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Nursing Theory-Guided Practice: What It Is and What It Is Not

Nursing Science Quarterly , Volume 7 (4): 144 – Oct 1, 1994


Sage Publications
Copyright © 1994 by SAGE Publications
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Nursing Theory-Guided Practice: What It Is and What It Is Not


Nursing Theory-Guided Practice: What It Is and What It Is Not William K. Cody, RN; PhD* The full realization of nursing theory-guided practice is perhaps the greatest challenge that nursing as a scholarly discipline has ever faced. There may be multiple theories guiding practice within the discipline, but it is imperative that these be nursing theories. There is not space here to explicate the many benefits to humanity that emanate from true nursing theory-guided practice. Rather it is the intention of this column to elucidate the proposition that it is essential to the advancement of nursing science and the future of the discipline to seek greater clarity as to what constitutes nursing theory-guided practice. This phrase is often heard in the halls and classrooms of schools of nursing, but not everyone using the term "nursing theory" means the same thing. Sometimes the term "theory" is used in nursing to refer to any knowledge that is useful in general health care or the care of a particular population - as in the content of most undergraduate courses, for example. For many nurses, including some advanced practition- ers and faculty, all of this knowledge may be called "nursing theory." For
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