“The Condition Specific Theory” (CST) – Nursing Practice Theory


Constant arguments surround what constitutes nursing knowledge and nursing theory. However, deficient accords in the professional literature have dearly confused nurses. It is causing a majority of the nurses to refute nursing theory as immaterial and long-drawn-out in the current practices. Nursing theory must perfectly offer principles underpinning the practice. A theory, in customary science, incorporates sets of time-honored rules or statements, which may be tested. In fact, nursing theory has historically been developed and based around theories and knowledge in medicine.

Literature shows that nursing theory entails a methodical and structured expression of various accounts that relate to inquiries within the nursing discipline. This implies that, nursing theory incorporates propositions or assumptions, associations, definitions, and concepts that have been derived from models in nursing. Such premises can also originate from further disciplines with the aim of projecting logical and purposive views over a phenomenon. Nursing theories tend to design definite interrelationships between models with intentions of prescribing, predicting, explaining, and describing. This paper critically examines the nursing practice theory dubbed ‘the condition specific theory (CST). It also examines the significance of nursing theory, and offers a summary of the relationships and concepts of CST. The paper gives some real life examples relating to CST and concludes with some general insights about theory.

The significance of nursing theory

Alligood and Tomey (2002) claim that, tested theories are deemed significant since they help us in deciding what we need to understand and what we already understand. In fact, a theory assists in distinguishing what must constitute the practicing basis through clearly offering some critical descriptions about nursing. White (2001) asserts that, theoretical premises in nursing help in offering guidance in education and research, improved communication amongst nurses, enhanced professional nurses’ statuses, and better patient care. Besides, since caring, which constitute the key nursing component is immeasurable, nursing theory plays a vital role in explaining and analyzing what nurses carry out.

Nursing theory equally aims at explaining, predicting, and describing various nursing experiences. The theory offers the basis for practicing nursing, assists in generating advanced knowledge, and shows the course towards which future nursing practices ought to develop. The importance of nursing theory also emerges from that fact that it helps individuals and groups in deciding what they must understand and what they already understand. Finally, whereas medical experts attempt to make movements intended to approve an added multidisciplinary advancement to healthcare, nurses seek to set up theories. They considered these as distinctive masses of knowledge (White, 2001). Nursing theory thus represents what nurses contribute towards maintaining professional nursing boundaries.

A summary of the key premises to the condition specific theory

The nursing practice theory is the selected premise. However, specific attention is directed towards the theory dubbed the condition specific theory (Im et al., 2008). Often, practice theory tends to investigate a single specific condition that is found in the discipline of nursing. This theory tries to identify the precise facts and goals of how such goals may be realized. The CST was selected because it is unlike other nursing theories that currently exist. In fact, this theory was founded based on facts, which include systematic research findings and literature review. This made the CST to be logical and relevant to the nursing practices. The theory was practically applied in a research study conducted using patients from American Asian who suffered from tumor (Leahy & Kizilay, 2005). The CST is deemed the best theory in nursing. This is because this theory was purposely developed to strengthen the inter-linkages amongst practices, evidences, and premises in managing the pain experienced by tumor patients from American-Asian.

The CST was derived from five key concepts. These included the nursing therapeutics, the Asian-American patients who experienced tumor pains, the response patterns, the conditions for transitions, and the transitional nature. Four out of the five key conceptions are nearly equal to the midrange transitional supposition constituents. It was only a single key conception associated to the patients from Asian-American who experienced tumor pain, which was unincorporated. The excluded model was added since it constituted the focal point of the developed premise (Im et al., 2008). Such key conceptions control the pain experienced by those tumor patients as they interrelate with one another.

The first relationship between these premises is where the experienced pain is influenced by the transitional nature of the chronic or fatal illness or wellbeing. The pain experienced is similarly influenced by the ethnicity of patients who suffer from tumor. Likewise, the cultural mind-set towards tumor chronic or the fatal nature is influenced by the customs of tumor patients. For instance, either the fatal nature of tumor is viewed as a customary experience or it is stigmatized. Finally, the patients’ transitional reaction patterns are in the same way influenced by the traditions embraced by tumor patients (Im et al., 2008).

From study literature, the transitional nature is associated with multiple or single transitions, awareness, changes, and critical points. Conversely, the situations for transitions are connected to the demographic factors including the socioeconomic statuses, the ethnic-interrelated factors, disease or health statuses, the social support, as well as the call for support. The response patterns associated with tumor patients appear in four sub-concepts namely mind control, normal, nature, and tolerance (Leahy & Kizilay, 2005). However, the remaining two concepts are excluded from the discussions since they only describe the associations that exist amid the key concepts. The CST attends to the meta-paradigm in nursing by proposing the key theoretical concepts, sources for developing nursing theories, as well as offering accounts for assumptions.

How nursing informatics are observed by condition specific theory

The CST claims that we do not have even a single nursing study in knowledge translation that has fully conducted theory-based research. Thus, this is the only nursing theory that has responded to the loud calls that were initially made. When compared to other theories, the CST can be simply transformed into nursing practices and research because of its specifity (Im et al., 2008). That is, when properly developed and used, this theory can help with a comprehensive description and close understanding of nursing phenomena. For example, in real life situation, people do not understand the best way of advocating for their loved ones or themselves when they are in pain. They do not usually recognize what they should be expecting from pain relieving drugs. This theory nevertheless responds to such levels of unfamiliarity.

Alternatively, nurses and clinicians alike tend to dismiss the reports given by patients based on the pain being felt. When pain is made subjective, it becomes very complicated to be treated. Despite the fact that patients may feel pain although they cannot communicate it, it is upon nurses to know how to handle such situations from the theoretical viewpoints.


In conclusion, therefore, theories that are likely to benefit nurses and their practices need to be mutually developed with the assistance of people practicing nursing. This is because theory hardly offers similar practical courses of actions for nursing practices, as is the case with particular procedures, rules, and principles. Besides, theory plays significant roles in the reinforcement of nursing practices, and should be used as a basis for improving such practices. Based on these reasons, nursing theory emerges to be beyond the customary science. It aims at explaining, predicting, and describing the nursing phenomenon.


Alligood, M., & Tomey, A. (2002). Nursing theory: utilization and application. Missouri: Elsevier Mosby Publications.

Im, E., Lim, H., Clark, M., & Chee, W. (2008). African-American cancer patients’ pain experience. Cancer Nursing, 31(1), 38-46.

Leahy, J., & Kizilay, P. (2005). Foundations of nursing practice: nursing process approach. New York, NY: W. B. Saunders.

White, L. (2001). Foundations of nursing: caring the whole person. New York, NY: Thomson Learning Press.