Nursing Theories’ Impact on Advanced Practice

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 4
Words: 1168
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: Master


Various theories currently exist in the nursing practice that are applied in many research studies regarding advanced nursing practice and related fields. According to Duman et al. (2020), a complimentary nursing education unit includes clinical and theoretical education. That is why many different theories are used to develop programs for the education of nursing students so they can gain the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes in the field of their work (Duman et al., 2020).

The purpose of this article is to examine how each theory was applied within the reviewed research study and then analyze the utility of the discussed theories to advance the nursing discipline and the theories’ impact on advanced nursing practice. For the purposes of the article, a grand nursing theory of human caring by Jean Watson and a middle-range theory of forensic nursing care by Virginia Lynch were examined. The theories explored in the article have proven their utility for advanced nursing practice because they make significant contributions to the nurses’ theoretical and clinical education and their working qualities.

Grand Theory

A grand nursing theory located in the research study is Watson’s theory of human caring. The theory states that the further promotion of the healing and caring roles of nursing is necessary, and its most significant factor is that it emphasizes a human, making affection-centered care the priority instead of medical care (Duman et al., 2020). In a broad sense, the theory of human caring “defines nursing care as a scientific, ethical, aesthetic and professional process in which two people interact mutually through physical, mental, spiritual, and sociocultural means” (Duman et al., 2020, p. 622). In the study conducted by Duman et al. (2020), the authors analyze the effect of the theory on nursing clinical education through a randomized control trial. The results show that nursing students have increased coping capability with stress and reduced anxiety levels when Watson’s theory is applied in their education (Duman et al., 2020). Therefore, the application of the grand theory of human caring can positively affect the clinical education of nursing students.

Middle-Range Theory

A middle-range theory located in the research study is Lynch’s constructed theory of forensic nursing care. The theory assumes that forensic nurses provide care to specific groups of people, including victims, witnesses, perpetrators of violence, and also people globally affected by violence (Valentine et al., 2020). At the same time, the theory states that forensic nursing care purposes include informing, impacting, and improving the outcomes of patient health, forensic evidence, and the criminal justice system (Valentine et al., 2020). Therefore, forensic nursing care is not only a part of the medical care field, as it can also significantly impact the criminal justice system.

In the research study conducted by Valentine et al. (2020), the theory was applied to analyze the role of forensic nursing in improving society and define its impact on the care for humankind. According to the study results, theoretical principles of forensic nursing can amplify the global influence of forensic nurses on the medical care field and criminal justice system (Valentine et al., 2020). Thereby, the constructed middle-range theory of forensic nursing care appears to affect the nursing practice positively.

Impact on Advanced Nursing Practice

The grand and middle-range theories can have a positive impact on the nursing discipline and advanced nursing practice. According to the study of Naz & Muhammad (2018), nursing practitioners “should promote and hold theory-based practice as the core of nursing to enhance the knowledge base that supports practice and bridges the theory-practice gap” (p. 29). The researchers claim that the necessity of nursing theories was determined when nurses realized that their field involves their particular knowledge that should be further researched to advance the nursing practice (Naz & Muhammad, 2018).

The main difference between the theories examined in this article is that grand theories have a broad scope, whereas middle-range theories are narrow (Naz & Muhammad, 2018). The reason for that difference appears to be the need to address the broad spectrum of nursing practice and its particular elements to achieve the most efficient and accurate theoretical results. Thereby, any theories concerning nursing care can potentially make specific improvements in the field as they aim to use theoretical knowledge to enhance the nursing practice.

It is vital to address the essence of the nursing discipline before considering the utility of the grand and middle-range nursing theories for the field. First of all, the nursing discipline implies that “nursing knowledge is seen as useful in understanding human health processes and facilitating care for the patient” (Kristoffersen, 2019, p. 566). The researchers suggest that nursing discipline is strongly correlated with thoughts of creation as they address fundamental questions regarding human life, its value, and importance (Kristoffersen, 2019). Thus, the nursing discipline requires permanent advancement as it is related to essential fundamentals that are a part of everyday nursing care experience, and those fundamentals constantly evolve in modern society (Kristoffersen, 2019). In this case, the grand and middle-range nursing theories are utile as they can contribute to the nursing discipline’s advancement according to its needs.

Furthermore, there is a need to discuss the utility of the particular grand and middle-range theories examined in this article and their impact on advanced nursing practice. According to a recent study, increasing comorbidities and care complexity in the world has resulted in an increase in the demand for advanced nursing practice (Egerod et al., 2021). That is why the impact on that practice is the most significant aspect of any grand or middle-range nursing theory. First, Watson’s grand theory of human caring can positively influence nursing discipline and advanced nursing practice as it enhances the nurses’ working qualities when applied in their theoretical education and clinical practice (Duman et al., 2020). Second, Lynch’s middle-range theory of forensic nursing care can have a positive impact because it helps nurses to overarch their utility range and make advanced nursing practice advantageous even out of the medical care field (Valentine et al., 2020). Hence, both theories examined in this article have the potential to contribute to the advancement of nursing practice.


Summing up, the grand and middle-range theories located within the research study have proven to be useful for advanced nursing practice as they can positively impact the nurses’ education and improve their working qualities. First, Watson’s grand theory of human caring helps nursing students increase their coping capability with stress and reduce anxiety levels when applied in their education. Second, Lynch’s middle-range constructed theory of forensic nursing care is significant for advanced nursing practice since its principles can amplify the nurses’ influence globally. Third, both theories examined are a part of the nursing care field’s development which is necessary nowadays because of the increasing complexity of care. As stated in the study of Naz & Muhammad (2018), “nursing theories are models that provide a clear picture of nursing practice and show the purpose and function of nursing” (p. 29). Thereby, following those models can be highly beneficial for advanced nursing practice.


Duman, M., Çiçek, Ö., Ozan, Y. D., & Baksi, A. (2020). The effects of clinical education program based on Watson’s theory of human caring on coping and anxiety levels of nursing students: A randomized control trial. Perspectives in psychiatric care, 56(3), 621-628. Web.

Egerod, I., Kaldan, G., Nordentoft, S., Larsen, A., Herling, S. F., Thomsen, T., & Endacott, R. (2021). Skills, competencies, and policies for advanced practice critical care nursing in Europe: A scoping review. Nurse Education in Practice, 1-10. Web.

Kristoffersen, M. (2019). Thoughts of creation and the discipline of nursing. Nursing open, 6(2), 566-573. Web.

Naz, S., & Muhammad, D. (2018). Integration of grand and middle range nursing theories into clinical practice. Journal of Rehman Medical Institute, 4(1), 29-33.

Valentine, J. L., Sekula, L. K., & Lynch, V. (2020). Evolution of forensic nursing theory – Introduction of the constructed theory of forensic nursing care: A middle-range theory. Journal of forensic nursing, 16(4), 188-198. Web.