Nursing Theory

Nursing theory
January 2, 2015 – 04:23 pm

Figure 1: Collerette NRSG 4111: Nursing Influencing Change - Learning Activity 3

Nursing theory is defined as ‘a creative and rigorous structuring of ideas that project a tentative, purposeful, and systematic view of phenomena’.

Grand nursing theories[edit]

Grand nursing theories have the broadest scope and present general concepts and propositions. Theories at this level may both reflect and provide insights useful for practice but are not designed for empirical testing. This limits the use of grand nursing theories for directing, explaining, and predicting nursing in particular situations. Theories at this level are intended to be pertinent to all instances of nursing. Grand theories consist of conceptual frameworks defining broad perspectives for practice and ways of looking at nursing phenomena based on the perspectives.

Mid-range nursing theories[edit]

Middle-range nursing theories are narrower in scope than grand nursing theories and offer an effective bridge between grand nursing theories and nursing practice. They present concepts and propositions at a lower level of abstraction and hold great promise for increasing theory-based research and nursing practice strategies.

Nursing practice theories[edit]

Nursing practice theories have the most limited scope and level of abstraction and are developed for use within a specific range of nursing situations. Nursing practice theories provide frameworks for nursing interventions, and predict outcomes and the impact of nursing practice.

Major nursing theorists and theories[edit]

Purposely omitted from this list is that most famous of all nurses, Florence Nightingale. 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.

Also not included are the many nurses who improved on these theorists' ideas without developing their own theoretical vision.


  1. Chinn, Peggy; Kramer, Maeona (November 30, 2010). Integrated Theory & Knowledge Development in Nursing (8 ed.). St. Louis: Mosby. ISBN .
  2. Barnum, Barbara (1998). Nursing Theory: Analysis, Application, Evaluation. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Interesting facts
Nursing theory is the term given to the body of knowledge that is used to define or explain various aspects of the profession of nursing.
Grand nursing theories have the broadest scope and present general concepts and propositions. Theories at this level may both reflect and provide insights useful for practice but are not designed for...
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