That is to say, nursing has a more active role to play in the health care delivery system than the past and nursing as a profession is 'Accountable' today. Florence Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing who established the nursing philosophy based on health maintenance and restoration. The civil war (1860-65) enhanced the growth of nursing in United States and the two world wars saw the nobility of the nursing practice.
A nursing theory is a conceptualization of some aspects of nursing communicated for the purpose of describing, explaining, predicting and or prescribing nursing care. These theories of nursing provide nurses a foundation to view client situations, organize data and analyze or interpret information. There theories of nursing help the nurse understand how the roles and actions of nurses are interrelated.
Theories focus more specifically on the events and the phenomena of the discipline and are specific enough to contribute to a sound basis of nursing practice. Development of theory improves nursing science and lots of theories have been laid as foundations of nursing practice. The major theories on nursing can be classified chronologically as follows;
Florence Nightingale's work 'Notes on Nursing (1860); What it is and what it is not(1860) is a potential theoretical and conceptual for nursing. In Nightingale's concept, the environment is the focus of nursing care. Nightingale did not feel nursing as being limited to the administration of medications and treatments but rather as being oriented towards providing fresh air, light, warmth, cleanliness, quiet and adequate nutrition. Through studies, she linked the client's health status with environmental factors and recommended improved hygiene and sanitary conditions for the patient's wellbeing. Nightingale's descriptive theory provides nurses with an approach to perceive nursing with a frame of reference that focuses on environment and the patients. In her letters, she directs the nurse to act on behalf of the patient. According to her, assessment based on observations should not end up in piling up of information or facts but should end up in saving life and increase health and comfort. Her main focus was to facilitate the body's reparative processes by manipulating client's environment.
2. Peplau's Theory(1952):
Hildegard Peplau's theory of nursing focuses on the individual, "the Nurse" and the process of interaction which gives rise to the nurse client relationship. According to Peplau, the client is an individual with a need and nursing is a process of interpersonal therapy. He viewed that the nurse strives to develop a nurse-client relationship in which the nurse serves as a resource person, counselor and surrogate. As the nurse-client relationship develops, the nurse and the client mutually understand the problem and solutions. The client gains from the relationship by utilizing the services to meet his needs and the nurse assists the client in reducing anxiety related to his well being.
The unique feature of Peplau's theory is the description of the collaborative nurse-client relationship which creates a 'maturing force' through which interpersonal effectiveness meets the needs of the client. When the client's needs have been cared for, new needs do emerge and thus the nurse-client interpersonal relationship is characterized by