Nursing Theories


Nursing has in the last century made a lot of progress thus it has become recognized as a profession as well as an academic discipline. It has been made more meaningful and significant by the theory based practice which has shifted the focus of nursing from vocational to an organized profession. There has been a realization of a knowledge base which has assisted in guiding professional nursing practice. Most of the theoretical works done by nurses have the intention of making nursing a recognized profession; profession in the sense that nurses should professionally deliver care to their patients.

Nursing theory is a body of knowledge that is used to support the nursing practice. Nurses usually study many subjects in their professional career. They derive information from nursing research or some non nursing researches which still offer information that is necessary for their course work. Many institutions encourage students to form their own nursing theories in the course of their curriculum. Thus, there are various theories that have come up in the nursing practice and profession.

There are many theorists who have come up with different theories. They include Parse and Watson, Roy Newman, Paterson, B Newman etc. In this paper, I am going to look at the theories of Roy and Watson.

Parse theory

Parse theory of nursing hold that there is coexistence of human beings. This co- existence constitutes a pattern that is rhythmic with the universe. Human are open, they are capable of making meanings out of situations and also they are capable of being held responsibility because of this decisions. Human has a characteristic of becoming

Nursing Theories

The difference which exists between this theory and other theories is that the theory has its basis in phenomenology and it is of great essential to nurses and also students who may be engaged in research which is qualitative. The theory holds the basis for the holistic nursing practice. It also defines human beings as synergistic .The theory also holds nursing practice as away of improving the quality of life according to the perspective of individuals. The theory gives an alternative to the approach of bio medical convention and the bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach. This theory also has its basis on the themes of meaning, transcendence and rhythmcity. (Jacqueline 2000).

The theme of meaning hold that human beings are capable of creating their own reality through the expression in living in a chosen way in their values.Rhythmicity is a theme in this theory which holds that life unity is composed of opposing patterns of relation. The third principle of transcendence hold that moving of life from one moment is a process making a unique way in life which has ambiguities and has a lot of changes.

The theory proposes the following processes of illuminating meaning, rhythm synchronizing, and transcendence mobilizing in nursing processes. The theory holds that any should be guided by the aspects that human beings have in life e.g. hope sufferings and also time passing. (Jacqueline 2000).

Nursing Theories

Watson’s Theory

The other theorist is Jean Watson who has the theory of care. She view care as the biggest service that nursing practice can give in the service to humanity. She developed this theory after realizing that this aspect of caring had been neglected in the practice of nursing. Many other aspects were given great priorities but the issue of care was neglected. She believes that a person can be cured but that the illness can still remain because without care it is not possible to attain full health. Care in the nursing practice is the most important because it gives a chance to a direct responsiveness between the patient and the nurse. Care can make a patient more knowledgeable, gain confident and regain control. (Marylyn 2001)

This theory is intentioned to bring a humanistic value in the nursing practice. The model aims to create or make the nursing profession a more humanistic system. This would make the nursing practice to be people friendly. There is also an aspect which instills faith in the patients. One thing that makes patients to get healed fast is faith. Nurses are supposed to give patients the hope of getting better as this will result in a quick recovery. This aspect of caring also cultivates a sense of sensitivity. This is where the nurses become more sensitive to the needs of the patient. This also makes the nurses be tender when they are handling patients. When patients are shown that the nurses are sensitive to their plea they will form a positive attitude which will help them to get better quickly. This will also help in the promotion and acceptance of positive and negative feelings. When there is a humanistic system in place people also tend to have a better way of solving problems as there is a mutual understanding.

Watson employs the concept of a transpersonal relationship. This is where the nurse goes far beyond their duty to try and cultivate a relationship with the patient. This will help bring about a more spiritual meaning which will enhance the process of healing. This will also help in the preservation of a person’s dignity and promote inner harmony.

Nursing Theories

Watson holds that caring can only be done in an interpersonal way. This means that the art of caring can only exist if there is more than one person. It only exists where there is a relationship between two or many people. The art of caring has some aspects which make a person be in a position to feel satisfied in certain needs. This makes a person to have peace of mind and peace of the heart which will promote healing in a patient. Caring offers a patient the right to decide what is good for him or her at a specific time. Care is important in the practice of nursing as there is always a relationship existent between a nurse and a patient. (Bethel 1995)

The following concepts make up the philosophy of this theory. One in Watson’s theory, there is the formation of the humanistic altruistic system of values. Watson holds that this begins at a person’s early age because of the values that they share with their parents. This is enhanced through learning, life experiences and humanity exposure.

