements of their theories to implicate practice, research, education and the future.

Now in the 21st century, nursing theory became more diverse. Diversity is now being accepted and embraced after many years of struggling with theories (George, 2011). The discipline of nursing now focuses on the humans, health, illness, relationships, therapeutics, caring, interactions, ethics and diversity, to provide a fertile ground for the development of research and evidence-based and research practices (George, 2011).

Now that I have discussed the historical perspectives in nursing science, there is a relationship between nursing science and the profession. The goal of nursing science is to gain knowledge about human experiences through creative conceptualization and research. By applying nursing framework and theories will provide the foundation for professional nursing practice (George, 2011). It guides nurses in procedures, interpersonal engagement and value of professional practice. Also, Nursing theories will implement the critical thinking structures to direct clinical decision making for professional nursing and nursing practices (George, 2011). As we discussed the relationship between nursing science and the profession, theorists are influenced by other disciplines. Disciplines that theorist used are anthropology, philosophy, religion, education, social sciences and psychology.

Madeline Leiniger used anthropology, philosophy, social science, religion and education to develop a discipline in transcultural nursing also known as culture care theory. Sister Callista Roy and Betty Neuman provided conceptual framework for nursing education and science (Eun-Ok,&Ju, 2012). In psychology, Nola Pender developed the Health Promotion model with the goal of achieving outcomes of health promoting behavior (George, 2011) By adapting these disciplines it allows theorists to build theories and framework in order to enhance nursing practice (George, 2011). I have explained the historical development of nursing science and the relationship between nursing science and the procession. As well as, the influences of anthropology, philosophy, psychology, social science, religion and education on nursing science to provide us and guide us in nursing practice.

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