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nursing theories essay

Nursing Theories: A Reflection

Subject: Nursing
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Nursing Theories

Nursing theories have brought a great revolution in the field of nursing. Today, the theories have continued to influence every aspect of the nursing practice. Nurses in hospitals, either knowingly or unknowingly, apply the theories to solve challenging patients’ situations. Using a plausible theoretical framework, this essay shall reflect on some of these nursing theories and their significance on day-to-day nursing practice. Herein, I shall discuss the Betty Neuman’s Model, Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Model, and Patricia Benner’s theory. A reflection of Nightingale’s influence on these theories shall also be briefly discussed at the end of this.

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Betty Newman’s Model proposes that a patient is a unique system within itself that is composed of physiological, psychological, socio-cultural, spiritual, and developmental differences. Her work has provided a framework for nurses worldwide to deliver care for those in need beyond the basic physical needs. As stipulated in the model, each patient has a unique system, and a nurse should be concerned with treating the patient as a whole, not just one aspect of the individual. This very model takes into account that many stressors affect the patient, and responses to each stressor should be individualized (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2017). Betty Newman’s Model can be likened to Santrock’s (2010) essentials of life span. Here, the author had talked about a holistic view of health. He argued that life is made up of various aspects, and none must be overlooked. Betty’s model has always been very holistic too. Nurses can use this model to tackle various aspects of health including but not limited to social, physical, and psychological aspects. All these factors influence health in one way or the other. Social isolation, for instance, is a big risk factor for poor health. Isolated individuals tend to have shorter life span than their social counterparts do. Loneliness has been established to a major source of suffering, especially in the old age.  Loneliness may lead to chronic depression. Depression usually lowers the immunity of an individual. There is need for one to continually socialize with the people around him or her. Friendship keeps people active and emotionally secure. Social support too can help reduce some of the health-related risks of aging. As is conventionally known, it is quite agreeable that psychological stability enhance longevity. Most psychological factors point to one thing; happiness in life brings long life.  Researchers have always concurred that happy people tend to live long (IM E, 2015). Stressed individuals, on the other hand, seem to cut their lifespan short through their dull attitude towards life. Happiness, it seems, is brought about by achievements and satisfaction that one gets in life. With the attainment of the desired level of satisfaction, one settles down as a happy individual (Santrock, 2010). These are the very ideas that Betty tries to share with nurses through her model. If we can all observe this holistic model, then patients shall be well taken care of. Nightingale’s theory also had holistic approach by considering a patient’s environment. Betty may have borrowed a leaf from here.

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In my radiology practice, I have noticed that it is very stressful for the patient to come in for a diagnostic testing. However, if a nurse uses a systematic approach to assess all the above aspects of a patient, and with good communication, patients shall be psychologically prepared.  Therefore, nurses must always aim at providing patient education and knowledge that can ensure better patient outcomes, and nurturing patient satisfaction.

Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Model aims at giving patients independence. In other words, it seeks to empower patients. Through this model, nurses are able to motivate their patients to overcome their conditions and start taking care of themselves. One of the ways through which self-care model can work is regular exercise of patients. Nurses can encourage patients to do vital exercise that boost their health. Regular exercise can reduce the risk of a number of health problems for the middle-aged persons. Such health problems and diseases that can be minimized by regular exercise include heart diseases, obesity and weight gain, depression and mental illness. These health problems are very prevalent in the society today and their rates continue to heighten.

Patricia Benner’s theory talks about novice to expert. Patricia’s theory gives nurses an inspiration that they can always be better than they are today. This motivates nurses to improve on their service delivery. However, Benner emphasized that experience and knowledge can only be gained through education. This is the very policy stipulated by Nightingale. She advocated for education of all nurses. She even opened a nursing school.  Therefore, Nightingale had much influence on Benner’s theory (Holton, 1984).


These nursing theories have inspired and challenged me to become a model nurse. Dorothea Orem’s Self-Care Model has taught me to encourage my clients to be self-dependant. As a nurse, I would carry out a health promotion on regular exercise that will help the society eliminate the previously mentioned health complications. I would reach the targeted group through the available community based organizations and offer a practical teaching on exercise and healthy living. The middle-aged adults will be encouraged to involve themselves in activities such as walking and running to keep them fit. However, they should not overdo it; too much exercise might make them very tired and prevent them from doing their jobs effectively.

Patricia Benner’s theory has always been my source of motivation. Today, I am comfortable with the skills, theories, terminologies, experience and the nursing technology that I have so far learnt, in class and out of class. I can comfortably apply the knowledge acquired in class. However, I still need to work hard and learn more about advanced nursing. I am confident that I will know all these as I advance my level of learning. The understanding of the theories that underlie the provision of some skills shall be increased by more exposure to practical learning and attending to more patients, both in hospital and at home.

1. Barnum, B. S. (1998). Nursing theory: analysis, application, evaluation. Philadelphia: Lippincott.

2. Hektor, L. M. (1994). Florence Nightingale and the Women’s Movement: Friend or foe? Nursing Inquiry, 1(1), 38-45

3. Holton, S. (1984). Feminine Authority And Social Order: Florence Nightingale’s Conception of Nursing and Health Care. Social Analysis: The International Journal of Social and Cultural Practice, (15), 59-72. Retrieved from https://www.jstor.org/stable/23169278

4. IM E. (2015). The current status of theory evaluation in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing 71(10), 2268–2278.

5. Santrock, J. (2010) Essentials of Life-span Development, 4th Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill

6. Sitzman, K., & Wright Eichelberger, L. (2017). Understanding The Work Of Nurse Theorists, A Creative Beginning (Vol. Third Edition). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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