- Introduction to the paper includes a few general statements on the idea of nursing theory being applied to solve problems/issues in nursing practice, regardless of the specialty area of practice. For example, why would one pick a nursing theory to solve a practice problem? Would a grand, middle-range, or practice theory be best? Does the writer have any experience in using nursing theory this way? In addition,a brief one-paragraph summary of aspecific nursing theory and information on the sections of the paper are provided. The selected nursing theory can be a grand theory, a middle-range theory, or a practice theory.
- Description of the problem/issue for which strategies will be developed. The problem to be resolved must be in nursing leadership, nursing education, nursing informatics, or health policy. Scholarly evidence supporting the issue is included. The problem/issue could be local to one’s specific practice setting. For example, the setting might be a nursing unit, a nursing-education program, an informatics department, or a health-policy unit of a consulting firm. The problem/issue needs to be something that a nursing theory can impact, whether it solves the actual problem/issue or enables people affected by the problem/issue to deal with it. It is best if the problem/issue is from real life – something the writer of the paper has dealt with or is currently engaged in.
Some examples (these are fictitious examples)
- A nursing unit has experienced rapid turnover of professional staff, including several nurse managers. A new nurse manager from outside of the nursing unit is appointed.
- Informatics nurse specialists face a lot of resistance from all healthcare professionals to implementation of a computer-based order entry program. The implementation date will not be changed.
- A nurse educator is assigned to take over a large class of undergraduate nursing students, with a mix of young adults and adults returning for a second degree. The subject is difficult, students have not been doing well, and frustration and tempers are impeding group work.
- A health-policy nurse specialist works for a consulting firm that lobbies on behalf of many healthcare professions. Within the specialist’s work unit, there is much debate over the pros and cons of various policies being proposed for attention in the coming year.
- Applying concepts and principles from the selected theory, one strategy for resolving the identified issueis described in depth. Details on how the theory would be applied are included (consider: who, what, when, where, and how). Rationales for the strategy as well as evidence from scholarly literature are included. One ethical and/or legal aspect of the strategy is discussed. Expected outcome(s) from implementing the strategy are proposed.
- Concluding statements include new knowledge about applying nursing theory gained by writing the paper