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Contemplating the Fit and Utility of Nursing Theory and Nursing Scholarship Informed by the Social Sciences and Humanities

McIntyre, Marjorie PhD, RN; McDonald, Carol PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/ANS.0b013e31828077bc
Original Articles

In this article, authors contend that a lack of familiarity with philosophical thinking undermines the ability of students and subsequently practicing nurses to theorize for themselves. Engagement with philosophical ideas propels nurses well beyond the unthinking “application” of extant theory, to theorizing, that is, using theoretical formulations to engage with the significant phenomena we encounter in the world of human health. The authors present a framework to guide philosophical interrogation of knowledge, with a focus on the utility of both disciplinary knowledge and knowledge from the social sciences and humanities.

School of Nursing, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Correspondence: Marjorie McIntyre, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2, Canada (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

The authors respectfully acknowledge the numerous students and colleagues who have both engaged in and resisted conversations of nursing theory and philosophy. All have contributed to our thinking and have provided the impetus for this article.

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.