Florence Nightingale is seen as a pioneer in the sphere of nursing. She was also one of the first theorists of nursing that contributed greatly to the development of the nursing practice (McEwen, & Wills, 2014). She also developed the so-called, environmental theory that is still utilized in many settings and is the basis for many other theories. The theory is based on the belief that the environment plays a crucial role in the healing process. Snowden, Donnell and Duffy (2014) note that Nightingale was an inspiring leader and she always wanted to bring nursing to another level.
The major concepts in the environmental theory are concerned with the patient’s environment. Thus, Nightingale stressed that patients had to drink good water, they had to have clean drainage and the rooms where patients were located had to be clean as well. Importantly, she stressed the importance of daylight for the healing process. This was quite a revolutionary approach for that period.
It is noteworthy that Nightingale brought statistics to the fore (Snowden et al. (2014). The theorist tried to understand the correlation between different concepts and find empirical evidence when providing diagnoses or treating a patient. This precision enabled her to achieve remarkable results in the field.
Of course, one of the most important discoveries of Nightingale was the importance of a proper environment for the healing process as physicians and nurses paid little or no attention to this aspect. Clearly, her contributions as a theorist cannot be overestimated, as she refuted numerous beliefs that were common for that period. She advocated the importance of proper hygiene. Her discoveries contributed greatly to the development of nursing and saved a lot of lives.
Social Theories and Benner’s Work
It is necessary to note that the social exchange theory is based on the belief that relationships among people rely on cost-benefit principles (Leahy-Warren, 2014). In other words, people will shape their behavior and attitudes depending on their needs and goals as well as benefits they expect to get. Clearly, nurse-patient relationship and relationships between nurses and other healthcare professionals can be impacted through application of the theory’s assumptions.
Thus, the nurse-patient relationship will be positively affected as needs of patients and nurses are similar. Patients want to get better and/or suffer less. This is also the nurse’s professional need. When nurses’ performance is evaluated, patients’ conditions and satisfaction are taken into account. Clearly, nurses need to help patients to get good salaries and benefits. Nurses also get professional satisfaction as they manage to help people. Interestingly, in this case, consequential approach is mainly used as nurses are trying to help as many people as they can.
Nonetheless, when it comes to relationships among healthcare professionals, they all have quite different needs and goals as their professions involve different tasks. There can also be a conflict of interests and healthcare professionals try to achieve their goals even though this can hurt other professionals (Meleis, 2011). In this case, deontological approach is more applicable as professionals are trying to do what is right and what is ethical. This can be a good way to develop relationships among colleagues.
As for the use of Benner’s theory, it can be very helpful in nursing. A novice as well as seasoned nurse can use major principles of the theory. This will enable a nursing professional to self-develop effectively as the healthcare professional will see the stage of her development. Clearly, it is important to adjust the theory to particular settings and remember that each person has different capacity and some stages may need more time or can be even skipped.
Leahy-Warren, P. (2014). Social support theory. In G. McCarthy & J. Fitzpatrick (Eds.), Theories guiding nursing research and practice: Making nursing knowledge development explicit (pp. 85-103). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.
McEwen, M., & Wills, E. (2014). Theoretical basis for nursing. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Meleis, A.I. (2011). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Snowden, A., Donnell, A., & Duffy, T. (2014). Pioneering theories in nursing. London, UK: Andrews UK Limited.