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Nursing Theory

Nursing theory

Nursing theory is a general proposition in nursing that provides strategies on how to approach nursing practices. There are three categories of nursing theories; grand nursing theory, middle-range nursing theories, and nursing practice theories. These theories play a critical role in establishing a framework for nursing practices.

Categories of nursing theories.

Grand nursing theories

Grand nursing theories are theories that focus on a wider perspective, they offer general principals of nursing practices. Although some can be tested, most of them are not eligible for empirical testing. They are used to direct and explain nursing practices and predict the outcomes of different situations.

Mid-range theories

Mid-range theories cover a limited scope as compared to grand theories. They can be tested and verified. Mid-range theories are used for describing, explaining and predicting outcomes of particular nursing practices.

Nursing practice theories

Nursing practice theories focus on one particular aspect. They have a limited scope and only focus on a particular discipline or community. They provide guidelines on nurse interventions and predict outcomes.

Nursing theories act as a map for the future generation of nurses. Most of them are proven with evidence and data. Nursing theories promote nursing practices as they create similar goals, values, beliefs, and practices. They also act as a basis for research.

Examples of nursing theories.

Self-care nursing theory

Self-care nursing theory falls in the category of grand nursing theories, it highlights the importance of nurses enlightening patients on how they can take care of themselves. It is based on the notion that patients should be aware of their illnesses for them to be able to take care of themselves. The self-care nursing theory was developed by Dorothea Orem.

The theory of interpersonal relations

The theory of interpersonal relations insists on the importance of having good patient-nurse relationships. The theory categorizes this relationship into three stages; Orientation, working stage and termination. Orientation is the first stage of a patient-nurse relationship, at this point, the doctor meets the patient and the patient opens up on the illnesses they are suffering from. The working stage is when the patient is in the process of receiving medical care and how they respond to the treatment. Termination is the final stage, this is the period the patient recovers and gets back to the normal productive life. The theory of interpersonal relations was developed by Hildegard Peplau.

Culture care theory

Culture care theory insists on the importance of treating patients in line with their cultural values and beliefs. It was developed by Madeleine Leininger. This approach helps nurses make decisions and take actions that are congruent with the culture and values of the patient.


Leininger, M. M., & McFarland, M. R. (2006). Culture care diversity and universality: A worldwide nursing theory. Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Walker, L. O., & Avant, K. C. (2005). Strategies for theory construction in nursing.

Smith, M. J., & Liehr, P. R. (Eds.). (2018). Middle range theory for nursing. Springer Publishing Company.


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