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Nursing Theories

Theory Classification


According to the four concepts common in nursing theory; the person (patient), the environment, health & nursing (goals, roles, functions) can be analyzed. Each of these concepts is usually defi ned and described by a nursing theorist. Of the four concepts, the most important is that of the person. The four concepts are generally considered central to the discipline of nursing.


Classifications of middle range theories

Nursing Theories  (has grand and mid range)


Middle range theories


-Conceptual System and Middle-Range Theory of Goal Attainment

Imogene King

“Nursing is a process of action, reaction and interaction by which nurse and client share information about their perception in a nursing situation” and “a process of human interactions between nurse and client whereby each perceives the other and the situation, and through communication, they set goals, explore means, and agree on means to achieve goals.”

Focuses on this process to guide and direct nurses in the nurse-patient relationship, going hand-in-hand with their patients to meet the goals towards good health.

Explains that the nurse and patient go hand-in-hand in communicating information, set goals together, and then take actions to achieve those goals.


-Theory of Chronic Sorrow

Georgene Gaskill Eakes, Mery Lermann Burke, Margaret Hainsworth

“Chronic sorrow is the presence of pervasive grief-related feelings that have been found to occur periodically throughout the lives of individuals with chronic health conditions, their family caregivers and the bereaved.”

This middle-range theory defines the aspect of chronic sorrow as a normal response to the ongoing disparity created by the loss.


-Emancipatory Theory of Compassion

Georges, J.M. (2013). An Emancipatory Theory of Compassion for Nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 36(1): 2-9. doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e31828077d2

Jane Georges PHD, RN

Compassion, defined as the wish that all others be free of suffering, is absolutely necessary for emancipatory nursing practice and praxis. “Emancipatory” is used to emphasize the centrality that power relations have on suffering, and the ability to render compassion impossible. The theory takes into context the impact power relationship have on the axes of gender, ethnicity, and other sociopolitical constructs. Compassion and suffering take into account broader social issues, such racism and sexism. The theory addresses both the suffering of patients and nurses, and goes beyond the nurse-patient relationship to contextualize suffering and compassion of communities and populations. The theory asserts that it is axiomatic for nursing to find ways to decrease suffering, share power, increase compassion, speak the unspeakable, teach moral imagination, and enhance voice.


-Theory of Comfort


Kolcaba, K. (2003). Comfort Theory: A holistic vision for health care. Springer.

Kolcaba, K. (2007)

Interview with Kolcaba by Martha Alligood. “The Nurse Theorists: Portraits of Excellence,” Volume 3 (2017). A Fitney Production. Available online at

Kolcaba’s Comfort Theory:

Comfort Care is defined as a philosophy of health care that focuses on addressing comfort needs recipients in four contexts: physical (including homeostatic mechanisms as well as sensations related to medical problems), psychospiritual, sociocultural, and environmental. Comfort Care has three components: (a) and appropriate and timely intervention, (b) a mode of delivery that projects caring and empathy, and (c) the intent to enhance comfort (Kolcaba, 2003, p. 252). It is a pattern for holistic care, but is individualized for each recipient or group. Comfort is also a universal concept, meaning it is understood across most disciplines and cultures.


-A middle-range theory of self-care of chronic illness


Nearly 50% of adults have one or more chronic illnesses. Self-care is considered essential in the management of chronic illness, but the elements of self-care in this context have not been specified in a middle-range theory. This article describes a middle-range theory of self-care that addresses the process of maintaining health with health promoting practices within the context of the management required of a chronic illness. The key concepts include self-care maintenance, self-care monitoring, and self-care management. Assumptions and propositions of the theory are specified. Factors influencing self-care including experience, skill, motivation, culture, confidence, habits, function, cognition, support from others, and access to care are described


-Theory of Symptom Management

see email to Tonya

-Theory of Self Efficacy

-Theory of Self-Transcendence


tranisition theory

Self dertermination theory

Self efficacy


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