Nursing theory is invaluable to application of practice. What theory a nurse adheres to is not as important as thoughtful consideration of practice and incorporation of the theory. The benefits of theory application are observed in treatment outcomes and thinking processes (McEwen & Wills, 2011). Theories use principles of reasoning that define our practice through structured models, systematic explanation, and evidenced-based research.
Currently, I am incorporating scientific research rarely defined by nursing theory into my understanding of health and wellness. I do not prescribe to any specific theory and pull from most theories to some extent. As a nurse seeking to understand how to improve my health and reduce all risk factors associated with morbidity and mortality, the general systems theory, adaptation theory, and developmental theory (Nursing Theories, 2011) all play into my understanding of the complex mechanisms of homeostasis, intra/intercellular communication, and the external influences that direct health outcomes.
The general systems theory seeks to define the whole person into compartmentalized parts and then explain how these parts interact and influence the whole person (Nursing Theories, 2011). One area I am currently studying is cardiovascular disease. This theory is critical in understanding how specific parts of the whole like cholesterol and cytokines are influenced by bodily responses to intake and how these responses impact systemic immunity, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.
Adaptation theory explains how we adapt and our body evolves and changes through hormesis or becomes damaged by mutagenic forces. It also describes how we interact and respond psychologically both socially and personally to external and internal influences (Nursing Theories, 2011).
Developmental theory seeks to explain how we as people go through stages physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally and how these factors influence our quality of life, decisions, and perspectives (Nursing Theories, 2011).
Finding how a theory or theories fit into our professional practice is a natural outcome of personal exploration by seeking to understand ourselves, our profession, and the world around us. Applying scientific theory that explains the influences of our behaviors, health, and values will help us to continue to grow as professional and people while we contribute to the world around us.
McEwen, M. and Wills, E. (2011). Theoretical Basis for Nursing. [3rd ed.]. Philadelphia, PA: Wolters, Kluwer/Lippincott, William, and Wilkins
Nursing Theories: An Overview, (2011). Retrieved December 9, 2011 from http://currentnursing.com/nursing_theory/nursing_theories_overview.html