Types of Nursing Theories Discussion

There are a number of methods for classifying theory in nursing.  These include classification based on range/scope or abstractness (metatheory, grand, middle-range, or practice theory) and type or purpose of the theory (descriptive, explanatory, predictive, or prescriptive).

For this week’s discussion post, address the following:

  • Identify one specific nursing theory that relates to your area of practice.  Feel free to go to the Currents website or look in your textbook for multiple nursing theories to choose from http://currentnursing.com/nursing_theory/ (Links to an external site.)
  • Discuss the type of the selected nursing theory according to scope (meta-theory, grand, middle-range, or practice theory) and purpose (descriptive, explanatory, predictive, or prescriptive).
  • Provide an example of how the selected nursing theory can be applied to your area of practice.  The example should include core concepts of the theory and demonstrate its practical application.
  • Be sure to supplement your discussion with your personal and professional experiences.

Nursing theories

Nursing theories consist of coherent groups of broad propositions used as fundamental principles of explanation, are derived from existing conceptual frameworks, and are classified based on scope and purpose (Masters, 2014). For instance, Virginia Henderson’s nursing need theory is a grand theory since it is abstract and broad in scope. Such an approach does not provide specific guidance to a particular intervention but instead provides a general framework and nursing ideas (Masters, 2014).

What makes nursing need theory grand is its holistic approach to nursing care covering the medical, psychological, moral, and social needs (Gonzalo, 2019). Henderson described nursing as an individualized function in which a nurse helps a patient carry out routine activities that contribute to good health, recovery, or peaceful death (cited in Gonzalo, 2019). Purposely, nursing need theory is explanatory as it describes and explains the nature of interrelationships among nursing factors (Masters, 2014). Henderson described nursing to constitute the person, environment, health, and nursing.

Henderson’s theory is significant in psychiatric health since the provision and management of a patient’s self-care are of primary significance. Henderson explained that a person’s needs, environment, health status, and nursing aim are significant conceptual factors for achieving well-being (Gonzalo, 2019). This is despite the complexity of nursing care due to the impact of numerous factors, including emotions, age, culture, and other factors (Florczak et al., 2012).

As a psychiatric nurse, I am obliged to identify relevant patients, environmental, health, and nursing care needs to protect patients from self- and outward-directed injuries. These needs include; avoiding dangers and injuring others, communicating with, and participating in recreational activities (Masters, 2014). Mental health patients are primarily affected by delusions, inability to self-medicate, and limited control of social interactions exemplified by aggression (Aflalo et al., 2015). As such, nursing need theory plays a significant role in enabling active and practical mental health nursing.


Aflalo, M., Soucy, N., Xue, X., Colacone, A., Jourdenais, E., & Boivin, J. F. (2015). Characteristics and needs of psychiatric patients with a prolonged hospital stay. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry60(4), 181-188. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4459245/

Florczak, K., Poradzisz, M., & Hampson, S. (2012). Nursing in a complex world: A case for the grand theory. Nursing Science Quarterly25(4), 307-312. https://doi.10.1177/0894318412457069

Gonzalo, A. (2019). Virginia Henderson: Nursing Need Theory. In Biography and works of “The First Lady of Nursing.”  Available at: https://nurseslabs.com/virginia-hendersons-need-theory/

Masters, K. (2014). Nursing theories: A framework for professional practice. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

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Cathy, CS