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Demystifying Nursing Theory

A Christian Nursing Perspective

Schaffer, Marjorie A.; Sandau, Kristin; Missal, Bernita

doi: 10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000375
Feature: practice/education

ABSTRACT: How does nursing theory apply to nursing practice? Nursing theory can explain the why and how of nursing practice, guide nursing interventions, and provide a framework for measuring outcomes. This article briefly explains nursing theory, provides examples for applying theory to nursing practice, and proposes questions for examining the consistency of nursing theories with Christian perspectives. A helpful table illustrating grand, middle-range, and situation-specific theories and their application to nursing practice and research, along with references, is provided online as supplemental digital content. Three caring theories are analyzed from biblical beliefs.

Marjorie Schaffer, PhD, RN, is professor emerita from Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota, where she taught evidence-based practice and public health nursing for 31 years.

Kristin E. Sandau, PhD, RN, is a professor at Bethel University. She teaches research and acute care, and researches quality of life and ECG monitoring.

Bernita Missal, PhD, RN, is a professor at Bethel University. She teaches research and cultural diversity in healthcare. Her current research focuses on healthcare for Somali childbearing women.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Accepted by peer-review 2/29/2016.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of the article at

© 2017 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship