The Importance of Nursing Theory in Advanced Practice Nurses

The Importance of Nursing Theory in Advanced Practice Nurses

A nursing theory according to Lee (2013) is a set of definitions, propositions, concepts, and assumptions that are derived from nursing models or other subjects that assists nurses to predict, describe, explain and prescribe diseases. In nursing, there are many nursing theories that assist nurse when it comes to the practice of care. The pioneers of nursing, for example, Florence Nightingale, Nola Pender among others came up with these theories. According to Florence Nightingale, for example, nurses have an obligation to offer a safe and caring environment that supports the patient’s health (Lynch, 2015). This paper will explore Pender’s nursing theory that was invented in 1982. In this theory, Pender argued that the health promotion behaviors have a way of resulting in improved health. For example, a smoker who chooses to quit smoking and instead of smoking engages in an exercise to keep himself busy; his health is likely to change from bad to good or better. Quitting smoking and exercising are examples of health promotion behaviors that Nola Pender proposes. The main intent of this paper is to explore the health promotion theory by Nola Pender. The next part of the paper will examine the importance of nursing theories and review the health promotion model. The latter part of this paper will show how the health promotion model by Pender can be applied in the nursing practice to only assist nurses in learning the practice of care but also help the community at large.

Nola Pender health promotion theory was enacted to compliment counterparts of theory in nursing towards health protection. According to the theory, health is a positive dynamic state and not the absence of diseases. Pender argues that there are a couple of ways in which people can interact with the environment towards pursuing their health. Health promotion theory focuses on three main areas that include individual characteristics, behaviour specific cognitions and affect and the behaviour outcomes. As Pender notes, every person on the face of the earth has unique personal characteristics that affect their subsequent actions. When it comes to behaviour specific cognitions, there are a set of variables that result in motivational significance. The theory proposes that people should behave in a way that improves one’s health. Despite the fact that a person may be willing to adopt health-promoting behaviors, there are a couple of barriers to action that people face. Things that include personal struggle of certain behavior affect the implementation of behaviour. However, a person who learns about the perceived benefit is much willing to pursue the health promotion behaviour.

Importance of Nursing Theory

According to Smith & Parker (2015), nursing theories provide the nurse with guidance in many ways. Theories also enhance the nurse sense of belonging and identity when it comes to helping patients. In the healthcare society, the nursing theories can be used in showing the nurse their role and responsibility in this great career. This part explores the importance of nursing theories in general. When it comes to nursing education, the nursing theories should be highly incorporated. Through this incorporation, nurses learn the concepts of care, techniques, and strategies to use, diagnosing diseases and coming up with treatment plans among many other things. For example, through Pender’s nursing theory, nurses get to understand that health is not the absence of the diseases. In this case, nurses get to learn and use the said assumptions. For example, Pender argued that individuals seek to regulate their own behaviors. In this case, nurses learn their responsibility in promoting health. They also get to learn the patient’s responsibility in their health and how they can educate the patients towards the same.

Through the nursing theories, the nurses get in a position to identify the patient’s needs, enhance effective patient-nurse communication, effectively assess the condition of the patients and effectively design techniques to assist patients. According to Smith & Parker (2015), nurses can use theories to generate new knowledge concerning various issues. The nurse theoretical that are found in the theories have compressive ideas about nursing care. In this case, Smith & Parker (2015) argue that the theories are not only imperative in the discipline but also in the profession. Apart from helping the nurses when it comes to patient’s care and knows their identity, the nursing theories are also been used to teach the other healthcare professionals on the vital role of nurses.

From the above analysis, it is evident that the nursing theories are large contributing to nursing care and practice. Through many concepts that are taught in many of these theories, it becomes easy for the nurse to care for their patients effectively. However, nursing theories are also complex where many relationships connect various concepts. In some cases, these relationships do not connect to the ultimate end point of the nursing care. Nursing profession is also different from other professionals. For example, patient’s satisfaction rules the roost in that patients are the main focus. Other elements that are different include nursing ethics.

Health Promotion Model Summary

The health promotion theory was initially introduced in 1982. However, the theory was later revised in 1996 to incorporate more concepts. In her work, Pender argues that health is not the absence of diseases (Pender, Murdaugh & Parsons, 2006). The personal factors that affect an individual’s health include psychological, biological and socio-cultural factors. The three factors are imperative to one’s health. For example, the personal biological behaviors include one’s strength, age, and aerobic capacity among others. When it comes to the psychological factors, this includes self motivation, competence, and esteem among others. The last personal factor is the socio-cultural factor that involves race, ethnicity, and acculturation among others. When it comes to the race, for example, some illnesses are prevalent in one race compared to other races. All the above factors (socio-cultural, psychological and biological) affect one’s health in one way or another.

