Nursing theories serve as the foundation of nursing practice which all practitioners regularly follow. Through these theories, a wealth of knowledge can be acquired, information is passed on to new generation of nurses and it is continuously developed.
A recent project, called The Baby Friendly Initiative, is just one method brought about to examine the policies and procedures within the hospital setting that affect breastfeeding. Hospitals are encouraged to engage in this initiative due to its positive impact in the health of both mother and child. Through this initiative, the theory of Nightingale and Callista Roy can be correlated, thus proving that nursing theories from the past are still relevant today. In today’s modern times, there is a growing trend in the health care system wherein business concepts are emphasized and the individuality of the client is at times, neglected. It is evident that there is an immense requirement within the health care profession to provide holistic care to all clients, regardless of their race, color or religion. Indeed, Florence Nightingale’s theory called for a holistic approach and is reiterated by Callista Roy.
Florence Nightingale was known for her Environmental theory which emphasized the interrelationship between health, man and the environment. Nightingale also emphasized the importance of health education and described it as an essential role of the nurse. Nurses are often looked upon by the patient as a figure of authority and a source of valued information, thus they are considered as leaders. Nurses often require leadership skills in order to maintain their varied responsibilities in the provision of health. Through the Baby Friendly Initiative, it can be observed that leadership skills can be utilized through self-awareness and by influencing others to improve patient care. According to Cook (2001), leadership pertains to attitude and not on mere skill or knowledge. It is employing a long-term vision for everyone in the organization for their benefits. Leadership can be exhibited through role modeling, facilitating collaboration between colleagues and members of the multi-disciplinary team, being a health educator, the provision of evidence-based interventions and simply advocating for the patients. As patients learn more about their condition, they are able to prevent worsening of symptoms and complications from arising.
Meanwhile, another nursing theory that is evident in the Baby Friendly Initiative is the Adaptation theory which was created by Sister Callista Roy. According to Roy’s theory, individuals are continuously adapting and interacting with their environment (Roy & Adrews 1999). This theory focuses on empowering patients to deal with their current health issues by utilizing their own skills and knowledge. The relevance of this theory lies on the fact that it calls for nurses to view patients holistically, by considering physical, emotional, spiritual and psychological aspects of man. In addition, this theory calls for assessing the relationship of the patient to the society at large to ensure that individuals adapt, whatever their current health status is.
Whether it be the provision of health education or assisting the client to adapt to his current health condition, interpersonal communication remains as one of the most essential aspects in nursing. In communicating with patients, it is important to provide clear and accurate information to avoid misunderstandings. It is also essential to constantly keep them up-to-date with their current status, plan of care and other pertinent findings. In addition, nurses must make caring for people their primary concern. Nurses must always advocate for the patients under their care and ensure that the rights of patients are protected. Nurses need to engage in an open and honest relationship with clients. Clients should always be involved in their care and should be aware of the people who comprise the health care team.
Attwell, A. (1998) Florence Nightingale’s relevance to nurses. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 16:2, pp. 281-291
Roy, C. (1980). The Roy adaptation model. In J. P. Riehl & C. Roy (Eds.), Conceptual models for nursing practice (2nd ed. pp.179-188). New York: Appleton-Century-Croft.
Roy, C. (1997). Future of the Roy model: Challenge to redefine adaptation. Nursing Science Quarterly, 10, 42-48.
Roy, C., & Andrews, H. (1999). The Roy adaptation model. Stamford: Appleton and Lange.