Because of the diversity and complexity of nursing cases, Nursing Development Conference Group (NDCG) members have been attentive to the need to structure existent knowledge in forms useful to nurses engaged in nursing practice. Nursing cases can be grouped on the basis of resemblances among them. As a genus within the occurrence of requirements for human services, nursing cases should be understood and can be classified in terms of differences in ends sought and in the actions required to achieve the ends. Knowledge that is antecedent to nurses' engagement in nursing practice should be structured to make these differences explicit.
One position to be taken is that antecedent knowledge should be organized and expressed according to degrees of invariance with respect to instances of individual and group health care requirements that can be met through nursing. As previously stated, some antecedent knowledge is invariant for all nursing cases but other antecedent knowledge is invariant for some types of nursing cases when specific factors are exercising a conditioning influence on the nursing system variables.
Three examples of NDCG members' endeavors to structure antecedent knowledge required by nurses are presented. All the examples assume the acceptance and use by NDCG members of (1) self-care deficit to explain why individuals require nursing, (2) nursing systems as products designed and produced by nurses to achieve nursing goals, and (3) the conceptual
This paper was previously published in 1979 in the Nursing Development Conference Group's
Concept Formalization in Nursing: Process and Product, ed. D. E. Orem, pp. 248-272. Boston: