Types of Grand Nursing Theorists

Topics: Nursing, Nursing theory, Nurse Pages: 8 (1186 words) Published: September 17, 2014
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,
10(1), 1-17.
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.
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