Nursing has been present in medicine for a long time but it emerged as a study fairly recently with researches coming forward with different nursing theories in an attempt to make people understand the nursing field and its requirements better in order to introduce professionalism in this field. Research has been conducted in the nursing field and many nursing theories have been formulated in the last 20 years. These theories try to establish a link between the patient and nursing in a health related environment. Gaining understanding and in depth knowledge of these nursing theories may provide the basis for understanding nursing as a profession.
Relationship Between Nursing Research and Theory
Nursing theory is a set of concepts that have been derived from a nursing model and conceptualized due to its interrelation ship and connectivity. Nursing theory is the knowledge that is used to support practice. Nursing theory should provide the foundations of nursing practice, help to generate further knowledge and indicate in which direction nursing should develop in the future (Brown 1964). The purpose of nursing theory is to describe and explain a set of concepts that can be put into practice. Nursing theory aims to describe, predict and explain the phenomenon of nursing (Chinn and Jacobs1978).
It is a view of nursing field from an angle specific to the deriver of the theory; the way a theory formulator sees different related concepts that can be explained within a theoretical framework for implementation in practice. Theories are composed of definitions, concepts and are based on certain assumptions. Theories can be formulated by deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning. Theory is important because it helps us to decide what we know and what we need to know (Parsons1949).
Research is the next step in the theory to practice implementation. Nursing research is the evidence used to support practice. Theory leads the direction for research. Research is the investigation of facts based on a theory trying to prove or disprove the concepts and their relationships defined in a theory. Scientific facts and established scientific results are the outcome of the relationship between theory and research. To get meaningful results theory and research have to be linked together as research without any theoretical framework does not result in any meaningful data.
The relationship between theory and research is that theory is formulated by connecting a set of related concepts based on some assumptions and then research is performed to collect facts and findings which are then analyzed under the theoretical framework to establish the verification of the proposed theory. This link is between theory and research is of key importance in establishing meaningful scientific inferences which are then made part of nursing practice. Therefore nursing practice makes use of nursing theory which is the knowledge and nursing research which is the evidence of knowledge.
Differentiate Between Grand Theories and Middle Range Theories
Nursing theories can be classified into two categories depending upon the generalization of their concepts:
Grand theories are more conceptual and cover a range of concepts generally not focusing on single cases and situations. They give a broader perspective on nursing practice in general. Grand nursing theories are not widely used. Some examples of grand theories are: Leininger’s Cultural Care Diversity; Newman’s Health as Expanding Consciousness, and Parse’s Theory of Human Becoming.
Middle range theories
Middle range nursing theories are more specific to a situation with limited number of variables. They can be subjected to research and then implementation in nursing practice. Now the focus of research and theory has moved more towards middle range theories. Some examples include Huth and Moore’s Pain Management (Children); Barnard’s Child Interaction; Ruland and Moore’s End of Life Care; Ulbrich’s Exercise as Self Care; Pender’s Health Promotion, and; Younger’s Mastery of Stress.