The Metaparadigm of Nursing: Present Status and Future Refinements

4083 words 17 pages
The Metaparadigm of Nursing: Present Status and
Fut ure Refinement s
Jacqueline Fawcett, Ph.D.,

F.A.A.N.

Abstract
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.

T

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
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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 situations. 3. The process by which positive changes in health status are elfected.
(Donaldson& Crowley, 1978, p. 113; Gortner, 1980, p.
180)

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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