The second way that Watson frames philosophy is through the concept of faith and hope. Watson holds that these concepts are very important in the process of curing a patient. This arises when science has nothing else it can offer to the patient. The nurse should be in a position to give hope and try to instill more faith to the patient. This will bring about the feeling of well being to the individual through faith which is essential in a human being. The other concept in Watson’s theory is the development of trust in the relationship. This can be done through the process of communication. Communication will help build a good rapport between the communicating parties. Communication should have empathy, congruence and warmth. The other important aspect of this theory is the way feelings either positive or negative are expressed. The understanding of feelings is important as it reveals the behaviors being expressed. There is also the concept of the environment in this theory. Here there is the mental, physical, social cultural and spiritual environment. (Jacqueline 2000)

Watson holds that there are external and internal variables which nurses need to consider in order to be in position to provide the mental, physical support and protection needed. The two variables are interdependent. Watson makes a suggestion that it’s the duty of the nurse to provide comfort, privacy and safety in their nursing process. The other important concept in this theory is the allowance of existential phenomenological forces. There is a need to understand people from a perspective of how things appear from their own frame of reference. This would assist the nurse to be in a position to reconcile by viewing the person holistically and attending to the hierarchical ordering of needs. By this the nurse is in a position to help the patient develop the courage to face either life or death.

Nursing Theories

In conclusion, Watson’s theory holds that human beings deserve to be valued, cared for, respected and understood. A human being should be seen in a much greater picture than just the sum of their parts. She employs the concept of adaptation by suggesting that there is a relation between a person’s health and the degree of their adaptation to the environment both mentally, physically and socially. Watson holds that caring is passed on by culture as a unique way of coping with environment. (Bethel 1995)

Watson holds that the practice of nursing is concerned with the promotion of health, caring for the sick and the restoration of health. Its main goal is disease treatment and the promotion of health. The theory also suggests a nursing process which includes assessment, planning, intervention and evaluation. (Marylyn 2001)

This theory has strength in that it assists in the provision of quality care to a client. It also provides care that satisfies the soul in the nursing practice. It also places the client as the main focus in the practice instead of technology.

The theory has many concepts that are useful in nursing practice. The theory combines many other theories which are used in nursing education. The theory is satisfying and at the same time challenging.

This theory is similar to Henderson’s theory which holds that the most important thing in nursing practice is taking care of the needs of the patient. It states that this helps the patient to make progress quickly after hospitalization.

Nursing Theories


The two theories are similar in that they both have formations and concepts that try to explain the nursing practice. The theories try to explain how the profession can be made more effective. They both hold the same view that nursing aims at promoting good health to a person. They also employ the concept of holistic in explaining human beings. Philosophically the two theories are similar in that they both employ the concept of human values such as hope and internal beliefs as vital aspects in human beings. They suggest that the demonstration of faith and hope should be given a priority in nursing education and practice. Both of them also explain how relationships are important in human beings both among themselves and also with the world. The two theories are also humanistic in the way they are developed and formulated. (Anne 200

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Watson’s theory concentrates more on the formation of the heart in a more humane way while on the other hand Parse theory concentrates on how human beings are responsible for their becoming. The two theories also differ in the way they look at a person. The to theories also differ in the way they take human beings while Watson’s theory concentrates on the whole body; it does not look at specific parts while Parse looks at human beings as being responsible for his becoming. (Anne 2001)

In conclusion, the world is progressing especially so when it comes to various fields of study. It’s important therefore to have different theories in nursing which look at diverse areas as this will enhance the nursing practice and make nursing even more professional.

Nursing Theories


Ann, M. (2002).Nursing theorists and their work, Mosby publishers

Ann, M. (2001).Nursing theory utilization and application, Mosby publishers.

Anne, Y. (2001).Nursing research theory and Practice, Mosby publishers

Nursing Theories

Bethel, A (1995).Nursing theory and Research, Sage publications

Jacqueline, F (2000).Nursing models and Theories, F.A. Davis Company.

Marilyn, E (2001).Nursing theories and Nursing practice, F.A Davis Company.