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Nursing Theory in Modern Times

Jervonne Johnson

Azusa Pacific University

Theoretical Frameworks in Nursing

Dr. Lori Silao

October 30, 2017


The purpose of the McCrae article is to discuss nursing theory and how it relates to

nursing today. A profession’s validity is based on it being able to create and apply theory

(McCrae, 2012). This provides probable cause as to why many nursing professionals have tried

to postulate such a theoretical platform to aid in the progression of nursing being considered a

profession. Ultimately, McCrae believes that theory has its place in nursing today, and I agree

that there is room for theory in modern nursing. This paper will provide a summary of McCrae’s

article as well as a discussion of several points of the article.

Summary of the Article

McCrae (2012) began with some background on the history of nursing theory, explaining

that the first theory widely recognized was Peplau’s theory of interpersonal relations. “…Peplau

emphasized the nurse… as the agent of change” (McCrae, 2012, p. 223). After Peplau, the

concept of nursing theory increased in popularity and a variety of nursing models based on

human nature appeared. McCrae wrote that “Theorists anticipated that models of nursing would

enable practitioners to become more autonomous and accountable in their clinical decisions and

organization of care…” (p. 224). This could possibly help nurses be perceived as more


Next, McCrae discusses arguments scrutinize against nursing theory. For instance, one

argument against theory is that it is incompatible with evidence based practice. McCrae (2012)

states “Much nursing theory may be criticized as untested philosophical musings that would fail

the Popperian test of falsifiability” (p. 225). But with this opinion, one must also keep in mind

that evidenced based practice is not always the best solution for the individual patient one is

working with at the time (McCrae, 2012).

Lastly, McCrae explores the implications of theory in nursing. With the role of health

practitioners constantly changing, the development of theory may help to better clarify their

purpose (McCrae, 2012). “It is also important for the advancement of the discipline, as its

function extends into care episode management, prescribing and specialist skills previously

performed by physicians” (McCrae, 2012, p. 227).

Reaction to McCrae Article

The article explores several points thought provoking points on the topic of nursing

theory and its relevance in modern nursing. It was very informative and, while I agree with

McCrae completely that theory has its place in nursing, the topics that really stood out were in

the portion of the article where McCrae acknowledges and addresses several arguments about

nursing theory.

Practical vs. Applied Science

McCrae mentions a commonly held stance on nursing theory that nursing as a whole is

more practical than anything. Essentially “it is a means to an end, helping patients to adapt

positively to illness, to resume independence and to achieve personal growth” (McCrae, 2012, p.

226). This view on nursing does prepare the nurse for what to do in specific situations, but it

does not envelope all that nursing is. It also may lead to nursing care that is robotic in nature and

impersonal (McCrae, 2012).

Not Compatible with Evidence-Based Practice

“Much nursing theory may be criticized as untested philosophical musings that would fail

the Popperian test of falsifiability” (McCrae, 2012, p. 225). In some cases, this may be true. Yet,

in some cases, evidence-based practice is not going to be what works best for your patient.

Whenever an experiment is performed on a population of people to test out a drug, one may be

able to assume that there is going to be at least one person in the study that was not affected by

the drug as predicted. In this same way, evidence-based practice is not the only practice because

it is not going to suit everyone. Sometimes care guided human intuition and emotional sensitivity

is going to win.

According to McCrae’s listed criteria of a profession, nursing has been validated as a

profession because it has been able to create and apply theory. Theorists have “…[enabled]

practitioners to become more autonomous and accountable in their clinical decisions and

organization of care…” (McCrae, 2012, p. 224). Yet, some people choose to see theory in

nursing as some sort of unachievable standard that diverts from the more practical aspects of

nursing (McCrae, 2012). Nursing theory should be seen as a help more than a hindrance because

it has helped nurses in the past assert themselves in their role as a necessary part of the healthcare

team and it continues to evolve today to respond to our ever-changing clinical settings (McCrae,



McCrae, N. (2012). Whither nursing models? The value of nursing theory in the context

of evidence-based practice and multidisciplinary health care. Journal of Advanced

Nursing, 68(1), 222-229. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.05821.x


Possible Your
Content Points Points
1. Introduction of issue(s): (This section should not have a 5
level heading, but introduce the content to follow in the
paper, including your main ideas)

2. Discussion: Brief summary & Opinions/Ideas/Critique 10

(level headings)

3. Conclusion (This section should have a level 1 heading) 5

4. APA Format (title page, pagination, headings, etc.) 10

5. Grammar/form/spelling/punctuation 5

6. Logical flow/readability/overall impression 5

7. Citations and References 5

8. Proper format (minus 10% if not in correct format) ---

9. Grading and text mechanics sheets included (minus 5 5

points each if not included)

______________ ________________________
10. Draft 1 completed (peer editing in class)

11. Draft 2 and all forms (peer reviewed)

12. Draft 3 and all forms (completed)

13. Writing Consultation and forms completed 5

Total Points 50