The “theory-practice gap,” as some have called it, has prevented our profession from full utilization of its knowledge base in practice, and has impeded the view of nursing as a theoretically based discipline, to its detriment. There are distinctly different viewpoints to this argument, based on the different perspectives of academics and theoreticians on the one hand and that of practitioners on the other. Being honest about your reaction, and applying critical thinking skills to the question, where do you stand on the issue, and why?
2. Barriers have existed, especially in the past, which have impeded the work necessary to develop the knowledge base of nursing. Many of these barriers are related to issues of gender and knowledge in a female-dominated profession like nursing. What are your views on the way in which gender has inhibited our growth as a knowledge-based profession and the view others have of our professional status?
3. Many sources exist that are triggers for theory development through the study of concepts and their related propositions. One such trigger is the research process, which, while it answers many questions, generates others based on research outcomes. Identify some possible questions for research study, the answers to which would serve to generate theory.
4. Choose a theory that finds practical application in critical care/pediatric/psychiatric nursing and discuss the origins of the theory based on the following criteria:
• How did the happenings of the nursing profession impact the origin of this theory?
• What values, evidence, or existing knowledge did the theorist cite to support the theory?
What was the theorist’s motivation behind writing the theory?
5. Choose a middle-range theory or grand theory that, in your opinion, can be applied to research. What are the assumptions underpinning this theory? Discuss how this theory finds application in research.
6. Choose a middle-range theory or grand theory that, in your opinion, can be applied to practice. What are the assumptions underpinning this theory? Discuss how this theory finds application in your area of practice.
7. Professional socialization relates to the manner in which we learn the roles and functions of being a nurse once we enter the healthcare system. What are some of the ways this socialization occurs in your place of employment, and do you believe it leads to effective assumption of the nursing role? This socialization occurs in a patriarchal healthcare system that still remains predominantly male physician-based. Discuss the impact, you believe, this has on socialization to the nursing role.
8. Identify an area of practice where change theory may find applicability. Provide examples to support your answer. Comment on the inherent weaknesses in change theory that may impact real life situations or give rise to difficulties in the process of applying this theory.
9. Debate the utility of the knowledge of nursing theories and associated theoretical concepts in the process of assessing patient’s needs and implementing appropriate care.
10. Analyze the effectiveness of contemporary nursing theories in relation to your healthcare setting and comment whether theories shape your practice.
11. Theory critique and development serve as the underpinning for the progress of professional nursing. Justify.
12. Do you think that theories need to be further operationalized and simplified so as to make them more usable and applicable to clinical settings? Substantiate your viewpoint with appropriate examples.