The Metaparadigm of Nursing: Present Status and Future Refinements

4075 words 17 pages
The Metaparadigm of Nursing: Present Status and
Fut ure Refinement s
Jacqueline Fawcett, Ph.D.,


The central concepts and themes of t he
discipline of nursing are identified and formalized as nursing’s metaparadigm. Examples illustrate the direction provided by the
metaparadigm for theory development. Refinements of the metaparadigm through
conceptual models and programs of nursing research are proposed.


he discipline of nursing will advance only through continuous
and systematic development and testing of nursing knowledge. Several recent reviews of the status of nursing
theory development indicate that
nursing has n o established tradition of
scholarship. Reviewers have pointed
out that most work
…show more content…
and optimum function of human beings,
sick or well.
2. The patterning of human behavior in interaction with
the environment in normal life events and critical life

3. The process by which positive changes in health
status are elfected.
(Donaldson& Crowley, 1978, p. 113; Gortner, 1980, p.

The four central concepts and three
recurring themes identify the phenomena central to the discipline of nursing
in an abstract, global manner. They
represent the metaparadigm. As such,
they have provided some direction for
nursing theory development. As Newman (1983) explained:
It i s within the context of these four major
components and their interrelationships
that theory development in nursing has
proceeded. Theoretical differences relate
to the emphasis placed on one or more of
the components and to the way in which
their relationships are viewed. (p. 388)

The relationship between the concepts “person” and “health” i s considered in the first theme. Theories addressing this theme describe, explain,
or predict individuals‘ behavior during
periods of wellness and illness. Newman’s (1979) theory of health i s one
example. This theory includes the
concepts of movement, time, space,
and consciousness. Newman proposes that “the expansion of consciousness i s what life, and therefore health,
i s a ll about” (p. 66).
Another example i s Orem’s (1980)
theory of self-care, which maintains
that “self-care and care of dependent


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