I AM deeply grateful for the opportunity to teach in the graduate program at Ateneo de Davao University’s School of Nursing. I had always wished to be part of the faculty at the master’s level, and that aspiration became a reality three years ago continuing to this day.
In our weekly classes now for the subject of theoretical foundations and applications to nursing practice, I must emphasize the connection between nursing theories and advanced nursing practice. Some students have expressed that this subject may seem less interesting because it revolves around familiar concepts like assumptions, metaparadigm, and the nursing process.
Moreover, they believe that, at its core, nursing is about caring, and caring is synonymous with nursing, so nothing is new to learn. This leads to the question: Why should we study various levels of nursing theories when they seem to convey the same message?
Allow me to address this question.
It is essential to recognize that nurses specialize in different areas, such as maternal-child care, operating rooms, or dialysis units etc. The way we provide nursing care is influenced by our assessment skills and our understanding of key concepts like nursing, person, environment, and health.
Therefore, as we provide nursing care, we often unknowingly apply specific theories, whether Dorothea Orem’s self-care theory, Florence Nightingale’s focus on the patient’s environment, or Dr. Rozzano Locsin’s emphasis on technological competency.
In our class activity about nursing metaparadigm creation, my current students in the master’s program have discovered that relearning TFN - its roots and complexities is an exciting journey. Upon reflection on their nursing practice, they have realized how they have consciously or unconsciously employed specific nursing theories or combinations to achieve their nursing care objectives.
What adds to my master’s students’ interest is digging into the origins of nursing theories and exploring the life experiences that led recognized theorists to choose nursing as their career path. And yes, I am pleased to see my students uncover their distinctive motivations for pursuing nursing. Some are motivated by their love for family, others by a passion for childcare, while some have unexpected reasons, like feeling compelled to serve after witnessing the aftermath of bombings and passionately listening to a woman who died during her dialysis.
I emphasize this because nursing theorists, too, often developed their theories based on personal experiences, like the early loss of a husband or witnessing a friend hallucinating due to a psychiatric illness.
Theorists have linked their personal stories or “hugots” that inspired them to conceptualize their own nursing theories.
For now, I hope for the emergence of more Filipino nursing theorists akin to individuals like Sister Letty Kuan with her “Graceful Aging” theory, Carolina S. Agravante’s “Transformative Leadership Model,” Cecilia Laurente’s “Theory of Nursing Practice and Career,” Carmecita Abaquin’s “PREPARE ME” Interventions for Progressive Cancer Patients, and others. These theories have proven highly valuable to nurses, patients, families, and communities.
In the future, I aspire to see more Filipino nursing theorists. My student Judith Jumilla aspires to develop a parental leadership theory, Edward James Mantos envisions a nursing development theory, Mary Antonette Arbole aims to create a mental health perception theory, Krissel Briones focuses on healthy communities and quality of life, Edel Louise Orencia seeks to establish a theory on nursing managerial roles, Eva June Sison concentrates on children with difficulties, Mary Jane Mercado advocates for free health access for all, and Rosie Claire Infante aims to expand Dorothea Orem’s self-care theory.
Ahh. Nursing theories are increasing and evolving, and some nurses may take time to identify their differences. But indeed, it conveys the same thing, which is caring. It is just that they have their specific structured framework for delivering effective and safe nursing care to improve client’s health care outcomes. Oh, I hope many nurses will continue to create nursing theories advancing nursing care knowledge, ensuring quality of client care, and addressing contemporary health issues.