By broadening students’ perspectives on the meaning and predictive power of theory in healthcare, the course has assisted me in refining the understandings of theory and its implications for mental health nursing (MHN). From my viewpoint, theory is an innovative structuring of care-related ideas and phenomena that offers a set of accurately expressed principles and propositions having implications for practice. To some authors, theory development is also a peculiar form of practice, which I find accurate (Goodson, 2017). In this sense, theories in nursing, including MHN, serve as interdependent or independent bodies of knowledge that guide emerging professionals by anatomizing the concept of disease and explaining the essence and mechanisms of patient care and the ethical underpinnings of nurses’ actions. In MHN contexts, the insufficiency of theoretical education is among students’ common concerns, implying relevant theories’ enormous power in promoting behavioral evaluation and intervention planning (Günüşen et al., 2017). Specialized MHN theories are not numerous, so I believe any theory that sheds light on the human psyche, family dynamics, individuals’ social networks, or the biology of mental disease to be capable of informing high-quality nursing care.
My philosophy of practice initially relied on the nurse’s responsibility to provide patient-centered care and encourage behavioral modifications conducive to clients’ holistic well-being, and the course has further crystallized this position while also adding the professional’s role in educating and adapting health-related information to the client’s individual limits of comprehension. The existing variety of learning theories, including cognitive, behaviorist, psychodynamic, and humanistic ones, motivates advanced practitioners to recognize diverse perspectives to knowledge generation and implement them as necessary (Braungart & Braungart, 2017). An improved understanding of knowledge generation and its connections to patients’ self-care and self-education activities encourage me to regard patient teaching as a form of change-inducing care with a long-term orientation. In my updated philosophy statement, I would explain the nurse’s ultimate role in society as caring for those affected by challenging circumstances and spreading knowledge that would maximize patients’ self-care potential as their barriers to health ameliorate.
Theory’s applicability to practice could demonstrate its value for the nursing field, and informatics and health IT can support efforts to unveil theories’ practical potential. One possible way of instrumentalizing informatics/IT to promote theory-guided practice is by introducing a culture of theory-informed nursing notes in EHR/EMR systems. In a literature review study, Hardiker et al. (2019) suggest that nursing records’ reinterpretation for electronic contexts might benefit from the normalization of intervention and observation statements derived from both theory and practice rather than only the latter. Aside from supporting nurses’ theory-related literacy, this approach could promote immediate assessments of theoretical predictions’ accuracy. Another option is exploring the advent of health IT to develop smart applications that would benefit healthcare consumers’ health-related awareness and literacy, thus promoting more responsible attitudes to one’s holistic well-being. Specifically, accessible applications for heart failure patients are developed to strengthen the application of self-care emphasizing theories (Foster, 2018). Considering this, IT tools’ potential in making theory tied to practice is substantial.
Braungart, M. M., & Braungart, R. G. (2017). Educational and learning theories. In J. B. Butts & K. L. Rich (Eds.), Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice (3rd ed.) (pp. 195-232). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Foster, M. (2018). A mobile application for patients with heart failure: Theory-and evidence-based design and testing. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 36(11), 540-549. Web.
Goodson, P. (2017). Theory as practice. In J. B. Butts & K. L. Rich (Eds.), Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice (3rd ed.) (pp. 71-85). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Günüşen, N. P., Duman, Z. Ç., İnan, F. Ş., İnce, S. Ç., Sari, A., & Aksoy, B. (2017). Exploration of the factors affecting the choices of nursing students who choose psychiatric nursing as the first and last choice. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 38(10), 837-844.
Hardiker, N. R., Dowding, D., Dykes, P. C., & Sermeus, W. (2019). Reinterpreting the nursing record for an electronic context. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 127, 120-126.