Nursing Theory: What It Is and What It Is Not

Evelyn T. Adam


Interest in nursing theory, its definition and development, has increased considerably in recent years and such interest, attested by the number of publications on the subject, is more than justified. Three reasons come to mind: nursing's legitimate desire to be recognized as a full-fledged member of the scientific community, nursing's responsibility to contribute to knowledge in the health field and, perhaps most important but less often recognized, nursing's great need to acquire the knowledge essential for practice. As a service discipline, nursing must develop the knowledge that is required for its particular function in society.
The intent of this article is to examine the significance of the term "nursing theory" and to suggest certain conditions that should exist before a theory may be labelled "nursing". To do this, some very basic considerations will be reviewed.

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