We are delighted to welcome guest bloggers representing the Nursing Theory Collective
formed March 2019 Case Western Reserve
Nursing Theory Conference:
Chloe Littzen, Jane Hopkins Walsh and Jessica Dillard Wright
In March 2019, 130 nurses from all over the world gathered at Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing in Cleveland, Ohio for Nursing Theory: A 50 Year Perspective, Past, and Future, a landmark conference to celebrate the history of nursing theory and elicit discussion for the future of nursing. The attendees were diverse, comprised of seasoned nursing theorists and doctoral students in equal measure, participating in lively and thoughtful conversation across many domains. The future of nursing theory quickly emerged as a critical issue as nurses working at all levels of expertise expressed their concern over the loss of nursing theory at the institutional level, both academic and clinical. What is at stake in this erosion is discipline-specific nursing knowledge, in particular at this 50-year juncture as the great theorists of nursing like Drs. Peggy Chinn, Joyce Fitzpatrick, Pamela Reed, Callista Roy, Marlaine Smith, and many others approach the end of their illustrious careers. The question resonated, “who will carry the nursing theory torch forward?”
To advance the discipline of nursing, the next wave of nursing theorists and thought leaders must actively engage to advance nursing theory, improve nursing praxis, and articulate nursing’s identity leading our profession into the future. This is the rallying cry that led to the blog post you are reading today. In follow-up to this conference, doctoral student Chloe Littzen engaged other students who attended to embark on a collaborative effort to articulate our vision for the future of nursing theory. What follows is a brief discussion of our course so far, the background, plan, and desired outcomes for convening a nursing theory working group as we envision the next fifty years of nursing theory and beyond.
After the landmark conference concluded, a collaborative effort ensued to form a theory working group focused on promoting nursing theory and advancing nursing’s identity. This group is comprised of both scholars and students and is open to all nurses practicing in all settings. Our first meeting was held online via video-conferencing on May 18th, with a total of six participants from Arizona, Massachusetts, and West Virginia. This first meeting was an experimental think-tank where we considered ideas about the future of nursing and our professional identity. Below, we outline our mission and vision for this nursing theory working group.
The primary mission, as established by our working group, is to promote nursing theory and advance the identity of nursing through knowledge development for all nurses in all settings, including practice, education, research, and policy. As a group, we believe that nursing and nursing theory are dynamic and evolving to meet the needs of an increasingly complex healthcare landscape and global environment. In order to keep nursing theory and nursing relevant and current, thinking about theory must be on-going and iterative, with a continuous cycle of critique, testing, and scholarship. Failure to seriously engage these questions has dire consequences for nursing theory and the profession as nursing as it slowly cedes its identity to the economic pressures of the healthcare environment and the supremacy of biomedicine.
The following bullets summarize our discussion and desired outcomes from the first nursing theory workgroup meeting:
- Discussion Points:
- We need a plan to sustain and evolve nursing theory and nursing’s identity with discipline-specific knowledge.
- Nursing theory must be derived from and applicable to the practice environment, not just academia.
- The purpose of nursing theory must be clarified for nursing practice, education, research, and policy.
- Nurses in clinical practice must have an educational foundation grounded in nursing theory that empowers the application of theory in practice.
- Nursing students must be educated and mentored in nursing theory, beginning at the pre-licensure level.
- This discussion must include considerations of how nursing theory is taught in the academic environment and how that can be linked to and informed by nursing practice.
- The need for nursing theory is global, making this an international, even planetary problem.
- Desired Outcomes:
- To write a manuscript demystifying nursing theory for the nurse in the practice environment.
- Write a second manuscript demystifying nursing theory for the nurse educator in academia.
- Explore the potential of a future study identifying and describing the barriers and facilitators for using nursing theory in practice, education, research, and policy settings.
- Share the discussions, experiences, and findings with the community at Nursology.net.
IV. Invitation – Join us!
While we are a new workgroup, we welcome and encourage all nurses, both advanced scholars and novice theorists alike, to consider joining us in this journey in promoting nursing and nursing theory into the future. We currently meet monthly over Zoom video-conferencing. If you are interested, please contact form below to be placed on the email list for future meetings and content.
If you are planning to go to the 2019 Collaborative K.I.N.G. conference in Washington D.C. from November 14th-15th, we are planning an in-person meeting to take place. We hope to see you there as we drive nursing and nursing theory into the future. Join us!
With optimism and gratitude for the future,
Nursing Theory Collective
(Final group name pending vote at next meeting)
See more information on the King Conference here.
See more information on the landmark theory conference at Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne School of Nursing here.