Analysis and Evaluation of Contemporary Nursing Knowledge: Nursing Models and Theories

By SMith, Marlaine C. | Nursing and Health Care Perspectives, March/April 2001 | Go to article overview

Analysis and Evaluation of Contemporary Nursing Knowledge: Nursing Models and Theories


SMith, Marlaine C., Nursing and Health Care Perspectives


Analysis and Evaluation of Contemporary Nursing Knowledge: Nursing Models and Theories

by Jacqueline Fawcett, PhD, RN, FAAN; Philadelphia: FA. Davis, 2000; 688 pages, $49.95

I have several responses to the argument that nursing models and theories are historical relics that have no place in our future because they have little, if any, relevance for contemporary nursing practice and research. My first response is sadness, that nurses continue to devalue the burgeoning knowledge of our own discipline at a time when our world needs it most. Another reaction is anger, that in applying the theories from other disciplines to our research and practice activities, we are expanding the knowledge base of those disciplines rather than our own. Finally, I am incredulous that the deepening and broadening base of nursing knowledge is not widely known and is not studied as the primary substance of nursing within our educational programs. But now, I have another response: it is to point with pride to Jacqueline Fawcett's comprehensive volume, Analysis and Evaluation of Contemporary Nursing Knowledge, as evidence that these conceptual models and theories are alive and well.

Fawcett's latest book is a testimony to the maturity of our discipline that illuminates the growing body of scholarly work related to nursing models and theories. The author reminds us that we must continue this expansion: "This author is convinced that the discipline of nursing can survive and advance only if nurses celebrate their own heritage and acknowledge their own knowledge base by adopting explicit nursing discipline-specific C-T-E (conceptual-theoretical-empirical) systems to guide their activities."

Fawcett has been a guardian of nursing's theoretical heritage. She has been a consistent and persistent voice to a professional discipline wandering in the wilderness, calling us to gather around the strength of our disciplinary knowledge as articulated within our conceptual models and theories. This text is a tribute to those who have developed conceptual models and theories, tested and developed them through research, and generated and evaluated nursing theory-guided practice models.

Rather than create a fourth edition of Analysis and Evaluation of Conceptual Models of Nursing, first published in 1984, and a second edition of Analysis and Evaluation of Nursing Theories, first published in 1993, Fawcett has combined both volumes into this new book. I applaud this decision. This new text is a valuable resource for undergraduate students learning the breadth of nursing models and theories, master's students building depth in nursing theory-guided advanced practice, and doctoral students expanding nursing knowledge through theory-based research. In addition, it is a reference for nursing scholars working within any of the models and theories and a guide for nursing administrators and practitioners seeking to apply the models and theories to nursing practice as entrepreneurs or within health care systems.

This book has four parts. In Part 1, an introduction to the structure and nature of contemporary nursing knowledge, the reader is introduced to theoretical language. Fawcett describes the relationship between her identified nursing metaparadigm, philosophy, conceptual models, grand theories, middle-range theories, and empirical indicators as the C-T-E system, referring to the necessary linkages among the philosophical, theoretical, and operational indicators related to both research and practice. She then focuses on the application of nursing models and theories to nursing practice.

In Part 2, Fawcett describes her framework for analyzing and evaluating conceptual models, then applies this framework to seven conceptual models: Johnson's Behavioral System Model, Kings' General Systems Framework, Levine's Conservation Model, Neuman's Systems Model, Orem's Self-Care Framework, Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings, and Roy's Adaptation Model. …

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