Theoretical Approaches to Nursing Practice

Topic: Nursing
Words: 611 Pages: 2

Nursing practice is a broad section of health care delivery built on ethics, caring, and giving back without return. Various theories are applied to approaches in this practice, among which Jean Watson and Leininger’s Cultural Care Theory stands out. They intertwine together and create a unified idea of how care should be organized. One theory points to care as a central tenet; the other suggests looking at cultural differences to best heal the individual. Together, the theories develop the idea that while individualized care is necessary, generally accepted principles of comfort and conditions for healing should be adhered to.

Jean Watson’s theory emphasizes the importance of caring in promoting health and well-being as well as in preventing disease in the theory of nursing. It is important for the nurse practitioner to provide care with an interpersonal approach, not just to give help (Wei & Watson, 2018). Helping processes – caring processes – should be based on ten therapeutic factors. These factors include acceptance, inspiration, trust, nurturing, forgiveness, deepening, balance, co-creation, and discovery. Together, these factors improve nurse-patient communication and the development of a trusting approach among all staff. Caring is a leading factor that nurse practitioner should rely on when conducting their activities.

Leininger’s Cultural Care Theory relied on caring, which is similar to Watson’s approach. However, Leininger relied more on the inherent culture in each person who asks for help (McFarland & Wehbe-Alamah, 2019). She pointed out that only a collaborative treatment strategy would produce results between the patient and the nurse. Furthermore, without working together, it is impossible to heal the patient thoroughly. The nurse practitioner should be able to understand physiological, social and psychological health needs. Therefore, Leininger proposes to combine the notion of care and culture to create a transcultural nursing approach that enables the development of a culturally specific and individualized environment for each person.

Both theories complement each other for several reasons, the most important of which is the focus on care as the main criterion of care. Watson points to the need for interpersonal communication, and Leininger confirms this through transcultural theory (Wei & Watson, 2018). Nurse practitioners can provide primary care without a doctor, and it is crucial to orient oneself and see the path of interpersonal communication. Understanding and early recovery can be achieved through consideration of the individual’s personality traits. In addition, both theories focus on the individual’s worldview, which determines their behavior and that of the nurse. The nurse practitioner needs to demonstrate her skill as she will be accompanying patients in the future: her beliefs should allow for change on the part of the patient. Leininger sees this concept as to how one looks at life, while Watson adds that it is also a way of knowing one’s own physical and mental body (McFarland & Wehbe-Alamah, 2019). Watson’s theory suggests that human observation is a phenomenon of behaviorism. Leininger supplements this by pointing to culture as one of the human formative concepts.

Cultural diversity is about communicating with different people and finding ways to be together. Based on this, Watson’s theory is combined with Leininger’s, as both nurses do not need communication to organize the best quality of care (Wei & Watson, 2018). However, listening, understanding, and being able to advise are a big part of the nurse’s job, for which understanding the principles of care and cultural differentiation is very important. Leininger continues Watson’s idea by exposing the need for creativity and a balance between caring, helping, and personal attitudes (McFarland & Wehbe-Alamah, 2019). The nurse practitioner is responsible for how patients recover, and understanding the connections between living organisms is a combination of Watson and Leininger’s theories.


McFarland, M. R., & Wehbe-Alamah, H. B. (2019). Leininger’s theory of culture care diversity and universality: An overview with a historical retrospective and a view toward the future. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 30(6), 540–557. Web.

Wei, H., & Watson, J. (2018). Healthcare interprofessional team members’ perspectives on human caring: A directed content analysis study. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 6(1), 17–23. Web.

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