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Concept and Analysis Across Nursing Theories

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Concept and Analysis across Theories

Nursing theory helps to define nursing as a profession. It is the identity of the nursing profession and defines a body of knowledge that has been developed through research and practice that delineates nursing as a professional discipline developing its own body of scientific knowledge. Nursing theories are cohesive concepts leading to a systematic view of an instructive and practical phenomenon. Nursing theories are constructed using core concepts, descriptions, propositions, and is a structure attempting to organize ideas in a purposeful and systematic way. Nursing theories provide a foundation for nursing practice and generate knowledge and indicate future nursing development. Common concepts intertwining nursing theories are the person, the environment, health, defining the roles, goals, and function of the nurse. Beneficial to nurses entering the profession is to identify with a nursing theory; understand the concept of the theory, the metaparadigms and the nursing philosophies, and models of the theory to help guide his or her nursing practice. This paper will analyze and compare two nursing theories with common core concepts, discuss the concepts based on the theorist views, and discuss how and where the theory may be applied to nursing practice.

Nursing Theories

Both Betty Neuman's and Jean Watson are nursing theorist who view the person as a holistic, interdimensional, and universal being. Both theories support the concept that the individual is a whole and a part of the universe. Wellness is perceived as a continuum of energy and interactions with self and others. Each theory supports that caring is a universal occurrence observed differently by patients and nurses (Suliman, Welmann, & Thomas, 2009).

Neuman's Systems Model

Neuman's theory views the person as a holistic being of physiological, psychological, sociocultural, and developmental individual. The person is more than the sum of his or her parts. Neuman's theory, influenced by the philosophy of deChardin who proposed the idea that humans evolved toward ultimate perfection and the interconnectedness of mind and spirit or the collective consciousness of humans (Hayman & Wolfe, 2000). The general systems theory also influenced Neuman's work. Developing from the influences of thermodynamics that adopts the notion that energy is critical in maintaining an organizational state of health and that dysfunction of one system affects the other systems of the body. Neuman supports a wellness-illness continuum influenced by an individuals' interaction the variables and stressors of life. When the body is interrupted by stressors that deplete the bodies energy the individual experiences illness and even death and when energy is in abundance the individual maintains a state of wellness.

Major concepts of the system's theory. The major concept of Neuman's system's theory is the variable stressors interacting with internal or external environments that constitute the individual's whole system. Patient survival techniques are individualized characteristics that represent the individual energy resources and the core of the individual has basic survival instincts common to the human species. Neuman's concept supports that the human body is in a continual state of input, output, feedback, and compensation leading to a balanced state of wellness.

Metaparadigms of the systems theory. Neuman's theory views the person as a multidimensional being with five subsystems, the central core, lines of resistance, avenues of normal defense, and flexible defenses. The basis core consists of survival mechanisms like organ function, temperature control, and genetic structures common to all humans. The body's core has a resistance mechanism and two defense mechanisms to protect the core. The core may represent an individual, a family, group, or community in Neuman's theory. The environment consists of internal and external energies including intrapersonal, interpersonal, and extrapersonal stressors that can influence individuals' defense mechanisms affecting the state of wellness. Neuman defines health as equated to a persons' state of wellness. Health and wellness as defined by Neuman is a state of harmony within the body. Health is influenced by the interaction with the environment and interactions with the variables and stressors that the individual experiences (Skalski, DeGerolamo, Gigliotti, 2006). Nursing is viewed as a unique profession whose role is to identify the stressors or variables a person may encounter. The nurse's job is to address the person as a whole and enhance a level of wellness with interventions that stabilize the patients system by reducing internal and external stressors. Stressors are identified through patient assessment, problem formulation, data collection, and evaluation of the patient using the nursing process (Skalski, DeGerolamo, Gigliotti, 2006). Interventions used include primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions to provide wellness.

Jean Watson's Caring Theory

Major concepts and philosophies of the caring theory. Jean Watson's caring theory expands on Neuman's concept of caring for the patient as a whole. Watson's theory expresses that caring is validated interpersonally and involve carative aspects resulting in satisfying human needs. The major concepts of Watson's theory are the carative factors, transpersonal caring relationships between patient and nurse, and the caring moment (Bent, Burke, Edman, Hottman, McCabe, & Williams, 2005). Watson's caring theory include 10 carative factors; examples include embracing of altruistic values while practicing loving kindness

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