From the Editor
NURSING THEORIES FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Nursing models, theories, and philosophic frameworks have now been emerging for more than 50 years. Over the years, nursing's theoretical and philosophic heritage has been discounted, even deleted from nursing curricula in favor of content deemed to be more essential. Several months ago, I heard a discussion at a conference that disparaged nursing theories as irrelevant, inadequate, and naive, with an admonition from the speaker to discard nursing theories altogether and replace them with theories from other disciplines. In response to this discussion, I coined the term “nursesogyny” to name an underlying disdain and discounting of nursing that is expressed in discussions such as this one and in actions everyday that discount the value of nursing. Of course, “nursesogyny is closely connected to misogyny in that the ideas and the achievements of nursing's theoretical past were put forth by women.
In academic discourse, a critical analysis of any and all ideas is welcomed as a means of refining, developing, and furthering the knowledge of the discipline. One would expect that such analysis would reveal shortcomings that need to be addressed—errors of logic, failure to incorporate significant insights, and inadequacies rooted in time and space. However, the expected outcome of such analysis is not to disparage or throw out the ideas but to recognize the foundational achievements of the past and revise, rebuild, even reconstruct ideas that move disciplinary knowledge forward. Many of the early constructions that are commonly (and loosely) referred to as “nursing theory” do have shortcomings when judged from the perspective of current understandings of theory. However, they remain vital building blocks of nursing's heritage. They provided a starting point and still represent a significant philosophic cornerstone upon which nursing rests and from which nursing practice arises.
My own favorite definition of “theory” is that theory is a vision—a mental construction of what could be in human experience. In nursing, these mental constructions provide a roadmap, a path to follow in shaping human experience toward wholeness and well-being. This issue of Advances in Nursing Science (ANS) includes current thinking in nursing that clarifies how and why nursing theories are essential to nursing practice, as well as articles that illustrate current theoretical developments in nursing. Most important, I believe this issue of ANS points in the direction of meaningful connections between theory, research, and practice.
This issue begins with a Guest Editorial by our new Associate Editor, Mona M. Shattell, PhD, RN, FAAN. Dr Shattell's clinical specialty is psychiatric and mental health nursing, and she received her PhD in nursing from the University of Tennessee Knoxville. She is the author of more than 95 journal articles and book chapters, and in her spare time she writes for the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mona-shattell/). In her editorial, Dr Shattell highlights features of her own scholarly work and points in the direction that she advocates for nursing knowledge development in the future.
Dr Shattell's Guest Editorial, and each of the articles appearing in this issue, will be featured on the ANS Blog (http://ansjournalblog.com). Follow the ANS Blog to receive regular updates about the journal and to see messages from ANS authors when their article is featured! You can comment and share your ideas directly on the blog—so let us hear from you!
—Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN