To date, most of the research in nursing has been of the theory-testing variety with little concern for where and how theories were developed. Theoretical progress in a discipline is measured to a great extent by the number and the quality of the theories developed by its scholars. From that point of view in nursing, the most useful measure of research outcome is the growth in sound theory on which to base nursing care and education (LoBiondo-Wood. & Harber, 2006).
Nursing theories may be classified by their levels of abstraction along a continuum from grand theories to practice theories. As alluded to above, grand theories are broad and abstract and do not easily lend themselves to application or testing. In contrast, narrow-range theories are very precise and restricted in their focus. It is evident that for a theory to be usefully generalized to other nursing situations, it needs to be abstract. However, this means that it is difficult to operationalize the concepts within a theory. Being abstract means, there are no measurable indicators, and this it becomes very difficult to test the concepts and propositions through systematic and rigorous research. Mid-range theories go some way towards solving this problem. They are moderately abstract and inclusive but are composed of concepts and propositions which are measurable. Therefore, midrange theories, at their best, balance the need for precision with the need to be sufficiently abstract. Mid-range theories are more focused than grand theories. They have fewer concepts and variables within their structure, are presented in a more testable form, have a more limited scope and have a stronger relationship with research and practice. Mid-range theories provide nurses easy applicability in practice and enough abstract ideas to be scientifically interesting (Tomey & Alligood, 2006).
In this assignment, three nursing theories will be compared. These are "Nursing Process Theory", "Health Promotional Theory" and "Health as Expanding Consciousness Theory."
Background of the Theorists
Ida Jean Orlando was born in 1926 in New York. Her nursing education began at New York Medical College School of Nursing where she received a diploma in nursing. In 1951, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in public health nursing from St. John's University in Brooklyn, New York, and in 1954, she completed a master's degree in nursing from Columbia University. Orlando's early nursing practice experience included obstetrics, medicine, and emergency room nursing. Her first book, The Dynamic Nurse-Patient Relationship: Function, Process and Principles (1961), was based on her research and blended nursing practice, psychiatric-mental health nursing, and nursing education (Tomey & Alligood, 2006).
Dr. Jean Watson has earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and psychiatric-mental health nursing and holds a doctorate in educational psychology and counseling. Dr. Watson's published works on the philosophy and theory of human caring and the art and science of nursing are used by clinical nurses and