The Importance of Theory

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The Importance of Theory

Benner’s theory of Novice to Expert has been adopted by the operating room where I practice. This theory was chosen because the operating room has unique educational requirements and novice versus expert hierarchy issues that are not usually found in general nursing units. The intent of this paper is to give a brief history of the evolution of nursing and how the practice of nursing has evolved into a theory based profession. The next section, Benner’s theory, Novice to Expert, will contain an analysis of the key concepts of the theory and how this theory relates to the nursing metaparadigm. The third section will illustrate how Benner’s theory is applied in clinical practice and outline the roles of nurses, nursing leadership and nurse educators. Lastly, the fourth section will conclude what has been learned from analyzing this theory. The Importance of Nursing Theory

The nursing profession has been around for centuries, long before formal education was introduced. In 1863 the University of Pennsylvania offered a six month course in nursing, and is considered one of the first organized schools for nurse in the United States. Many other schools followed suit, and began offering formal education for nurses under the direction of physicians, and was structured as an on-the-job training program within the hospitals. These colleges taught the same theoretical format to the nursing students, using mainly rules, principles of practice and traditions. In the same era, Florence Nightingale was creating an education and theoretical approach to nursing in Europe. As the profession established itself as a care-maiden to physicians, the profession and the theory of nursing practice didn’t advance until nearly a century later.

Beginning in the early 1950s, nursing practice took a dramatic change from rules and tradition to scientifically based higher education and practice theory. In the 70s, the National League of Nursing required that...
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