There are a multitude of grand nursing theorists and theories available to nurses for the
use of knowledge and adaptation into practice. The four categories of grand theory include
needs, interaction, outcomes, and caring. Each type of grand nursing theory has its own unique
concepts, definitions, and proposition, with the purpose of assisting and bettering a patient's
well-being. Even with the same focus, each theory and corresponding theorist is much different
in regards to the approach in which the theory plans to achieve that goal. The following text will
discuss four particular grand theorists and their theories, as well as a synopsis of which which
theorist is most congruent with my personal philosophy of nursing.
Virginia Henderson earned her diploma while attending Army's School of Nursing in
1921 and completed classes at Columbia's Teacher's College, but it was not until years later that
she completed her bachelors and masters education at Columbia University. (Fulton, 1987, p.2)
This twentieth century Florence Nightingale developed a grand needs theory called the Principles
and Practice of Nursing. Within her concept, Henderson described fourteen components that she
believed every human being needed, some of which include, but are not limited to breathing
normally, sleep, maintaining desirable postures, and eliminating body waste. (Henderson, 1978,
p. 115) Henderson believed it was a nurse's duty to assist patients with the previously stated
needs in order to regain health, but to facilitate independence as well. All actions were to be done
to get the patient ultimately back to their baseline functioning. (Meleis, 2012, p. 162) Virginia
Henderson's views and definitions of nursing practice can be generalized into most, if not all
nursing practices. Not only is the theory easy to understand, but the theory's focus is basic
enough to be used in any nursing situation, from birth to death. All patients have needs, and
Henderson's fourteen concepts of nursing are an easy to use framework to meet said needs.
Imogene King received her diploma from St. John's Hospital School of Nursing in St.
Louis, Missouri. She went on to achieve her bachelor's and master's in Nursing from St.
Louis University and her doctorate in Education from Teacher's College at Columbia, University.
(Mesmer & Palmer, 2008) From her knowledge and education, Imogene King formulated a
grand theory of interaction, called the Theory of Goal Attainment. This theory is founded on the
basis of interpersonal relationships in which the person or persons involved strive to evolve and
attain certain goals. (Meleis, 2012, p. 166) Although King's model somewhat addresses a
person's needs, similar to Virginia Henderson, goal attainment focuses more on how we care for
our patients and the different interactions that occur between nurse and patient. King's central
target of nursing is the interaction of human beings and their environment, with the goal being
overall health. (Frey, Norris, & Sieloff, 2002, p. 109) She believed patients have the right to
information in orders to participate in the decisions that could ultimately influence their life. In
order for this sharing of information and relationship to maintain success, the nurse and patient
must feel understood, and the goals must be mutually agreed upon. (Meleis, 2012, p. 230)
Interaction theories, particularly Imogene King's Theory of Goal Attainment, has a strong stance
in nursing practice, both past and present. All human beings need human interaction with others,
especially when they are unwell or in a hospital setting. By nurses setting goals and including the
patient in the goal making process, the nurse maintains some of the patient's independence, while
formulating a systematic process in which to track progress or regression in the patient's...
References: American Nurses Association. (2014). Martha Elizabeth Rogers Inductee. Retrieved from http://
Frey, M.A., Norris, D.M., & Sieloff, C.L. (2002). King 's conceptual system and theory of goal
attainment: Past, present, and future
Fulton, J.S. (1987). Virginia Henderson: Theorist, prophet, poet. Advances in Nursing Science,
Henderson, V. (1978). The concept of nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 3, 113-130.
Meleis, A.I. (2012). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress (5th ed). Philedelphia, PA:
Lippencott, Williams, Wilkens
Messmer, P. & Palmer, J. (2008). Reflections on nursing leadership: In honor of Imogene M.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document