Theories and Concepts in Nursing: Applying Nursing Theories to Everyday Practice

September 07, 2023
Charles Harding
Charles Harding
United Kingdom
Nursing Theory
With a Ph.D. in Nursing Theory and Education from Johns Hopkins University, Charles Harding is an esteemed expert in the field of nursing. He has contributed significantly to nursing education and research and has served as a mentor to countless nursing students.

Nursing is a dynamic and ever-evolving field that draws upon a wide range of theories and concepts to guide practice. These nursing theories provide a framework for understanding and addressing the complex needs of patients, families, and communities. In this blog, we will explore the significance of nursing theories and concepts, their practical application in everyday nursing practice, and how they contribute to the delivery of high-quality patient care. If you need assistance with your nursing theory assignment related to these topics, you're in the right place to understand their importance and relevance in the field of nursing.

Understanding Nursing Theories and Concepts

Before we delve into the application of nursing theories, let's take a moment to understand what they are. Nursing theories are conceptual frameworks that help nurses and other healthcare professionals make sense of the complexities of patient care. These theories are developed by nursing scholars and researchers and are based on various philosophies, paradigms, and perspectives.

Theories and Concepts in Nursing Applying Nursing Theories to Everyday Practice
  1. Florence Nightingale's Environmental Theory: One of the earliest nursing theories, Nightingale's Environmental Theory, emphasizes the importance of the patient's environment in promoting healing and well-being. This theory underscores the significance of clean and safe environments in healthcare settings.
  2. Dorothea Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory: Orem's theory focuses on the patient's ability to perform self-care activities. It encourages nurses to assess and support patients in meeting their self-care needs, whether independently or with assistance.
  3. Virginia Henderson's Nursing Need Theory: Henderson's theory revolves around the concept of assisting patients in achieving independence in their care. It guides nurses in identifying and addressing patients' basic needs and fostering self-care.
  4. Jean Watson's Theory of Human Caring: Watson's theory centres on the importance of genuine, compassionate, and therapeutic relationships between nurses and patients. It emphasizes the humanistic aspect of nursing and underscores the nurse's role in promoting healing through caring interactions.

Practical Application of Nursing Theories

Now that we've briefly explored some foundational nursing theories, let's discuss how these theories are applied in everyday nursing practice. As we do, take note of the main points that you may inculcate in your assignment, whether you are doing it yourself or finding a nursing theories assignment doer who is proficient with these concepts.

  1. Assessment and Planning: Nursing theories provide a structured approach to patient assessment. Nurses use these theories to identify patients' physical, emotional, and psychological needs. For example, the assessment phase might involve using Orem's theory to determine a patient's self-care deficits, which can then inform the nursing care plan.
  2. Interventions: Nursing interventions are designed based on the principles of nursing theories. For instance, Nightingale's Environmental Theory prompts nurses to maintain a clean and hygienic environment to prevent infections and promote healing. Henderson's Nursing Need Theory guides nurses in addressing fundamental patient needs such as nutrition and mobility.
  3. Patient Education: Nursing theories play a crucial role in patient education. By understanding a patient's unique needs and abilities, nurses can tailor educational materials and teaching methods accordingly. Watson's Theory of Human Caring emphasizes the importance of compassionate communication during patient education.
  4. Promoting Holistic Care: Nursing theories encourage nurses to consider the whole patient, not just their medical condition. This holistic approach recognizes the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of health. Nurses apply these theories to provide comprehensive care that addresses all aspects of a patient's well-being.
  5. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: Nursing theories promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Nurses use these theories as a framework to analyze complex situations and make informed decisions. This is particularly valuable in emergency and critical care settings.

Benefits of Applying Nursing Theories

Incorporating nursing theories into everyday practice offers a multitude of advantages that significantly impact patient care and the nursing profession as a whole. In this section, we will delve into the tangible benefits of applying these theories, illustrating how they lead to improved patient outcomes, enhanced communication among healthcare teams, and greater job satisfaction for nurses. The practical application of nursing theories offers several benefits for both nurses and patients:

  1. Improved Patient Outcomes: Applying nursing theories ensures that care is evidence-based and patient-centered. This often leads to better patient outcomes, reduced complications, and faster recovery.
  2. Enhanced Communication: Nursing theories promote effective communication among healthcare team members. When everyone shares a common theoretical framework, it's easier to collaborate and provide consistent care.
  3. Professional Development: Understanding and applying nursing theories is a vital aspect of a nurse's professional development. It encourages lifelong learning and keeps nurses updated with the latest best practices.
  4. Increased Job Satisfaction: Nurses who apply nursing theories often report higher job satisfaction. Knowing that their care is grounded in theory gives them a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
  5. Research and Innovation: Nursing theories serve as a foundation for nursing research. They inspire new ideas, research questions, and innovations in nursing practice.

Challenges in Applying Nursing Theories

While nursing theories provide a valuable framework for nursing practice, their application is not without its complexities and hurdles. In this section, we will explore the challenges that nurses may encounter when applying these theories in real-world healthcare settings. These challenges encompass the intricacies of balancing theory with individualized care, adapting to a changing healthcare landscape, managing time constraints, and navigating the evolving nature of the profession. While nursing theories offer numerous advantages, they are not without challenges:

  1. Complexity: Some nursing theories can be complex and difficult to understand, especially for novice nurses. Overcoming this challenge requires ongoing education and mentorship.
  2. Individualized Care: Balancing the application of nursing theories with individualized patient care can be challenging. Nurses must adapt their approach to each patient's unique needs and preferences.
  3. Changing Healthcare Landscape: The healthcare landscape is continually evolving, with new technologies, treatments, and care models emerging. Nurses must adapt nursing theories to these changes to ensure relevance.
  4. Time Constraints: Nurses often face time constraints in their practice. Finding the time to fully apply nursing theories in every patient interaction can be challenging in a fast-paced clinical setting.


Nursing theories and concepts are essential tools that guide nursing practice and contribute to the delivery of high-quality patient care. By applying these theories in everyday practice, nurses can assess, plan, and deliver care that is evidence-based, holistic, and patient-centered. While challenges exist in applying nursing theories, the benefits, including improved patient outcomes and increased job satisfaction, make the effort worthwhile. As the field of nursing continues to evolve, nursing theories will remain a fundamental foundation for the profession, helping nurses provide the best possible care to those they serve.

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