The dispute that encompasses the application of theories and evidence-based practice in nursing has occupied and polarized the profession for decades now. Both approaches share the common objective of making the right medical decision and finding an effective solution to the perceived problem. Their differences revolve around philosophical concerns. Their core values vary and can date back to the ancient division of philosophy and science: empiricism and rationalism (Taylor & Renpenning, 2011). Theory-guided practice adapts a rationalist approach that aligns with extreme rationalist beliefs that human senses are limited and rely on reason. Evidence-based practice follows the empirical knowledge, from empiricist belief that human experiences are the primary source of knowledge and concepts.
Theory-guided nursing practices have foundation on three categories of theories. Grand nursing theories that provide general guidelines for nursing, like the benefits of stress reduction to the patient. Midrange nursing theories provide specific guidelines for patient care, for instance, a specific set of rules to manage patients’ stress. Nursing practice theories specifically detail the ideal response management to situations, for example, details concerning the number of tasks that the nurse should perform to manage patients stress. Benefits of theory-guided nursing practice are the level of autonomy in management practices, as long as there is adherence to the acceptable standard of care.
The evidence-based practice is the best approach to nursing practices. This practice applies tested nursing techniques in the care of patients. These techniques specify the nurses’ reaction to specific situations with exact guidelines (Taylor & Renpenning, 2011). The techniques have support from research findings. The practice provides reliable and efficient care techniques for patients. Benefits of the evidence-based practice include reliability resulting from research data and the limited liability of nurses to patients’ management and complications.
Basford, L. & Slevin, O. (2003). Theory and Practice of Nursing: An Integrated Approach to Caring Practice. Cheltenham, UK: Nelson Thornes.
Taylor, S. G. & Renpenning, K. (2011). Self-Care Science, Nursing Theory, and Evidence-Based Practice. New York: Springer Publishing Company, LLC.
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