Nursing and Non-Nursing Theories

In the context of modern nursing, nurses use nursing theories to extend the discipline and the science of nursing. The nursing theories help nurses approach health through a wide array of lenses such as science of caring, cultural safety, self-care, interpersonal relationships, and goal attainment among others. Consequently, nurses are likely to use more than one nursing theory and even combine non-nursing theory to gain valuable and useable information. Consistently, we identify one nursing theory and one non-nursing theory and describe how two practitioners can bring the separate theories to provide meaningful patient care.

The Orem Theory of Self-Care and Kurt Lewin Theory of Change

Orem’s theory of self-care is defined as the act of helping individuals to manage their care and improve their human functioning at home level for improved health. The Orem theory of self care assumes that individuals should be self-reliant, know about potential health problems, and take responsibility of their care as a human ability conditioned by age, life experience, health, and available resources among others (Hagran & Fakharany, 2015). It views nursing as a form of action or an interaction between two or more people and development of self-care as an important component of primary care provision and prevention of ill health. On the other hand, the theory of change by Lewin believes that change is constant and a necessary process to continually renew an organization’s or individual’s direction or capabilities to fit the ever changing environment (Hussain, Lei, Akram, 2016). People grow and change throughout their lives and the change is evident in the dynamic nature of basic human needs. The theory is divided in three stages, the unfreeze stage, transition stage, and the freezing stage.

In a clinical setup, an advanced practice nurse and a nutritionist can bring the separate theory to provide meaningful patient care. Precisely, through the theory of self-care, the advanced practice nurse will focus on making a diabetic patient responsible of their diet to improve their overall health status, accomplished through the change theory. The APRN will call a nutritionist to provide education. In elaborate, the patient is at first not sure what they can eat or not (unfreeze stage), then when the nutritionist provides education, the patient becomes excited about their new diet (transition stage). Lastly, the patient admits that she no longer misses her unhealthy diet anymore and is comfortable with the health diet (freezing stage).

When caring for patients, nurses use theories as a great resource. Non-nursing theories are relevant in today’s nursing practice and combining them with nursing theory play a critically significant role to impart patient care.


Hagran, A. & Fakharany, E. (2015). Critique of Orem’s Theory. Journal of Middle East North African Sciences, 1(5), 12-17.

Hussain, S. T., Lei, S., Akram, T., Haider, M. J., Hussain, S. H., & Ali, M. (2016). Kurt Lewin’s change model: A critical review of the role of leadership and employee involvement in organizational change. Journal of Innovation & Knowledge, 26, 1-7.

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