The different nursing theories discovered by nursing pioneers have provided most of the foundation on which modern nursing stands. Back then, when the nursing profession had just started, nursing care was pretty much basic. Originally, the role of the nurse was to primarily care for a patient as prescribed by a physician. This then led to the discovery of the biomedical model of nursing care which still strongly influences nursing practice today. This model however focuses heavily on pathophysiology and altered homeostasis and so works well for medical and physical care.
It sided so much with the treatment of diseases that very little notice was left for the psychological, social, cultural and economic differences between individuals. In view of this, seeing that the well being of a person greatly depended holistically, nursing theories started to evolve and emerge. A very significant development of this was when Florence Nightingale laid the foundation stone of professional nursing with the principles summarized in the book Notes on Nursing.
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Nightingale never actually formulated a theory of nursing science but was posthumously accredited with same by others who categorized her personal journaling and communications into a theoretical framework. If closely considered, so much of the nursing practice and its evolution depended on these theories even though these theories are to support the nursing practice. With the emergence of different nursing theories so has the nursing profession through time.
Nursing has now branched out into different fields and its practice have been aided by the theories developed since all nursing models involve some method of assessing a patient’s individual needs and implementing appropriate patient care. A few examples of these are: Roy’s model of nursing and the Tidal model for psychiatric nursing, Casey’s model for pediatric nursing, Mercer’s maternal role attainment for perinatal nursing, Orem’s model for community and rehabilitation nursing, the synergy model for critical care nursing, Rogers, McGill, Parse, Erikson, Tomlin and Swain, Newman for holistic nursing.
These are just a few to name but to say that the nursing profession has changed would be quite the understatement. Simply put, the application of these theories into the nursing practice may have triggered the need to provide a more individualistic care to patients and with that the birth of the different and diverse fields of nursing.