Nursing Practice

Role of Theory in guiding Nursing Practice – Betty Neumans system model Every person in this world has the capacity to learn. Apart from the genetically and hereditary transmitted knowledge every individual, knowingly or unknowingly learns from every encounter he/she has with the world. Gradually with the passage of years, learning whether visual or verbal, gets accumulated as a reservoir of data called experience. This experience can help people achieve amazing things, if it is out to proper use. Scientists across the world use their experience of various studies that they have conducted, to achieve breakthroughs in their further work.

This tells us, what amazing power experience has, if put through proper use. This reservoir of knowledge and experience can be of greater use if it ultimately starts helping a large number of people besides your close ones. To assist, guide and lead anybody towards a solution, a better outcome is saintly. History of mankind never forgets and will continue so, for all those individuals who learnt and transmitted goodness to future generations, guiding their pursuits towards best. Every field, every branch of knowledge gets born as an infant according to Lord’s scheme of things.

After this comes the role of blessed and lucky individuals, who ultimately, with their hard work and experience are given the opportunity to do something great for humanity by expanding and helping this infant knowledge grow into a handsome young man. What a just ruler does for his kingdom, what a scientist contributes by his perennial, late night experiments are the real accolades which justifies a man to be crown of creation. To contribute, serve, render with full, honest, committed dedication is the honor of an honorable man; otherwise life cannot extract the best from us forcibly.

The guidelines, the theoretical knowledge, practical skills passed on from one generation to the next make up the initial steps in progress of any field of knowledge. These contributions along with passage of time lead that branch of knowledge towards progress with the end result of benefiting humanity. The contributing personnel along with the contribution whether a theory, a model, any practical venture or an entire encyclopedia needs to be treasured and never forgotten. Among the various professions in this world which are praise-worthy, nursing is one of them.

Nurses provide such an indispensable service, that they should be praised and rewarded whenever possible. Each nurse is most instrumental in his/her own individual task and equally complements the other members in sketching a positive and useful picture of their profession. The word nursing means, the practice or profession of caring for the sick as a nurse (The concise Oxford Dictionary). The person requiring care may be an invalid, any old person or even a family member. In this modern era, the standard of nursing has gone up a lot. However, the standard of nursing was not always like this.

Before nursing could reach the standard it is today, it had to trail a long passage of societal, personal and cultural influences and conceptions before finally coming into the shape it is today. Nursing practice has come into the form it is today due to different theories. Nursing was always considered as a vocation, during the days of the nursing theorist Florence Nightingale. However, when different theories presented were seen to be very useful in teaching new nurses, these were adopted in the curriculum of nursing (The University of Newcastle).

Nursing theories are very important for nurses. They must have an understanding of the different theories and how they apply to their profession. The nurses, who are just starting this profession, do not have all the knowledge required. In this case they rely on the research of previous professionals. These professionals have come up with the different theories, and their theories have been accepted because they have done research on it. Hence, nurses get a lot of guidance when they review these theories.

These theories have proven to be, among the best in guiding nursing practice and hence are still used these days for guiding nursing practice. The sanctity that this profession has been able to maintain would not have been possible, if it had not been for the tiring and endless efforts and work of some of the greatest nursing theorists. Of the many nursing theorists, Betty Newman was one of the best nursing theorists. Her work on the system theory had a huge role in shaping the nursing theories. In fact her theories are still being used to teach many new nurses about this profession. The history of nursing started long ago.

In fact nursing has been going on even before proper process of medical treatment even started (The university of Newcastle). People at that time needed nursing care and they require it now as well. The image of nursing as a profession in the eyes of the public was built when nurses helped people. Ever since then their contribution towards helping people in need has given them a high position in the eyes of the public. In the beginning, nursing began at home, with nurses caring for family members at home. The passage of nursing practice from home-based service towards a profession did cover multiple stages.

Cultural and social influences, personal, national and international perspectives played their relevant roles in defining nursing practice and setting its standards, boundaries and limitations. The concepts of team and group work, communication skills, work environment and ethics, professional sensitivities and the most valuable of all, problem based learning (PBL) and evidence based practice(EBP) gained entry into nursing practice over a patient span of many decades (The University of Newcastle). Nursing standards had always been an issue with people.

To set proper standards of nursing professionals without compromise on ethics and comfort level of any, many people dedicated their lives to setting these standards with changing times. They came up with various theories and ways to improve the standards and never compromised on anything. Over the past decades, many people have come up with many different theories and models. However, whether it is a theory or a model, the main aim stands out as the formulation of useful, knowledgeable basis which could aid as well as open the doors for future research and intuition.

But, what is the role of a theory? How does it help people in the future? Well, when a theorist presents a theory, he/she is actually presenting knowledgeable resources against which individuals can measure and gauge their performance level and activity standards. In fact, a theory serves as a guiding framework in which activity levels can be assessed to adjust well in proportion to their competency. Coming to nursing theories, one of the most known names is of the nursing theorist Betty Neuman. She came up with a model of nursing which is still used today.

Her model, known as the Systems model, not only revolutionarised nursing practice but formed a standard criterion for other health care providers as well. Betty Neuman, an author, educator, health consultant and presenter, through her theoretical model formulated a unifying approach in dealing with nurses’ concerns and client’s wellbeing simultaneously. She enumerated a number of client variables to be of paramount value. Also the environment subdivisions led her theory to present a new approach in handling client’s problems.

Finally role of nurses was outlined by her in clear-cut terms, ensuring client’s optimal wellness through a well planned system of primary, secondary and tertiary interventions (Neumann University ). Betty Neuman system model finds universal applicability and acceptance. Her aim was to formulate such comfortable guidelines for nursing practice which completely change the existing nursing formats. Her comprehensive model speaks of its excellence via its applicability in variety of healthcare setups since its inception (Neumann University ).

According to Betty Neumans system model, an individual is a system consisting of many inter linked components or client variables. These five variables are psychological, physiological, socio cultural, spiritual and developmental. These components react with each other in response to the environment. In other words, when the environment interacts with the client’s system as a whole, which has a basic structure, lines of resistance and lines of defense it causes these five components to react with each other (Patrick Heyman, 2000). According to the Betty Neuman model, the central core has the basic structure of the system.

Then is the next structure of the body, known as the flexible line of defense. When a stressor comes and attacks the system, in order to change the status-quo, this defense mechanism kicks in. This flexible defense line is actually protecting the normal line of defense. In other words if the flexible line is not able to protect the normal wellness of a person then the lines of resistance come in to do their job. If this line is able to perform its functions properly, then the system will go back to original mode and the person will recover.

However if it is not able to do so, and the stressor prove too hard to handle, this line of resistance will collapse. Once it collapses, it is all over. The client system will collapse and eventually death will overcome the system. Betty Neumans model lays a lot of stress in stressors. The system models looks at the effects of stressors on health and how they can change the status quo of the client system. Every person is affected by stressors at a point in their life. However, the effect of stressors on each individual is different.

The nature of reaction will depend upon the strength of the line of resistance and defense. According to Neumans model the primary nursing intervention is prevention. According to Betty Neumans model, before a system reacts to a stressor the primary prevention occurs, so as to strengthen the person to deal better with the stressors. Simultaneously it also interacts with the environment to reduce the initial impact of the stressors on the client system (Nursing Theories, 2010). Likewise the next step in intervention is secondary prevention. This prevention occurs after the system has reacted to a stressor.

The main aim of this step is to prevent the central core of Neuman’s model from being damaged. For this purpose the internal resistance is strengthened or the stressor is removed (Patrick Heyman, 2000) The last step is known as tertiary prevention. This prevention kicks in, when secondary prevention has done its work. The aim of this prevention is to add energy to the system or lose energy from the system (Nursing Theories, 2010). Similarly, Betty Neumans model also says that the client system will go closer to death, when more energy is needed that is available.

Similarly the system will move towards wellness when the opposite happens. Hence, we see that Betty Neumans model says that, since the nurse’s perception will influence the kind of care given hence perception of both patient and caregiver must be seen. Betty Newman system model exemplifies and satisfies the need of common language for the health sector globally. By presenting a thorough model genuine to every human’s need, Neuman satisfies the clients globally through its acceptance and margin for implementation.

Nursing education programmers increasingly are integrating nursing models into their curriculum. The Betty Neuman model gives a lot of insight into how to implement the model when teaching nursing students. In the clinical setting a model can facilitate the student’s nursing practice by assisting in the organization of observations and interpretation of data. The selection of Betty Neumans model for senior nursing courses by many schools shows the purpose of these schools, which is to ensure that proper nursing care is taught to the future nurses (Wiley Inter science).

