The concept of family as the client has become an integral part of nursing. Research has shown that personal illness affects the family unit and not just the individual, plus, effectiveness of health care is improved when emphasis is placed on family (Harmon Hansen, 2001). Nursing theorists have touched on family nursing; however, there is no complete theoretical framework for family nursing. Friedman, Bowden & Jones (2003) address the lack of a complete family nursing theory with their recommendation “nurses must draw upon multiple theories to work effectively with families” (p. 62). This paper will discuss the family system and theories related to this emerging field of family nursing. It will also describe strategies to incorporate nursing theories in the practice of family nursing. Family
To accurately discuss family nursing, we must first describe the definition of family and it’s relevance in health care. The concept of family has evolved from the traditional nuclear family to a broader definition with the inclusions of those outside of the nuclear family. According to Harmon Hansen (2001), “Family refers to two or more individuals who depend on one another for emotional, physical, and economical support. The members of the family are not self-defined” (p. 6). Therefore, when working with families, nurses should as the patient who they consider their family, so they can included these members in their care. Family health describes the process of the person and their interaction with environment. Families play a large role in the environment in which the person interacts. The health of an individual will affect the function of the family, and the function of the family will affect an individual’s health (Harmon Hansen, 2001). One goal of family nursing is health promotion of the family. Values, behaviors and attitudes are learned in the family; thus, health promotion should originate in the family...
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