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The Difference Between a Nursing Conceptual Model and a Nursing Theory



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    A conceptual model is a theoretical framework that provides an organized structure, related ideas, design, and concepts in research while a theory is a foundation for basis of action that describe a phenomenon (Grand Canyon University, 2018). A nursing conceptual model gives direction and an orderly way to research in a nursing field. On the other hand, a nursing theory describes a particular nursing phenomenon used in the nursing field to offer strategies and approaches in patient care (Grand Canyon University, 2018). One of the nursing theories is the Virginia Henderson’s need theory that focuses on the role of the nurse in assisting a patient to recover his/her health by addressing the specific needs of the patient. Nurses should focus on each patient as patients may have different needs that should be catered for to ensure that a patient regains his/her well-being (Butts &amp Rich, 2018).

    These needs include physiological needs such as behavioral patterns that can be addressed through counseling spiritual needs that can be addressed by sharing scripture and praying with the patient, and social needs where a nurse can incorporate the patient in recreational activities (Butts &amp Rich, 2018). This theory would be effective in managing a patient with post-traumatic stress disorder by help him/her to recover after encountering a traumatic experience that may negatively affect their hope in life. Counseling sessions will meet their psychological needs by helping them accept that they no longer have power over what happened (Butts &amp Rich, 2018). However, they can positively face life, as there is still hope for a better tomorrow.

    When the nurse addresses the physiological needs of a patient, this can help the patient to recover back to their normal well-being. The nurse should also focus on other needs of the patient based on the underlying healthcare issue (Nilsen, 2015). This includes ensuring that the patient has a supportive surrounding environment as well as getting rid of unhealthy behaviors that may have been developed due to the stressing situation. Mental health patients have also spiritual needs that should also be addressed to strengthen their faith and hope for a better life regardless the current situation (Nilsen, 2015).


    • Butts, J. B., &amp Rich, K. L. (2018). Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice. Burlington, Massachusetts: Jones &amp Bartlett Learning
    • Grand Canyon University. (2018). Dynamics in nursing: Art and science of professional practice. Grand Canyon University.
    • Nilsen, P. (2015). Making sense of implementation theories, models, and frameworks. Implementation science: IS, 10, 53. doi:10.1186/s13012-015-0242-0″,”2020-08-04 14:02:03 “

    The Difference Between a Nursing Conceptual Model and a Nursing Theory. (2020, Aug 05). Retrieved from

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