Historical Perspective Essay Nursing theories guide nursing research, they have been long used and intergraded as part as the nursing profession. The nursing profession, past, present, and future will incorporate research. The way nurses implement nursing care is guided by research. Hospitals implement policies incorporated by nursing theories and research. Many theorists contributed to the practice known as professional nursing. The first professional nurse or noted theorist was Florence Nightingale. She continues to guide research and inspire other theorists. Modern nursing remains to be on the top 10 trusted profession, when it used to be regarded as ignorant and uneducated. Florence Nightingale opened the doors for future researchers and theorists to shape professional nursing. Florence Nightingale, “the mother of modern nursing” after returning from the frontlines of the Crimean war in 1856, improved the mortality rate by attending the environment (George, 2011, chap. 3). Coming from an influential family and highly educated background, Florence Nightingale used her educated knowledge and collected data from the Crimean War. In 1859, Notes on Nursing was published. It was intended to give hints on nursing, but it became a manual for professional nursing. It emphasized the organization of the environment and the patient (George, 2011). Notes on Nursing brought many concepts to nursing, which include ventilation, warming, hand washing, bed cleanliness, lighting, and noise. Her belief was, “It is the will of the nurse to alter the environment in such a way to obey natural laws, thereby providing the environment in which perfection may be achieved (Selanders, 2010, “p.”83). Nightingale did not specifically write in terms of the paradigm of nursing; however, she addressed many of its components (Selanders, 2010). Environment could be altered to improve conditions so that natural laws could allow healing. An environmental model was created to view the manipulations of physical environment as major components of care (George, 2011).Persons are perceived as the patients of nursing (Selanders, 2010). She perceived people as multidimensional, being compared of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual components (Selanders, 2010).Health is viewed as the best ultimate health at any given point in time. One must maximize optimal potential to be in a healthy state (Selanders, 2010). Nursing is the place that the patient is in the best condition for nature to act (Selanders, 2010).
Nightingale’s models continue to guide practice and give a pictorial view of how nursing care is planned and rendered (Selanders, 2011). Nurses continue to practice nursing without realizing that their action and goals are based on Nightingale’s principles (Selanders, 2010). The principle of environmental manipulation serves as a framework for many research studies. In 1985 Dennis and Prescott identified the continuing utility of the Nightingale Model as an example of a qualitative study (Selanders, 2010). Studies that have incorporated Nightingale’s environmental manipulation include practice settings in Labor and Delivery and in the treatment of insomnia (Selanders, 2010).
Nursing theories like Nightingale’s Environmental Model and Notes on Nursing will continue to guide research and guide nursing to professional modern nursing. Human beings are living longer thanks to research and theorists. With an ever-changing environment, nurses will continue to conduct research and manipulate the environment to meet the needs of the patients. New theories and research will continue to use Nightingales Environmental Model to use as a framework in support of new interventions.
References George, J. (2011). In Nursing Theory: the base for professional nursing Practice (6th Ed). Boston: Pearson Education. Selanders, L. (2010). The power of environmental adaptation. Florence nightingale’s original theory for nursing practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 28, 81-87.
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