Nursing Theory from the View of a Mirror, Microscope and Telescope
The objective of this work is to examine perspective of nursing theory from the view of a mirror, a microscope, and a telescope.
Theories are described as "a set of interrelated concepts that give a systematic view of a phenomenon that is explanatory and predictive in nature." (Nursing Theories, 2010) Theories are stated to be composed of "concepts, definitions, models, propositions and are based on assumptions." (Nursing Theories, 2010) Theories furthermore enable the individual to "organize the relationship among the concept to describe, explain, predict and control practice." (Nursing Theories, 2010) Concepts are the "vehicles of thoughts that involve images" and as well as "words that describe objects, properties or events and are basic components of theory. There are three types of concepts: (1) empirical concepts; (2) inferential concepts; and (3) abstract concepts. (Nursing Theories, 2010) Various nursing theories have been advanced over the years beginning with Florence Nightingale who wish to bring the nurse profession into professional standing. These theories have evolved and experienced growth and expansion and have served to make meaning for those in the nursing profession concerning their patients and their work in health care provision. As the concepts within theories are empirical, inferential and abstract, these can be compared to the view of nursing as seen through a mirror, as seen through a microscope and as seen through a telescope by the nursing professional.
I. Nursing Theory Viewed as a Mirror
Kim (2000) states in the work entitled "The Nature of Theoretical Thinking in Nursing" that a scientific field "goes through stages of boundary redefinitions that are based partly on the kinds of major phenomena or subject matter it deals with,, energy and matter in physics, in the scientific fields in general." Kim states that this idea "agrees with Shapere's position (1977) regarding formation and reformation of a scientific domain as constituting a unified subject matter. Well-established associations between phenomena in a scientific field are exposed to scientific scrutiny by a variety of methodologies and from entirely different perspectives." (Kim, 2000) It is stated that the criteria for deciding boundaries of fields "may also be considered superfluous or ambiguous." Therefore, subject matter may be redefined or reclassified in different fields, especially with the emergence of new scientific fields." (Kim, 2000) The reflective nursing practice is stated in the work of Johns (2004a) as follows:
"Reflection is being mindful of self, either within or after an experience as if a window through which the practitioner can view and focus self within the context of a particular experience, in order to confront, understand, and move toward resolving contradiction between one's vision and actual practice. Through the conflict of contradiction, the commitment to realize one's vision and understanding why things are as they are, the practitioner can gain new insights into self and be empowered to respond more congruently in future situations within a reflexive spiral towards developing practical wisdom and realizing one's vision as a lived reality."
This description holds reflection or the reflective practice as being "both subjective and particular. It is a fusion of sensing, perceiving, intuiting, and thinking related to a specific experience in order to develop insights into self and practice." (Johns and Freshwater, 2005)
II. Inductive and Deductive Approaches in the Nursing Practice
Kim (2000) reports that 'Micro-theory' is a term that scientists use in reference to a "set of theoretical statements, usually hypotheses, that deal with narrowly defined phenomena" and states that there is a "great deal of debate as to whether this should be called a 'theory' as such a theory by itself tends to be rather limited in its explanatory power and is composed of mere postulations of hypothetical thinking. The difference among these levels of theory is not only in the level of abstraction with which concepts are delineated but also in the range of explanation the theory is trying to attain." (Kim, 2000) Theory development can be pursued, according to Kim (2000) through two approaches: (1) inductive; and (2) deductive. The inductive approach "refers to developing or constructing theories beginning with empirical data or phenomena as they exist in actual situations." (Kim, 2000) There are regularities in the inductive approach that are both descriptive and explanatory and that exist in reality and those which are discovered as well as generalizations about the discovered regularities which are "formulated into theoretical statements." (Kim, 2000) The deductive approach, according to Kim is such that "begins with generalized ideas about phenomena" and which is based "on set of foundational notions about the nature of explanation and proceeds using a system of deductive logic to come up with a theory that moves from general ideas about phenomena to more specific theoretical relationships." (Kim, 2000)
The purposes of theory are stated to be multifaceted in that theory "is an intellectual took used to understand and explain the world in which we live. Theory provides a systematic basis for sorting out regularities from irregularities. By knowing what is happening and then finding out how something occurs we are able to move toward knowing the kinds of changes we must make for some things to occur." (Kim, 2000) As phenomena are within the ability of the human to predict, "both control and prescription become possible for us." (Kim, 2000)
Deductive reasoning is one in which "it is impossible for the premises to be true but the conclusion false. Thus, the conclusion follows necessarily from the premises and inferences. (Cline, 2010) This results in definitive proof of the claim." (Cline, 2010) An inductive argument is stated to be one "in which the premises are supposed to support the conclusion in such a way that if the premises are true, it is improbable that the conclusion would be false. Thus the conclusion follows 'probably' from the premises and inferences." (Cline, 2010) Allen Schwartz, Ph.D. states that inductive and deductive reasoning can be defined as follows:
(1) Inductive reasoning is thinking and problem solving based on solid empirical facts. These facts are concrete and can be observed.
(2) Deductive reasoning is thinking and problem solving that begins with a premise or theory and then, attempts to prove that theory true. This type of reasoning can start with assumptions and beliefs. (Schwartz, 2011)
Inductive reasoning then can be viewed as the type of reasoning gained from the view of a microscope which is observable and concrete information which the nurse practitioner applies to their practice. Deductive reasoning can be viewed from the view of a telescope in which the thinking and problem solving beings with a theory which can be assumed to be true due to the outcomes in which the conclusion is the only reasonable conclusion to be made.
Masters (2011) writes in the work entitled "Role Development in Professional Nursing Practice" that critical thinking in nursing rests on decision making in nursing practice. Judgment in nursing requires selection and organization of data to support conclusions." Additional critical thinking functions of nursing include the following:
Use of the processes of critical thinking in all daily life;
Discrimination among the uses and misuses of language in nursing;
Identification and formulation of nursing problems;
Analysis of the meanings of terms in relationship to their indication, their cause or purpose and their significance.
Analysis of arguments and issues into premises and conclusions;
Examination of nursing assumptions;
Reporting of data and clues accurately.
Making and checking inferences based on data, making sure that inferences are at least plausible;
Formulation and clarification of beliefs;
Verification, corroboration and justification of claims, beliefs, conclusions, decisions and actions;
Giving relevant reason for beliefs and conclusions;
Formulation and clarification of value judgments;
Seeking reasons, criteria and principles; and Evaluation of the soundness of conclusions. (Masters, 2011)
Education of the nursing professional provides the nurse with the…