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Fitzpatrick's Nursing Theory

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Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick, Professor of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, has proposed Fitzpatrick’s theory of nursing based on four concepts: person, health, wellness-illness and metaparadigm.


This term encompasses both self and others and recognizes that a person’s unique attitudes, self-standards, self-evaluation and social stimuli can affect his or her health and well-being.


Fitzpatrick defines this concept as a dynamic state of being which is influenced by a person’s interaction with his or her environment. A person state of being can be well, ill, diseased or dysfunctional.


Nurses promote wellness by attentively treating those who are ill or moribund and providing restorative care to convalescing or rehabilitating patients. They also teach and evaluate nursing students, conduct research to develop nursing theories, and manage nursing. By engaging in their roles, nurses try to preserve, re-establish or improve people’s interactions with their environment, thereby making them healthy.


Nurses assist patients in their life transitions in phases of growth and development, or experiences with health and illness, though nursing research has not adequately conceptualized the profession as focusing on such transitions.


Fitzpatrick's theory provides a taxonomy for identifying and labeling nursing concepts to allow for their universal recognition and communication with others. It thus provides a solid mooring for nursing knowledge.