Honest contributions never go wasted. It is indeed Prophetic to create a positive difference in someone’s life. Correcting the fallacies all by oneself and letting the others eat the fruit of one’s labors is divine labor. Evolution of nursing from home-based raw care to today’s globalized; definite system of nursing practice did cover a distance of many centuries. How sincere contributions by single individuals Betty Newman revered the contemporary nursing practice is quite evident now. A theory is a work of a committed and sincere mind endeavoring to solve problems afflicting fellow humans.

Today’s nursing practice owes its well developed and equally amiable set up to the brain exercises of many theorists and researchers. Betty Newman system model undoubtedly laid the strong foundations of modern day nursing practice. Development of an interacting client and care-giver’s system, defining roles, obligations and procedural delicacies for nursing practitioner’s are Betty Newman’s applaud able contributions to contemporary nursing practice. Betty Neumann’s Systems Model provides an excellent framework to understand the basic of delivering nursing care.

Placing the individual at the center of the environment, Neuman clearly shows the role that the person and his or her interaction with the environment can have on nursing care. Overall, Neumann’s system is very easy to use. Betty Neumann’s theory is flexible and can be applied in a number of situations. Moreover, since a person can refer to the individual, a group or a community, the theory has many different applications as well ( Master papers). Whether it is, the health sector or any other branch of knowledge, contributions by ancestors let the future generation’s experience, the finest state of affairs.

And all of this holds highly effective and valuable in a practical profession like nursing practice. It may be a theoretical model or some practical endeavor; any such effort earns benefit for entire humanity. In today’s global market the value of such heritage holds a higher status than ever. Betty Neuman is one such heritage for the modern world. The purpose of her system theory, or in other words the goal of her theory was that the client system should remain static and not be altered by outside stressors. When stressors come, they should be handled and then finally the system should go back to its original state.

For this purpose nurses should not only know about the stressors affecting the client system and how it should be taken care of. In fact they should have an idea of how it will affect them as well. Hence we see that Betty Nueman not only provided a model of nursing for those times, but actually she was the pioneer of nursing theories to come. Betty Neuman revolutionized the nursing theory. Her system model is so beautiful and perfect that it is still used in these modern times, even though many other theorists and theories have come after her. The system model theory of Betty Neuman and definitely be said to be the mother of all theories.

Nursing theories are used a lot in contemporary practice. The reason is that, these theories have been formed after proper research and hence are the best source of preparing to be a good nurse, armed with all the knowledge. Nursing theorists over the years used their knowledge, research to come up with theories. Some theories have been further researched upon and more theories, based on the same basic idea have been formed. Hence nursing theories are not classified as a whole, but are in fact used in nursing schools to teach future nurses about the best nursing practices.

Many theories are still being used today in nursing schools to give student guidance about the best nursing practices. This has been possible because nursing theories were made by people who were actually nurses; hence they had a better idea about the best way to practice nursing. Thus we see that, although many theories were formulated decades ago, yet they are still used in contemporary practice, because they are so good that they are here to stay and guide nursing practice for many more years to come.


Master papers. (n. d. ). Neuman’s Systems Model Research Papers. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from master paper website: http://www. papermasters. com/neumans_systems_model. html Neumann University . (n. d. ). Neuman Systems Model . Retrieved May 8, 2010, from Neumann University website: http://www. neumann. edu/academics/undergrad/nursing/model. asp Nursing Theories. (2010, Janurary 16). Betty Neumans System Model . Retrieved May 8, 2010, from Current nursing website: http://currentnursing. com/nursing_theory/Neuman. html

Patrick Heyman, S. W. (2000, April). Neumans system model- Key concepts. Retrieved May 8, 2010, from Patheymans website: http://www. patheyman. com/essays/neuman/concepts. htm The concise Oxford Dictionary. Clarendon Press. The university of Newcastle. (n. d. ). Foundations of Nursing-Module 2. Australia. The University of Newcastle. (n. d. ). Foundations of Nursing-Module4 . Australia. Wiley Inter science. (n. d. ). The Neuman Systems Model in nursing education: course development and implementation. Journal of Advanced Nursing .

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