Nursing theories become an important concept that provides the necessary basis for informing the patient as well as teaching, guiding, or directing them during the treatment and recovery processes. Henderson’s theory is a descriptive and normative source that aims to satisfy the basic human needs, and it is focused on the restoration of the patient’s independence (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015, p. 443). In addition, the theory puts the patient at the center of the entire nursing process, which is an indisputable plus. To fully understand the importance of the employment of Henderson’s theory in the practice of nurse practitioners as well as in Master’s program, it is reasonable to analyze the theory’s peculiarities and key concepts.
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Importance of Nursing Theory
Nursing theories provide students with knowledge of the development of medical thought as well as various approaches that can be applied in practice. Each patient is individual, so nursing theories cover various cognitive aspects of interaction with the patient as well as the formation of treatment programs according to one’s mindset and individuality. It is important to study the theory of nursing during the Master’s degree program because it forms the necessary philosophical frameworks of working with the patient, including respect for life, dignity and human rights. The student learns to consider each individual person in view of his or her internal opportunities for growth and development in all spheres of life. It is possible to say that studying the theory of nursing creates the necessary ecosystem of the interaction of a nurse with the patient, the hospital, and themselves (Ironside, 2015, p. 84). Theories help to understand the logic behind the ideas proposed by outstanding scholars and nurses of the past, which also serve as a moral and ethical guide in the profession. In fact, such theories provide a humanistic education aimed at understanding the importance of the rights and freedoms of the patient as well as the ethics of working with other people in the organization (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015, p. 443). Nursing theory separates nursing profession from other spheres by providing the opportunity to achieve the balance between the external and internal environment of the patient by the use of therapeutic means, empathy, and compassion. In this case, nursing is differentiated by the creation of favorable conditions not with the help of treatment but rather attitude towards patient, their thoughts, and behavior. Nursing is similar to a bridge between the nurse practitioner and the patient, which aims to achieve the balance between rational means such as medicine and their environment, influencing the patient’s emotional condition (Anderson & McFarlane, 2015, p. 213). The managerial part of the subject is its empirical component, which develops logical thinking necessary to make important decisions during the treatment of the patient. In addition, it implies the study of innovative methods of teamwork, the understanding of the role of a leader in the nursing team, cooperation with patients and their families to simplify the establishment and provision of treatment and improve the advisory nursing care. Research work during the course allows one to focus on the desired area of ??work with patients, managerial or communications work, and gain research practice. As a result, the study of nursing theory prepares active and imaginative administrators and nursing practitioners who can make responsible decisions (George, 2014, p. 121). The only concern is the expansion of the professional duties of nurses, which can lead to a lack of concentration on their duties as well as problems in choosing further specialization. Moreover, these are methods of working with the population to provide people with the necessary information about the latest changes in the hospital. Thus, this process can also take a lot of time and have low efficiency rate.
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Summary of Selected Nursing Theory
Henderson’s theory hit the headlines in 1955, and the fifth edition was the final one bringing her research to an end in 1991 (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015, p. 444). The theory has three key theses that emphasize the fact that the actions of a nursing practitioner are prerequisites for treatment or death, discuss the importance of human independence from others and the process of restoring this condition, and indicate that the goal of nursing is positive and effective actions taken to provide care to the patient. Consequently, the nursing profession metaparadigm manifests itself through the harmonious existence of the patient with their disease through the nurse’s assistance. The researcher mentions independence as the primary necessity of the nurse, which is represented through the steps made enhance the patient’s expression of thoughts and desires as well as full-fledged physical communication with their environment (Anderson & McFarlane, 2015, p. 211). Henderson listed the necessary needs that include proper nutrition control, sleep, comfort, breathing, and emotional activity that help to create the positive environment for the patient (George, 2014, p. 130). In addition, the theory formulates the notion of nursing profession not as a set of required qualifications and competencies that help to improve the normal functioning of the organism but as the activity associated with the patient’s physical condition and lack of pathologies of mental and physical nature. A crucial point is the acceptance of death as a fact, if it cannot be avoided. Henderson views the nursing practitioner as the one who should accept this negative alternative; however, the theorist requires the nurse to put efforts into ensuring the patient’s normal emotional state and treatment (Masters, 2015, p. 265). Communication with the environment occurs through the nursing practitioner, which must compensate the inferiority of the patient. In some way, a nurse is a supplement to the capabilities of the patient, and it acts as the communicator with the environment, transforming it for their own good. The metaparadigm of the nurse’s profession also manifests itself through the communication with the patient’s inner experiences as well as their actions aimed at achieving the improvement of the basic needs coupled with positive emotional state. Therefore, the nursing practitioner must take into account the patient’s social level, cognitive features, cultural background, and age in order to simplify communication as much as possible and solve their life problems. Henderson’s theory has a remarkable educational potential because it focuses on a permanent action that can be applied both in preventive work and during treatment. It provides the necessary ethical basis and serves as guidelines in working with patients. In addition, the theory can be used during practice at the hospital when the nurse discusses the measures needed to assist the patient.
