Nursing theories are the principles, practices, and fundamentals that form the basis of nursing practice. Nursing theories provide
the framework for nursing roles, responsibilities, and patient care. In essence, nursing theories are used in nursing practice,
research, and nursing policies and development.
Nursing practice, therefore, refers to the application of nursing theories to everyday nursing roles in patient care. Nursing Practice
ranges from assessment, diagnosis, and implementation of patient care including implementation of emotional support and patient
Nursing theories and nursing practice are interdependent as on nursing theories, nursing practice is built. With the theories
providing framework while nursing practice helps improve and refine nursing theories over time, especially with the inclusion of
technology in the new age.
Learning theories are very vital in nursing practice, as they provide a framework on which individuals learn and develop the
knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are required for effective patient care. Here are some of the key reasons why learning theories
are important in nursing practice:
Nursing theory is a critical component of nursing practice as it provides a framework for understanding the principles and
practices of nursing and guides nurses in providing high-quality care to their patients. Nursing theories also provide nurses
guidelines to understanding the nature of their profession and the role they play in healthcare. It helps nurses to identify the core
principles of nursing, such as caring, empathy, communication, and respect for patient autonomy.
Nursing theories are also essential for nursing practice as they inform the development of effective teaching strategies, promote
critical thinking and decision-making, enhance professional development, inform curriculum development, and promote
Nursing theory is developed through research and provides a way to understand the nature of nursing as a profession, the role of
nurses in healthcare, and the core principles that underlie the evidence-based nursing practice.
Nursing practice on the other hand refers to the actual delivery of healthcare services by nurses to patients. It involves the
application of nursing theory and principles in the care of patients, including assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation,
and evaluation of patient care. Nursing practice also involves the development of therapeutic relationships with patients,
families, and communities, and the promotion of health and wellness across the lifespan.
Both nursing theory and nursing practice are essential components of the nursing profession and work together to promote the
the highest quality of patient care.
The theory-practice gap in nursing refers to the disconnect between nursing theory and the practical delivery of healthcare
services by nurses. This gap could arise due to a lack of understanding or application of nursing theory, lack of access to resources
for evidence-based practice, and organizational or cultural barriers to the implementation of best practices.
Several strategies can be employed to overcome the theory-practice gap in nursing:
Nursing meta paradigms are the broadest concepts defining the discipline of nursing providing a framework for understanding
the core components of nursing. There are four primary nursing metaparadigms or concepts of nuresing theories:
The person metaparadigm refers to the individual receiving nursing care, including physical, emotional, social, and spiritual
dimensions. This recognizes that patients are unique individuals with their own beliefs, values, and cultural backgrounds.
The environment metaparadigm refers to the external and internal factors that impact the patient’s health and well-being, including
physical, social, cultural, and political factors, thereby recognizing that patients are not isolated from their environment but are
influenced by it.
The health metaparadigm refers to the state of being of the patient, including physical, mental, and emotional well-being
recognizing that health is a dynamic state that changes over time and is influenced by multiple factors.
The nursing metaparadigm refers to the profession of nursing, including the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to provide
patient care thus recognizing that nursing is a unique discipline that focuses on promoting health, preventing illness, and caring for
patients across the lifespan.
These theories are broad in scope, providing a comprehensive of the core concepts of nursing which are; the person’s environment,
health, and nursing. These theories are complex and developed through a process of deductive reasoning and empirical research
These are more specific in scope and focus on a particular aspect of nursing practice, such as pain management, stress reduction,
or health promotion. These theories provide a framework for guiding nursing practice and research and are often developed
through inductive reasoning and empirical research
Practice nursing theories are grounded in nursing practice and focus on the practical aspects of patient care. These theories provide guidance for nurses in the delivery of high-quality, patient-centered care and are often developed through the use of evidence-based practice and quality improvement initiatives.
Applying nursing theory into practice involves a systematic approach that includes assessment, analysis, planning,
implementation, and evaluation. It involves several steps, including:
This first step involves assessment of the patient including gathering information about the patient’s physical, emotional, social,
and spiritual health status, as well as their cultural background and personal preferences.
After gathering information about the patient, the nurse should analyze the data and identify any patterns or trends to identify
potential health problems
Based on the assessment and analysis, the nurse should develop a care plan that is tailored to the patient’s individual needs and
preferences based on the principles of the nursing theory that align with the patient’s health status and desired outcomes.
The care plan should be implemented by providing the necessary interventions and support to the patient. Including administering medications, providing emotional support, or facilitating communication between the patient and other members of the healthcare team.
The final step in applying nursing theory into practice is to evaluate the effectiveness of the care plan and make any necessary adjustments.
Nursing theory provides a nurses to organize their thoughts and actions, and to develop a deeper understanding of the nursing
profession in the following are ways:
Nursing theories always acknowledge the theorists and the following theories and their theorists have been acclaimed for excellent
research on nursing and are still applied in nursing practice to date.
The three C’s are Care, Compassion and Competence. Together, the three C’s for the foundation for nursing practice and patient care. The three C’s are considered an essential component of nursing practice and by application of the 3 C’s nurses can provide quality care that needs the unique needs of each patient.
Lack of understanding of nursing theories, insufficient resources, organizational culture, education and training.
A holistic approach by understanding the whole person, including their physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs, and how these needs are interconnected. This may also be referred to as
the “patient-centered approach” and is considered essential to providing high-quality nursing care.