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Nursing Models & Theories

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Theories are statements made of concepts, definitions and assumptions or propositions that explain something. Nursing theories are used to describe, explain, predict or prescribe nursing care. Nursing models involve integration of nursing theory and knowledge to provide care to patients using the nursing process.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale's theory focused on manipulating a patient's environment to facilitate healing of the body. This theory can be modeled into practice by assessing a patient's environment for factors that can hinder or promote health, then creating an environment that will contribute to more positive health outcomes for the patient. Some of these factors may be nutrition, hygiene or socialization.

Hildegard Peplau

Hildegard Peplau's theory is based on the principles of human relationships. It proposes the development of interaction between the patient and the nurse to increase the patient's participation in her treatment. This can be applied to nursing practice by assessing the patient's needs through therapeutic communication and working with her to find solutions that address the problem.

Virginia Henderson

Virginia Henderson's theory proposes that the function of the nurse is to help the client perform activities that will help him get better if he cannot do them himself. To apply this theory in nursing practice, the nurse has to assess the client to find out what activities would contribute to his recovery and assist him with those activities in such a way that he can eventually do them by himself. Assistance may be in the form of teaching, encouragement or physical assistance.

Dorothea Orem

The goal of Dorothy Orem's theory is to help the patient regain the ability to care for herself. Using this theory as a model for nursing care requires finding out what self care needs the client is unable to fulfill herself and why she can't do those things, then providing the assistance necessary to help the client perform those activities with the intention of increasing the client's abilities to do them herself later.

Sister Calista Roy

Sister Callista Roy's adaptation theory focuses on helping the client adapt to changes in his body functioning, emotional states and roles in his family, society or elsewhere, and achieving a balance between being dependent and independent. The nurse applying this model first finds out what conditions are causing problems for the client and assesses how the client is adapting to them. Then she designs interventions aimed at helping the client adapt better.

Other Nursing Theories

Other nursing theories were created by the following nurses: Martha Rogers, Fay Abdella, Patricia Benner, Judith Wrubel, Jean Watson, Betty Neuman and Madeleine Leininger.

  • \"Fundamentals of Nursing\" ; Patricia A. Potter FAAN and Anne Griffin Perry FAAN; 2009

Ngozi Oguejiofo has been writing on a freelance basis since 2009 and most of her writings are focused on health. She is currently a registered nurse. She is interested in teaching, and writes articles focused on student nurses for various online publications.

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