Implications for PracticeThe nurse who sees herself as reinforcing the patient when he lacks will, knowledge, or strength will make an effort to know him, understand him, “get inside his skin,” as I have said. This process of putting oneself in another’s place is always difficult and only relatively successful. It requires a listening ear and constant observation and interpretation of nonverbal behaviour. It also demands of the nurse self-understanding and the recognition of emotions that block her concentration on the patient’s need and helpful responses to those needs. It calls for a willingness so that a mutual understanding may develop between a nurse and a patient. [p.24]
The nurse who wants to understand and help each patient will welcome opportunities to see and talk with his friends and family. If the cause of his illness is to be known, if his independence is to be established and a recurrence prevented, the nurse who participates in all these aspects of comprehensive care must work with and through others. Her greatest contribution may be to help a member of the family to understand what the patient needs from him or her. [p26]
No matter what the setting, the nurse who is reinforcing, or supplementing the patient will help him perform all the 14 fundamental or basic human needs. She will make with the patient, his family and other members of the health team some sort of individualized plan, or daily regimen, that meets the wide range of human needs. [p.26]
The rehabilitation of all patients in the hands of the nurse begins with her first service to him. With this point of view, and if she has a wide range of competence, the nurse can be the prime rehabilitative agent. Such a nurse judges her success with each patient according to the speed with which or the degree to which he performs independently the activities that make, for him, a normal day. This primary function of the practicing nurse must be performed in such a way that it promotes the physician’s therapeutic plan. The means helping the patient carry out prescribed therapeutic treatments or administering the treatment herself. [pp.26-27]
Finally, to close the discussion of how my definition affects practice, I point out that the nurse who sees her primary function as a direct service to the patient will find an immediate reward in his progress toward independence through this service. To the extent that her practice offers this reward, she will be satisfied; to the extent that the situation deprives her of it, she will be dissatisfied. And she will use whatever influence she has to foster conditions that make social rewards for practice at least commensurate with those for teaching and administration. [p.31]
- Assist nurses to describe, explain, and predict everyday experiences.
- Serve to guide assessment, interventions, and evaluation of nursing care.
- Provide a rationale for collecting reliable and valid data about the health status of clients, which are essential for effectiv e decision making and implementation.
- Help to describe criteria to measure the quality of nursing care.
- Help build a common nursing terminology to use in communicating with other health professionals.
- Ideas are developed and words are defined.
- Enhance autonomy (independence and self-governance) of nursing through defining its own independent functions.
- Provide a general focus for curriculum design
- Guide curricular decision making.
- Offer a framework for generating knowledge and new ideas.
- Assist in discovering knowledge gaps in the specific field of study.
- Offer a systematic approach to identify questions for study; select variables, interpret findings, and validate nursing interventions.
- Approaches to developing nursing theory
- Borrowing conceptual frameworks from other disciplines.
- Inductively looking at nursing practice to discover theories/concepts to explain phenomena.
- Deductively looking for the compatibility of a general nursing theory with nursing practice.
- Questions from practicing Nurse about usi ng Nursing theory
Henderson, Virginia. The Nature of Nursing. Macmillan USA. 1966.