The Application of Specific Nursing Theory to Nursing Practice
The theory of Henderson explains the role of a nursing practitioner as a guarantor of the patient’s health as well as a person who ensures their physical and mental stability. The principles of the approach to nursing are quite specific, and they are easy to follow because they have a clear logic and clearly defined treatment areas that provide a broad support scheme for the patient. Henderson examines the nurse in light of the independence of the patient and emphasizes the importance of understanding their needs as well as the fact that their responsibility is limited (Masters, 2015, p. 276). Henderson sees the nursing practitioner as a multifunctional professional able to transform the treatment and environment in view of the needs of the patient (Snowden, Donnell, & Duffy, 2014, p. 198). The nurse also has a huge level of responsibility, as they need to perform actions that the patient cannot do themselves and have empathy to adapt one’s requirements to the treatment process.
However, Henderson’s theory has many white spots in practical nursing activities. The theory cannot determine the role of the nurse when it concerns the influence of the views and the vital values ??of the patient on the basic principles of the theory. In fact, this is a significant disadvantage because Henderson’s theory does not have clear boundaries for implementation and interaction with the patient. The scholar sees the nursing practitioner as a subject that complements the patient, but one cannot safely note the completeness of Henderson’s presentation of care for mentally ill or those suffering from chronic relapses (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015, p. 446). For example, I helped people who suffered from aphasia during social practice. The problem is that Henderson does not mention how to build communication with such patients who have relative independence, when the nursing practitioner does not have the opportunity to understand the cultural and mental background of the patient due to problems with the speech device. In such cases, treatment is grounded on speech therapy correction; however, the nurse cannot help in this case because they are not proficient in those logopedic approaches that a speech therapist can apply.
A second example would be the lack of theoretical basis for working with mentally ill people. The key postulate of the theory is to gain independence and autonomy, whereas the negative scenario is the death of the patient. Henderson’s theory does not pay much attention to patients with severe chronic diseases, when they can resume their activities and gain relative autonomy after therapy (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015, p. 446). Thus, it is crucial for Henderson’s theory to take into consideration such patients; however, the sole goal of nursing care should not be to gain autonomy. The disease will return, and the patient will need to undergo the same procedures again. Evidently, this limits the nurse’s activities and completely distorts the treatment process as well as its purpose. It can be noted that a nursing practitioner may not perform all functions such as recreation and entertainment that can be performed by another specialist since this will distract the therapist from the main activity.
Hendersons theory serves as an excellent guideline to understanding the patient as well as their key needs. This theory can be applied in nursing practice due to its focus on satisfying the patient as well as their recovery. In addition, it serves as an excellent basis for training, as it designates the ethical framework of nursing intervention. Henderson identified the main needs of the patient not only from the physical but also emotional perspectives, which greatly broadens the understanding of nursing profession. I learned that a nursing practitioner should ensure the balance between external and internal environment of the patient, while providing care to meet their basic needs and emotional support. Moreover, the theory taught me that the main goal of the treatment is the patient’s independence and satisfaction. This theory broadens the understanding of nursing profession so that it should be the first brick that should be embedded in the system of ethical and practical nurse education due to its integrity.
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