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NR 501 Importance of Theory in Nursing

Sample Answer for NR 501 Importance of Theory in Nursing Included After Question

NR 501 Importance of Theory in Nursing

For many students enrolled in NR501, this is an initial course for nursing theory.  So, let’s have a debate!!!  Is nursing theory important to the nursing profession?  If you believe that it is important, explain why it is useful.  If you do not believe that it is useful, explain why nursing theory is not necessary to the profession?  Be sure to provide an example that demonstrates your opinion and a scholarly reference (not using the required textbook or lesson) which supports your opinion. 

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A Sample Answer For the Assignment: NR 501 Importance of Theory in Nursing

Title: NR 501 Importance of Theory in Nursing

           I do believe that theory in nursing is very important. Theory has been a part of nursing since the time Florence Nightingale began to change and develop procedures and explanations as to why nurses do what they do. A theory is defined as “a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena” (Theory [Def. 1], n.d.) Theory in nursing has been an ever-evolving topic. Expanding on reasoning for what we do, why we do stuff, and what affects we do have on our patients. Peplau was a theorist who developed the theory of interpersonal relationships. Explaining the interactions with the patient as it evolves into a more therapeutic relationship. The nurse and patient start off as strangers in the orientation phase and progress to the exploitation phase where the nurse and patient interact and finally the resolution phase when the care has been provided and the relationship at that time is terminated. This theory is a foundation of each interaction we have with our patients starting the moment that we get our assignment. Peplau “enabled the nurse to begin to move away from the disease model orientation to one where the psychological meaning of events, feelings and behaviors could be explored and incorporated into nursing interventions” (Adams, 2017). 

            As nurses at the bedside we don’t often think too much about how we are using every day. As explained above the most common theory that has been developed and explained is the foundation to how we interact during the day. There are countless numbers of theories out there that we function based on, but don’t always know it. As identified by Sheri Jacobson, the best way to help nurses make the connection between theory and practice is by helping nurses make the connection using real example of practice (2017). An example she gave was of a nurse who is providing teaching for a patient on how to care for themselves when they leave (i.e. dressing changes, medication administration, exercises, etc.). Without theory in our practice we would have no foundation to go from to guide our practice and care methods. 


Adams, L. (2017). Peplau’s Contributions to Psychiatric and Nursing Knowledge. Retrieved December 27, 2017, from http://jmhan.org/index.php/JMHAN/article/view/3 

Jacobson, S. (2017). Building Bridges from Theory to Practice: Nursing Theory for Clinical Nurses. Med-Surg Matters, 26(3), 1-15. 

Theory [Def. 1]. (n.d.). Dictionary.com. Retrieved December 26,2017, from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/theory. 



Collapse SubdiscussionBrenda Talley 

Brenda Talley 

Jan 2, 2018Jan 2 at 4:19pm 

Manage Discussion Entry 

Allyson, the suggestion by Jacobson was taken seriously by those who developed this course.  We will rely heavily on professional experiences to make the connections to practice.   

Nightingale intrigues me!  While her theory does not much resemble modern day nursing theories, she began the systematically of collecting and analyzing information and organizing the information into meaningful data that served to explain the role and practice of nursing…of the educated nurse.  She correlated her observation on patient healing to the patient conditions that were under the control of the nurse (Nightingale/1974/1859). 

Allyson, did Jacobson cite a particular nursing theory to support the example given?  Class, do you know of a theory that would be supportive? 


Nightingale, F.  (1974) [First published 1859]. Notes on nursing: What it is and what it is not. Glasgow & London: Blackie & Son Ltd. ISBN (Links to an external site.)0-216-89974-5 (Links to an external site.).  



NR 501 Importance of Theory in Nursing


Thank you for your response. Theory seemed like something I have never used, but doing research and reading about how it is a part of everything we do began to open my eyes to it. I have been making connections in my practice with theories I have read about. It really feels like an endless connection to why we do what we do as nurses. As I read I was impressed at how much theories have evolved and how many people have developed theories we still use today and have built upon.  

