Self Care Theory in Nursing: Selected Papers of Dorothea Orem

By Katherine McLaughlin Renpenning; Susan G. Taylor | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21 Nurses and Nursing Knowledge

In communities throughout the world, nursing is supported as an institutionalized human service, including provisions for the education and training of nurses. The strength of nursing in any social group is dependent upon what nurses do to keep nursing viable and healthy as a human service and at the same time advance the frontiers of nursing knowledge. As the twentieth century draws to a close, nursing is recognized as an essential health service. It is recognized also as a knowledge-intensive service. In the 1980s, however, nursing practitioners, educators, and nursing students continue to be adversely affected by the failures of nurses during the period of modern nursing to lay out the domain and boundaries of nursing and to formalize and validate the bodies of nursing knowledge that would constitute the practical and the applied nursing sciences.

Nurses represent themselves in society as being able to help others through nursing. To do this, nurses must be able to think nursing, to communicate about nursing, to determine when and how individuals can be helped through nursing, and to design and produce nursing for individuals and groups. The unorganized state of nursing knowledge continues to be a deterrent to nursing students' development of the named capabilities. What happens to nursing in the twenty-first century is viewed as dependent on what nurses do (1) to give form and structure to nursing knowledge that is already developed and validated but scattered and unorganized and, therefore, not readily accessible, and (2) to advance the development of nursing as a field of knowledge.

This paper was originally presented at the Eighth Annual Meeting of the Spanish Association for
Nursing Education, December, 1987.

-178-

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