Timeline: Historical Development of Nursing Science
Nursing science provides the basis for professional nursing practice. Nursing theories provide the critical thinking structures to direct the clinical decision- making process of professional nursing practice. The relationship between theory, research, and practice is circular in nature. As new knowledge and discoveries emerge in each of these realms, the cutting edge of the art and science of the discipline of nursing evolves.
(1860) Florence Nightingale:
• Florence Nightingale is recognized as the first nurse theorist. She described nursing as both an art and a science. She recommended adjusting the environment to improve the person’s health. Theory development began with Nightingale and was revived in the 1950s.Her foundational work is what nursing theorists expanded upon that started in the 1950’s until the present time. Florence Nightingale sought to unify science and religion in a way that would bring order, meaning, and purpose to human life through some of her radical and lesser known, writings. Nightingale challenged prejudices against women and elevated status of all nurses.
(1952) Hildegard Paplau: Interpersonal Relations Theory
• Paplau, a psychiatric nurse instructor, described the nurse-client relationship, and stated that nursing is therapeutic interpersonal process. Paplau defined nursing as: “An interpersonal process of therapeutic interactions between an Individual who is sick or in need of health services and a nurse especially educated to recognize, respond to the need for help”.
(1955) Virginia Henderson:
• She emphasized the importance of increasing the patient’s independence so that progress after hospitalization would not be delayed (Reed, 2006).
(1960) Faye Abdellah:
• The nursing theory developed by Faye Abdellah emphasizes delivering nursing care for the whole person to meet the physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs of the client and