Nursing theory development: successes and challenges


  • Bonnie Mowinski Jennings RN, MS, LTC ANC

    Corresponding author
    1. Doctoral Student in Nursing, University of California, San Francisco
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      The opinions or assertions in this article are the private views of the author and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

B. M. Jennings, 1491 19th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA.


Central to this paper is the belief that developing nursing theory is fundamental to establishing nursing's scientific foundation. Therefore, the paper examines successes and challenges in nursing theory development. This is achieved by evaluating both the present status of nursing theory as well as ideas for future directions. Within present status, the author considers three areas — those in which there is agreement, those in which both opinions differ and the prescribed course of relationships has not yet been achieved, and those which may serve as catalysts for future progress. A tripartite framework is also used to contemplate future directions by evaluating how nursing's knowledge has developed, what improvements and refinements might take place, and how the domains of nursing might be expanded. The author concludes that satisfaction and pride in current successes are not only justified but may motivate future pursuits; pursuits that are necessary to advancing the discipline of nursing.