There are four metaparadigms that include person, health, and environment and nursing profession. When it comes to person, it evaluates the individual who is the primary focus of the model. In this case, the patient is the primary focus. The environment refers to the physical, interpersonal and economic status that the person lives in. Health involves the positive high level state. When it comes to nursing, this involves the role of nursing. In this model, the nursing role includes raising awareness related to the health promoting behaviors. Others include promotion of self efficacy, controlling of the environment with the main aim of supporting positive behaviour. The last activity includes managing change barriers.

Pender’s Theory Importance to Master Program

As a Family nurse practitioner Master Nurse Student, there are many ways in which this theory can shape my practice. With aims of interconnecting theory into practice, Family nurse practitioners always try to fix evidence based knowledge into practice. As Smith & Parker (2015) note in their work, as nurse advance in their education, they get to know how various theories shape into their lives not only as nurses but also as individuals. For someone to understand the theory behind actions, it is imperative for the nurse student to explore the in-depth knowledge of this theory. Through this theory, the family nurse practitioner master students will also understand the behaviors that promote health. On the other hand, they will know how to eliminate them that don’t. In addition, the students get to understand what Pender meant when she argued that health is not the absence of diseases.

Application of the theory in Nursing Practice

According to the author of this theory, its main aim is to assists nurses when it comes to an understanding the health behavioral factors that promote peoples lifestyle (Pender, Murdaugh and Parsons, 2006). When it comes to health promotion, I will use the theory to educate my patients and society about the health promotions behaviors that they should adopt. As a Family nurse practitioner, I will walk with my patients towards behavioral change that will positively contribute to health promotion. This theory views the family nurse practitioner as a professional who works towards family centered health promotion. In this case, the professionals should always view the health conditions as a changing variable that will allow them to interpret how environmental influences affect the client’s awareness. Through the use of this theory’s philosophy, family nurse practitioners will be in a position to shape the consumer characteristics that will result in an improved quality of life and functioning.

As a family nurse practitioner, I have regularly implemented Pender’s concepts of health promotion. I was working with a lung cancer patient a few months ago. Despite the patient being at the 3rd stage of the disease, he was a chain smoker. I used the Pender’s concepts on patient education and educated the client. After few months, the patient successfully quit smoking. In January, an overweight woman approached me because of her back pain issues. After interrogating her, I realized that her weight was the main issue. I educated the woman on the importance of exercise and good eating habits. The patient adapted my recommendations and currently, her weight has significantly reduced and back pains seized.

Many people have commented on the use of the health promotion when it comes to patient education and the promotion of the health behaviors. According to sentiments that were offered by Bredow and Peterson in 2009, Pender theory has to a larger extent changed the nursing purpose from disease prevention to health promotion. Wu and Pender (2002) argue that when it comes to education and health promotion, the health promotion theory uses diagnosis, interventions and assessment that are reliable.


Nursing theories are imperative when it comes to nursing care. When it comes to Pender’s theory of health promotions, it has largely contributed to the nursing career. Through this theory, nurses are in a position to describe, analyze and assist patients. In addition, the nurse can use this theory with aims of trying to understand the patient’s specific needs and nurture patient-nurse communication. Unlike other nursing theories that identify nurses with their tasks, Pender’s encourages the nurse to identify themselves with what they know. Because of these unique elements, nurses are in a position to see themselves beyond the immediate task that they are given to undertake. In this case, the nurses largely focus on acquiring vast knowledge that helps them in dealing with future nursing challenges. Through this vast knowledge, nurses are in a position to offer the very best service to their patients. Pender proposes the changes of the risky behaviors to behaviors that promote health. In one of her assumptions, Pender believes that the services that the nurses give to the patients are for a lifetime. However, this assumption is research-based and it is not applicable. Despite this one assumption that is not research based, the theory has a greater role in the nursing career. From this assignment, I got to learn that nurse plays a great role in the society and with the information that they offer to the patients, the patient’s lives may be changed for good. Therefore, I believe that it is important for the nurse to study these theories earlier in advance to gain acquire information that assists in effective helping patients.


Lee, S. W. (2013). Overview of Nursing Theory, Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences. 12(5), 58-7.

Lynch, G. (2015). Florence Nightingale’s philosophy of nursing. Maltham, Massachusetts : Brandeis University Press.

Pender, N. J., Murdaugh, C. L., & Parsons, M. A. (2006). Health promotion in nursing practice.

Peterson, S. J., & Bredow, T.S. (2009). Middle range theories: Application to nursing research (2nded.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Smith, M. C., & Parker, M. E. (2015). Nursing theories & nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA : F.A. Davis Company.

Wu, T. Y., & Pender, N. (2002). Determinants of physical activity among Taiwanese adolescents: an application of the health promotion model. Research in nursing & health, 25(1), 25-36.

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