Yes she did give specific nursing examples and what theory they represented. Jacobson gave a total of three scenarios in nursing practice and what theory they specifically represent. The three theories that she outlined in her article were: Dorothy Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory, Rogers’ Theory of Unitary Human Beings, and Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Theory (Jacobson, 2017). These theories identified different aspects of nursing we take part in.  

Dorothy Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory is identified at the point that “nursing is required when an adult is incapable or limited in the provision of continuous, effective self-care” (Petiprin, 2016). Jacobson’s example for this theory included moments of teaching the patient how to care for themselves and their surgical wounds and assisting with ADL’s (2017). 

Rogers’ Theory of Unitary Human Beings explains that the human interaction in both self and environment can influence the way people feel connected. The specific example Jacobson gave was a stage 4 cancer patient in their room with the family and it felt very quiet and sad. The nurse at the time offered to put on a comedy which the family agreed and in her doing so the room felt more positive and everyone seemed to enjoy it (2017). 

Sister Callista Roy’s Adaptation Theory is the use of “conscious awareness, self-reflection, and choice to create human and environmental integration” to influence positive change to the environment around them” (Petiprin, 2016). This theory is all about adapting to the environment around ones self. The example Jacobson provided was about a girl who was involved in a shark attack who lost her left arm during the attack and desires to begin ambulating and reading books again (2017).  


Jacobson, S. (2017). Building Bridges from Theory to Practice: Nursing Theory for Clinical Nurses. Med-Surg Matters, 26(3), 1-15. 

Petiprin, A. (2016). Self Care Deficit Theory. Retrieved from http://www.nursing-theory.org/theories-and-models/orem-self-care-deficit-theory.php (Links to an external site.) 

Petiprin, A. (2016). Science of Unitary Human Beings. Retrieved from http://www.nursing-theory.org/theories-and-models/roger-theory-of-unitary-human-beings.php 

Petiprin, A. (2016). Roy Adaptation Model. Retrieved from http://www.nursing-theory.org/theories-and-models/roy-adaptation-model.php (Links to an external site.) 



Janice Bethards 

Janice Bethards 

Jan 4, 2018Jan 4 at 10:01am 

Manage Discussion Entry 

Dr. T & Allyson, 

Thank you for your interesting commentary. Jacobson utilized Dorothy Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory to support her wound care education example (Jacobson, 2017). Orem’s theory emphasizes the importance of the nurse-to-patient education regarding the skills that they will need to care for themselves after discharge (Younas, 2017). 

Florence Nightingale believed that a clean environment is essential for healing. Ali Pirani (2015) describes a COPD patient’s cluttered hospital room, and claims that the disorganization may have led to that patient’s subsequent clinical crisis. 

We often treat patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) on my medical floor. CF usually affects the lungs, the pancreas and the intestinal tract. It’s characterized by an overexcretion of viscous mucus that settles into the lungs and provides a welcoming environment for chronic bacterial infections. It also coats the intestinal tract and blocks the absorption of essential nutrients from digested food. 

Many of our CF patients are in their twenties and early thirties. They have a high rate of admission recidivism, and they tend to stay for at least a week at a time. Since they’re used to being in the hospital, they tend to make themselves at home in their rooms. Their mothers or significant others usually stay with them for much of time. 

They also tend to keep their rooms a total mess. They’ll have leftover food sitting around, but they save it in case they want to eat it later. Dirty linen and overflowing trash containers often sit in there for days at a time. They also have their clothing and electronic devices strewn throughout the area. There are several reasons for this, but one must wonder about the detrimental effect that it may have on their health. 




Ali Pirani, S.S. (2016). Application of Nightingale’s theory in nursing 

     practice. Annals of Nursing and Practice, 3(1), 1040. 

     Retrieved from: https://www.jscimedcentral.com/Nursing/nursing-3- (Links to an external site.) 



Jacobson, S. (2017). Building bridges from theory to practice: Nursing 

     theory for clinical nurses. Med-Surg Matters, 26(3), 1-15. 

     Retrieved from: 



Younas, A. (2017). A foundational analysis of Dorothea Orem’s self- 

     care theory and evaluation of its significance for nursing practice and 

     research. Creative Nursing, 23(1), 13-23. 

     doi: 10.1891/1078-4535.23,1.13 


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