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Development of Nursing Theory: Reflective Essay

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In my perspective, theories are developed by analytical thinkers, who assemble a set of reports such as: proposals, models, philosophies, depictions, qualitative and quantitative data to be thoroughly tested with the support of evidenced-based research. Furthermore, I believe theories are also hypothetical opinions that encounter trial runs to be verified as reliable resources to practice in healthcare settings. The development of a theory can be derived from an experience or even an observation in clinical practice that has consistently shown a decrease in patient outcomes and quality of life. Based off the knowledge I have obtained about theory in general, its purpose is to serve as a guide to help healthcare professionals practice safe and effectively as well as make appropriate decisions using their clinical judgement. In addition, theories alone have strengthened professional practice because prior, information presented was ongoing without a resolution and now; nurses like myself, are able to utilize this large body of evidence to decide suitable interventions for patients. In saying that, theories in relation to nursing practice, should be patient-centered. Theories that are patient-centered allows the nursing process to be displayed because it helps one to analyze situations that are occurring in practice, and construct a plan of care that will become beneficial to all providers in their practice. Lastly, theories should be clear in its meaning with supporting materials and should be accessible to healthcare professionals. As stated before, theory in my point of view is a combination of data, models, and philosophies that are tested to serve as a vital tool in healthcare practice with an ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.

According to Alligood (2014, p. 9), philosophies, concepts, and theories provide nurses with an outlook of the patient to help facilitate their decision-making process within their practice. My interpretation of theory is supported by a nursing theorist who believes just as I do that theoretical frameworks have the intentions of improving patient outcomes if used appropriately. Theory, specifically nursing, requires an analytical thinker who can prioritize data deemed important to provide appropriate interventions in a patient’s plan of care. Furthermore, my definition supports Alligood’s literature because my reasoning of its development coincides with the author and is one of the many reasons why it is currently implemented into nursing practice. Nursing theories are set in place for healthcare professionals to use in their practice to promote safety, decrease medical errors, and increase quality of life. Also, as mentioned earlier, nursing theories strengthen one’s practice because it gives healthcare providers the confidence to share the body of knowledge they’ve learned with other colleagues. Educating oneself enhances professional practice and promotes positive outcomes. Without nursing theories, I believe that research wouldn’t be valid; nurse’s opportunity for career advancement and knowledge expansion would be at a standstill and caring for patients in clinical without valid resources would be unsafe and hinder decision making. My viewpoints on theory compares to the literature in my many ways because me and the author, Alligood, can both agree that theories are used as resourceful guides to practice. One of the fascinating things about my findings and Alligood’s is that nursing theories are supported with evidence-based research that is essential to practice.

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The development of nursing theory is important in professional practice and in nursing as a whole because it helps to enhance knowledge. Based off the readings and what I know thus far, nursing theory at one point of time appeared to have been a controversial topic regarding its “lack of” in clinical practice. Ahtisham and Jacoline (2015) conveyed that theories without concepts and literature in clinical settings are abstract in nature. To be abstract in nature, in my opinion, means to be nonexistent in the physical aspect and serve only as a thought or idea. Nursing theory is a necessity to practice because it can be verified in clinical with research instead of making presumptions that could lead to patient harm and increase hospital readmissions. Moreover, its development has helped construct nursing interventions for nurses to adhere to when providing direct patient care. Theoretical research and models have given the nursing profession its own identity separate from medicine. Nursing theory has given us a foundation, structure, and guidance in acquiring nursing knowledge that can be applied across the healthcare system. However, nursing knowledge alone cannot help nurses make sound clinical decisions. As stated before, nursing theories are supported by research where nurses are able to integrate such findings into their daily practices to advocate for safe and quality care. In all, if nursing theory was nonexistent then I pose the question as to how do we know what our roles and responsibilities as nurses are and also how can we be so sure that the care we provide is safe? Once again, nursing theory is vital to healthcare practice because evidence-based research has shown to considerably change patients overall health status.

When it comes to my current practice, I haven’t used theory as much due to my lack of understanding and not really knowing its importance in relation to clinical decision making. The unit that I currently reside on is an observation floor where patients are considered low acuity status without the need of emergent interventions. The thought of using theory on a daily basis on my floor in particular, never really registered in my brain because the clinical situations I have encountered were not complex in nature that required substantial evidence to make a decision. In other instances, I have utilized evidenced based research for patient education purposes. For example, I can recall having a patient with a new diagnosis who lacked understanding in symptom management, treatment compliance, diet recommendations, and lifestyle alterations. In that moment, I relied on my own nursing knowledge and supported research that I found to help promote understanding with an emphasis on positive patient outcomes. In a way, I would say nursing theory ties into that, but then again my lack thereof in this subject alone is one of the reasons why I haven’t utilized it in my practice routinely. I understand that it is a major component to the practice of nursing because it serves as a blueprint to the nursing model. Lastly, it is my hope that towards the end of my nursing theory course, I am able to develop an in depth understanding of theory and why its contribution to nursing practice aids in the prioritizing of patient care to promote patient satisfaction and quality of life.

5. The website that I reviewed on the internet that relates to and promotes theory is called Nursing Theory. Nursing Theory created by Petiprin (2016), was designed for healthcare professionals and academic students to explore models, theories, and become familiar with well-known theorists. The significance of this theory-based website is that it provides an in-depth understanding to professionals about what is nursing theory, why do we use it, and most importantly; why is it deemed important in patient care. Furthermore, the site explores theories and philosophies interrelationship and how their use is apparent in the field of nursing. Based off my interpretation of theory and its purpose to nursing practice, this website validates that my beliefs of theories origin, are mostly from experiences in nursing practice. Theories serve as a guide to nurse’s individual practice and helps to center their care that is patient-specific with realistic goals and interventions. In addition, the Nursing Theory website has a list of theories and models that are resourceful to all specialties in nursing. I was astounded to see various models targeting adults, family practice, pediatrics, mental health, public health, and holistic nursing just to name a few. What I’ve gained from researching Nursing Theory is that no matter what field you are currently practicing in, this website is an additional resource that can be utilized in your decision making process. I can attest that the website and I share similar views in our reasoning’s of theories implementation into nursing practice. The goal is to expand nursing knowledge and use models and principles that are in place to guide practice.

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Development of Nursing Theory: Reflective Essay. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 25, 2023, from
“Development of Nursing Theory: Reflective Essay.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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Development of Nursing Theory: Reflective Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Aug 12 [cited 2023 May 25]. Available from:
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