Nursing Practice and the Nursing Theory


Nursing practice is complex and requires a sound theoretical basis. Nursing theory offers a frame of reference for a nurse’s philosophical outlook and actions in the context of health care. This paper is a reflection on the aspects of theory-based practice and related personal experiences.

Definition of Terms

There are four interrelated terms pertinent to nursing theory: science, research, worldview, and paradigm. These concepts describe the principles and applications of knowledge in patient care. Within nursing, science can be defined as techniques and outcomes of an inquiry, while research refers to the methods employed to validate a theory (Turkel et al., 2017). The term worldview describes a philosophical outlook on life or assumptions influencing our decision-making processes. The related concept of paradigm refers to the values and practices common to a group and thus, it is a frame of reference for understanding reality.

Personal Exposure to Nursing Theory

Improved nursing practice results from integrating theory and clinical knowledge learned in class. I have been exposed to theoretical concepts during my previous educational programs. Examples of classical nursing theories that I have studied and applied in practice include Orem’s Self-care Deficit Theory and Roy’s Adaptation Model. For instance, the latter framework has been shown to improve coping strategies in lower limb amputees (Farsi & Arzami, 2016). Further, as a practicing nurse, I read scholarly articles on contemporary theoretical concepts such as Watson’s science of caring theory, which aligns well with evidence-based practice.

Applying Theory in Practice

As a rehabilitation nurse, I have experienced clinical situations requiring me to apply theoretical concepts and principles. For example, I have used Newman’s Systems Model to predict the outcomes and needs of a patient recuperating from a spinal cord injury with positive results. I was able to prescribe optimal nursing interventions to prevent potential complications due to immobilization.

In conclusion, I hope to learn different nursing theories that I can apply directly in my practice. I am often torn between using coping and adaptation theory when formulating a care plan for my rehabilitation patients. I would like to become more familiar with these theoretical concepts and other related principles in order to support them and exercise greater independence and control.


Farsi, Z., & Azarmi, S. (2016). Effect of Roy’s Adaptation Model-guided education on coping strategies of veterans with lower extremities amputation: A double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. International Journal of Community Based Nursing and Midwifery, 4(2), 127-136.

Turkel, M. C., Watson, J., & Giovannoni, J. (2017). Caring science or science of caringNursing Science Quarterly, 31(1), 66-71.

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