Nursing Theory: Key Principles and Goals

Nursing theory is immeasurably important for the nursing profession to this day. However, nursing theory cannot be put into context without the profession’s historical aspect. Physicians could visit a highly limited number of patients per day before hospitals occurred to centralize patients for the effective delivery of health care. Specialists got an opportunity to treat multiple people within a short period, however, they needed help as physicians could not provide care on a twenty-four-hour basis.

That is why hospitals started to recruit and train caregivers and laid the foundation of nursing. At first, this profession was not highly respectable, as nurses served as the physicians’ assistants with simple and standardized education. However, from the middle of the 19th century, nursing had been viewed differently. The shaping of this profession is closely connected with Florence Nightingale, an outstanding nurse who established the Nightingale School of Nursing in London (Roux & Halstead, 2018). During the educational program there, student nurses received the necessary training in various nursing care aspects due to a well-defined curriculum.

Nowadays, nursing is regarded as a highly essential independent profession. Since the beginning of its development, a substantial number of nurse practitioners and nurse theorists were elaborating on various perspectives and guidelines of nursing. Nursing currently has its scientific practice, distinct nursing interventions, ethical norms, guidelines, standards, and nursing models. It has its own unique body of knowledge that supports the practice. The nursing theory was created and developed by a substantial number of prominent leaders in the field of nursing. In general, nursing theory is highly important for nursing as it was prepared to provide nursing practice and health care delivery with a framework of an independent profession.

The theory is an organized and well-structured body of knowledge that gives the definition of nursing, its key principles, and goals (Roux & Halstead, 2018). Moreover, nursing theory distinguishes nursing as a separate and unique discipline that may be defined as a framework of certain purposes and concepts intended to shape and guide nursing practice in a systematic and specific way.

The understanding and observation of nursing theory are essential for practitioners as well. Nursing professionals do not execute practice if it is not based on the researches of at least one nursing theorist and grounded in nursing. In addition, studies will not be related to nursing science if they are not fortified by the theoretical framework of nursing. The nursing theory that guides science and defines its parameters, ethical norms, and nursing models are regarded as the basis of practice for every nursing practitioner.

In addition, nurse educators who are responsible for the creating of reliable and supportive frameworks for efficient patient care use the nursing theory that is based on valid data and scientific evidence, as well. That is why the theory is immeasurably important not only for nursing practice but the education of nursing practitioners as it offers highly significant approaches and strategies for the development of nursing in the future.

A prevalent number of nursing curriculums and nursing researches are based on nursing theory and supported by it. As the nursing practice is the fundamental goal of education and research activities, a competent nursing practitioner invariably incorporates all principles of nursing theory into his or her practice. In other words, nursing activities should be executed based on nursing theory and models incorporated into practice, education, research, and administration. The nursing framework encourages nurses to collaborate with common objectives, perspectives, visions, and language.


Roux, G., & Halstead, J. A. (2018). Issues and trends in nursing: Practice, policy, and leadership (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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