Chaos theory suggests a new paradigm for nursing science


  • Denise F Coppa MS RN-C

    1. Acting Director, Family Nurse Practitioner Program, College of Nursing, White Hall, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881-0814, USA
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The traditional approach to science is an empirical or cause-and-effect one, where answers to research questions come about deductively Nursing has followed this path in its attempt to establish a knowledge base Difficulty occurs when nurses attempt to develop strategies to solve nursing problems involving human systems using this reductionistic approach Human systems are complex, dynamic and individual Traditional scientific models often fall short of providing adequate frameworks for describing, explaining and predicting the behaviour of these complex systems Many scientific communities have been searching for a flexible more three-dimensional model to describe non-traditional system behaviours Chaos theory may provide science with the new paradigm for the study of these complex systems This paper suggests Thomas Kuhn's philosophy of science to use as a foundation for the application of chaos theory or the theory of non-linear dynamics to the science of nursing