A Theory-Driven Approach to Evaluating Quality of Nursing Care


  • Souraya Sidani,

  • Diane M. Doran,

  • Pamela H. Mitchell

  • Souraya Sidani, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi, Associate Professor, Faculty of Nursing; Diane M. Doran, RN, PhD, Lambda Pi, Associate Dean, Research and International Relations, Faculty of Nursing; both at University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Pamela H. Mitchell, RN, PhD, Psi-At-Large, Associate Dean, Research, and Director, Center for Health Services Interprofessional Education, School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Correspondence to Dr. Sidani, Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, 50 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H4, Canada. E-mail: s.sidani@utoronto.ca


Purpose:To review the propositions of a theory-driven approach and to discuss its application to evaluating the quality of nursing care.

Organizing Framework:The focus in the theory-driven approach to evaluation is on identifying patient, professional, and setting characteristics that affect the processes of care at micro and meso levels, which in turn contribute to outcome achievement. Implications for examining the interrelationships among characteristics, processes, and outcomes are discussed and illustrated with examples from published research.

Conclusions:Determining how these variables influence each other provides a valid and comprehensive understanding of the contribution of nursing within the health care system.