There is a direct correlation between nursing theories and a nurse's
individual philosophy of nursing. Nurses will likely find themselves
using certain nursing theories or models frequently, which are often
influenced by their practice field. For example, a nurse working in
mental health will likely use nursing theories that focus on the relationship
between the nurse and patient, while a nurse working in rehabilitation will
use theories that help the patient become more independent. Because of this,
nursing theories and philosophies of nursing go hand-in-hand, and the terms
are sometimes interchangeable in the minds and practice of individual nurses.
What is a nursing theory?
A nursing theory, also called a nursing model,
is a framework developed to guide nurses in how they care for their
patients. Often, these frameworks define the practice of nursing,
identify the role of the nurse, and explain the nursing process as
it relates to the idea behind the nursing theory. Many nursing
theories are created from nurses' observations during their own
careers, as well as methodologies they developed during their
individual practice. These theories are then presented with
scholarly evidence to support them. Some theories are accepted by
the nursing field as legitimate models of nursing, and can even go
on to be taught to nursing students as normal nursing procedures in
specific nursing situations.
What is a philosophy of nursing?
A philosophy of nursing is an approach to
nursing, usually created by individual nurses in their own daily
practice in the field. A nurse uses his or her philosophy of nursing
to explain what he or she believes nursing is, the role nursing plays
in the health care field, and how he or she interacts with patients.
A philosophy of nursing also addresses a nurse's ethics as it relates
to the practice of nursing. For example, are there any "lines" a
particular nurse will cross? If so, which ones? Under what circumstances?
A philosophy of nursing guides a nurse as he or she practices each day.
How are they related?
Nursing theories and philosophies of nursing are related
because they directly affect each other. A nurse's philosophy of nursing will
determine what types of models or theories he or she uses, just as the nursing
theories used will help develop his or her personal philosophy. In some ways,
nursing theories and philosophies are the same in that both provide a way for
nurses to approach their daily practice and their individual patients that
provides the best care for them.