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  • Nursing Theories and Models

    Nursing theory is a key element of all modern nursing courses, yetnurses are rarely encouraged to evaluate the models they aretaught.

    In Nursing Theories and Models, Hugh McKenna challengesthe notion that certain nursing models are infallible, andexamines strategies for bridging the gap between theory andpractice. Readers are guided through the confusing terminologyassociated with nursing theory and are encouraged to testestablished models and assess the positive difference their use canhave on patient care.

    In addition to exploring the origins and abundance of currentpopular models, the author examines whether new modelsshould emanate from research, practice, or from other theories.He suggests that nurses themselves generate and select theoriesfrom their own practice, whether consciously or unconsciously,and that this skill can be developed through reflection andanalysis.

    Nursing Theories and Models is an essential text for studentson both undergraduate and postgraduate nursing courses, andprovides valuable insight for the practising professional into thestrengths and weaknesses of the models they teach.

    Hugh McKenna is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the Universityof Ulster and has written many books and articles on nursingtheory.

  • Routledge Essentials for Nurses cover four key areas of nursing:

    core theoretical studies psychological and physical care nurse education new directions in nursing and health care

    Written by experienced practitioners and teachers, books in thisseries encourage a critical approach to nursing concepts and showhow research findings are relevant to nursing practice.

    The series editors are Robert Newell, Lecturer in Nursing Studies,University of Hull and David Thompson, Professor of NursingStudies, University of Hull.

    Also in this series:

    Nursing Perspectives on Quality of Life Peter DraperTeaching and Assessing Learners Mary Chambers

  • Nursing Theoriesand Models

    Hugh McKenna

    London and New York

  • First published 1997by Routledge11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE

    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canadaby Routledge29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001

    Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group

    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.

    To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledgescollection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.

    1997 Hugh McKenna

    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted orreproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic,mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented,including photocopying and recording, or in anyinformation storage or retrieval system, without permissionin writing from the publishers.

    British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

    Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book has been requested

    ISBN 0-203-13544-X Master e-book ISBN

    ISBN 0-203-17907-2 (Adobe eReader Format)ISBN 0-415-14222-9 (hbk)ISBN 0-415-14223-7 (pbk)

  • Contents

    List of illustrations viiIntroduction ix

    1 The trouble with terminology 1

    2 Ways of knowing 24

    3 Building theory through concept analysis 55

    4 Introduction to nursing theories 85

    5 Choosing a theory for practice 127

    6 Applying theories in practice 158

    7 Theory and research: the relationship 190

    8 Analysis and critique of nursing theory 222

    Appendix 241References 247Index 271

  • Illustrations


    2.1 Comtes three states of scientific development 282.2 Three major concepts of critical theory 352.3 Aristotelian syllogism 522.4 Example of inductive reasoning 533.1 Case model: caring 653.2 Contrary case: caring 663.3 Borderline case: caring 684.1 Perceived contributions of nursing theories 1114.2 Perceived criticisms of nursing theories 1125.1 Walker and Avants five steps for theory derivation 1336.1 Factors contributing to a failure to sustain change 1847.1 Types of prepositional statement developed

    through TGR 2047.2 Chinn and Kramers ways of knowing and modes

    of enquiry 215


    1.1 Representation of relationship between theoreticalworking terms 7

    1.2 Representation of relationship between theoreticalmiddle terms 11

    1.3 The modeltheory debate Position A 161.4 The modeltheory debate Position B 175.1 The subjectivityobjectivity selection continua 1465.2 Selection criteria using McGees index of utility 1556.1 Theory acceptance and application continuum 1746.2 Change to theory-based practice in terms of time

    and difficulty 185

  • 7.1 A typical theory-testing process 1967.2 Examples of propositional diagramming 2057.3 The developmental relationship between theory

    generation and theory testing 2057.4 The relationship between types of theory and

    research methods 215


    2.1 Know that versus know how knowledge 382.2 The creative and expressive dimensions of Carpers

    ways of knowing 442.3 The received view versus the perceived view

    (after Meleis, 1995) 507.1 The relationship between levels of theory and levels

    of research 213

  • Introduction

    The knowledge base of a profession is normally expressed in theform of concepts, propositions and theories. Nursing has currentlyreached this level of theoretical evolution. This book willcritically examine the development, selection, application andtesting of nursing theories.

    Just because practising nurses use nursing theories does notmean that they are theorising about nursing. Therefore, to enablenurses to understand the real importance of theory, the art andscience of theorising will be discussed. The reader will be takenon a journey beginning with the identification of phenomenawhich are of interest to nursing through to conceptualising thesephenomena in the form of propositions which can be analysed toform the building blocks of nursing theories.

    In the mid-1980s nursing theories were introduced into mostcurricula and practice settings in Europe. In this regard nurseswere following a trend set in the United States. The theories werevery popular in the British nursing press and practising nurseswere being encouraged to use them by educators and managersalike. In most cases, and with very little understanding as to whatthey were, nursing theories were applied, often without question,to a wide range of patient care settings. However, it was notimmediately apparent what effect their study and use was havingon the delivery and outcomes of patient care. One could ask, ifnursing theories were as advantageous as reputed, why did mostnurses have such a negative perception of them?

    In essence, many nurses were brainwashed into believing thatthese theories held the answer, that they contained the essence ofnursing. This was reinforced by the United Kingdom CentralCouncil for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, which hasvoiced its support for nursing theories (Girot, 1990). In addition,Kershaw (1990) states that the DHSS Strategy for Nursing takes

  • x Introduction

    as implicit that theory-based practice occurs. Cash (1990) wentfurther by stating that theories are an explicit part of thecurriculum for registered nurses.

    Respected nursing leaders lent support to the introduction ofnursing theories. According to Pearson (1986), a move towardtheory-based practice was the most important target for changewithin nursing. Castledine (1986) believes that theimplementation of a nursing theory leads to better nursing careand more reliable and critical observation by the nurse. Otherswrote that the application of nursing theories to patient carewould help improve the quality of the service delivered (Hardy,1982; Farmer, 1986). Therefore, in many instances nursingtheories were presented in the literature as a panacea for problemsin nursing practice, education, management and research.However, few available research reports have confirmed the linkbetween the use of a nursing theory and the quality of caredelivered to or received by patients (McKenna, 1994a).

    Until recently, criticism of these theories was activelydiscouraged; to criticise was to demonstrate that you were alaggard, a saboteur of change, an academic Luddite or, worsestill, ignorant of these new conceptual initiatives. However, somenurses were worried at what appeared to be unsubstantiatedacceptance and support. McFarlane (1986a), almost a lone voice,advocated that all nursing theories require careful analysis andevaluation in practice. Fawcett (1989) refers to this as credibilitydetermination. She states that credibility determination isnecessary to avoid the uncritical acceptance of a nursing theoryand to establish the effect of using a nursing theory on theoutcomes of nursing care.

    Yet, as we near the end of the twentieth century, a review of theliterature reveals that such empirical information is conspicuousby its scarcity. As a result, there is little research evidence pertainingto the application, let alone the evaluation of nursing theories.None the less, contemporary nurses are beginning to have a healthycynicism for nursing theories and are taking a more critical stancetowards them. Analysing and evaluating these theories requiresspecific knowledge and skills, and nurses are increasingly beingrequired to show such knowledge and skills.

  • Introduction xi

    The content of this book has its origins in the writers teachingand research (McKenna, 1994a). Over a number of years,students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, havestimulated th


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