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Four Basic Metaparadigm Concepts in Nursing

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A metaparadigm is a set of theories or ideas that provide structure for how a discipline should function. For a nursing discipline, these theories consist of four basic concepts that address the patient as a whole, the patient’s health and well-being, the patient’s environment and the nursing responsibilities. While there are several different nursing theories, these four basic nursing metaparadigms point to a holistic view of care where a person’s well-being and medical health is connected to four interactive components.

Person Component

The person component of the metaparadigm focuses on the receiver of care. However, the person connection also includes family members and other groups important to the patient. The care structure considers the person’s spiritual and social needs as well as health care needs. The resulting health outcome is attributed to how the person interacts with these physical and social connections. The premise is that the person is empowered to manage his health and well-being with dignity and self-preservation with positive personal connections.

Environment Component

The environment aspect of the nursing metaparadigms focuses on the surroundings that affect the patient. The environment consists of internal and external influences, and contends that how a person continuously interacts with her surroundings has a bearing on health and wellness. Interactions with family, friends and other people are part of the environment, as are physical and social factors such as economic conditions, geographic locations, culture, social connections and technology. This metaparadigm component theorizes that a person can modify her environmental factors to improve her health status.

Health Component

The health component of the four metaparadigms refers to the extent of wellness and health care access that a patient has. This health component is characterized as one with multiple dimensions in a constant state of motion. Health and wellness covers a person’s lifespan and genetic makeup, and how the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual well-being is integrated in health care for maximum health benefits. The theory is that these factors influence the patient’s state of well-being.

Nursing Component

The nursing component of the metaparadigm involves the delivery of optimal health outcomes for the patient through a mutual relationship in a safe and caring environment. The nursing component applies principles of knowledge, skills, technology, collaborations, professional judgement and communication to carry out duties and responsibilities for achieving the best possible scenario in patient health outcome. This nursing component values a high degree of service, and integrates with other metaparadigm components for patient well-being.


Deb Dupree has been an active writer throughout her career in the corporate world and in public service since 1982. She has written numerous corporate and educational documents including project reports, procedures and employee training programs. She has a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Tennessee.

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