Comparing and Contrasting Two Nursing Theories

Subject: Business
Type: Compare and Contrast Essay
Pages: 8
Word count: 2016
Topics: Work Ethic, Job, Management, Nursing

Nursing theory involves concepts that define the relationship between nursing models and other disciplines. Nursing theories are based on propositions, definitions, concepts, assumptions and models. Besides, they derive from the two principles: inductive and deductive reasoning. The theories of nursing attempt to explain the process, event and phenomena. Through nursing theory, it becomes easy to describe and identify the occurrence of particular aspects and make some predictions. Nursing theories are imperative because they describe what people know as well as what they may need to know. Secondly, it helps to explain and predict phenomena in a given situation and ensure that the professional boundaries are maintained. It also provides a blueprint pertaining the direction in which nursing should undertake in the future (Alligood, 2014). The paper focus to compare the similarities of the two nursing theories, Contrast the dissimilarities of the two nursing theories and propose a plan for how each of these two nursing theories would be applied in individual practice, incorporating holistic and spiritual nursing.  The purpose of the paper is to provide the two nursing theories relating to my area of practice which is labor and delivery

The two theories chosen include goal attainment and environmental nursing theories. Goal attainment theory was put forth by King Imogene in the 1960s, and it helps to describe dynamic, and interpersonal relationship under which a patient may maneuver and achieve their life objectives. Goal attainment theory describes three critical underlying factors which may affect a patient to attain their life goals. Those factors include stress, time, and space. Goal attainment theory comprises of the three factors that interact with each other namely social, personal and interpersonal factors. The factors tend to have their underlying concepts. For example, the interpersonal element has six concepts namely perception, growth, self, body, image, time, development and growth (Im, 2015). On the contrary, is the environmental nursing theory that was put forth by Nightingale’s Florence. The theory gives precedence to the patient care rather than the process used in nursing practices. 

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Comparing the Similarities of the Two Nursing Theories

Goal attainment and environmental nursing theories are similar regarding some of their assumptions. For example, the two theories are similar in the sense that they all focus on ensuring proper care is provided to a patient so that they can get out of their medical situation. Both theories emphasis involves interaction between patients and nurses to ensure that patients’ needs are adequately addressed. The two nursing theories are similar in the sense that they all affirm that communication between a patient and nurse is imperative because it allows a patient to express herself so that a nurse can be able to know the kind of assistance they can offer to the patients. Communication between patient and nurses is essential because it gives a nurse with a clear picture about the situation a patient is going through and hence, allowing the patient to apply appropriate measures (Williams, 2017). 

The other similarity between goal attainment and nursing theory is that the two theories are guided by concept, assumptions, and prepositions. Besides, they both focus on providing knowledge and information of what people know and what they do not know. The two theories are similar regarding their overall aim. For example, the two theories are aimed at ensuring that there is a more significant improvement of a patient’s health conditions. They also put greater precedence of ensuring that there is opens communication between nurses and their patients in an attempt to achieve the goals and carry out nursing practices in a manner that promote patient health conditions. The two theories focuses are similar in the sense that they both put the vital importance on nurse’s education. Nurses must be adequately trained so that they can be in a position to attain the goals and efficiently carry out nursing practices to for better outcomes of patient health (McQueen, Cockroft, & Mullins, 2017). 

Contrasting the Dissimilarities of the Two Nursing Theories

The two theories are different in certain ways. The goal attainment nursing theory focuses on the process used in nursing to ensure that a patient attains specific life goals. On the contrary, environmental nursing theory focuses on nursing practices that can be altered to ensure that the environment of providing nursing care consider the wellbeing of the patient. For example when working in labor and delivery ward a nurse has a vital role in providing a patient with an environment that helps to ensure that patients achieve full recovery from their situation. Such environment should create an optimal condition that will help a patient to heal. The environment should be such that patient care is provided in an environment with minimal noise and where they can access a diet that helps to improve the wellbeing of their health so that they can achieve full recovery. The other difference between goal attainment theory and environmental nursing theory is regarding roles that a nurse play in ensuring that patient recovers from their condition. In goal attainment theory, the role of a nurse is to follow the process of medicine to ensure that patient come out healed from the condition that they might be going through (Meleis, 2010).

On the contrary, environmental nursing theory focuses on providing a patient with an enabling and conducive environment that can help a patient recover from their medical situation and be discharged from the labor and delivery ward. The two theories tend to be different regarding assumptions, principles, and concepts. For example, the assumption of goal attainment theory is that nursing focus to provide care to both singles person and the groups. Secondly, human beings are viewed as systems that freely interact with the environment. Thirdly, it is assumed there must be open communication between the patient and a nurse. It is assumed that the world is a complete person under goal attainment theory. On the contrary, the environmental nursing theory implies that there must be a distinction between medicine and nursing (Cowde & Cummings, 2012). It is assumed that nursing as a science as an art and a calling. Nursing is assumed that a nurse should have specific education bases to achieve nursing calling. 

Environmental theory of nursing focus at changing the nursing environment to bring changes in the health of a patient, this is done by taking into consideration all factors within the environment that may affect the health condition of a patient. Those factors include ensuring that there is clean water for consumption, fresh air and adequate and healthy food supply. Besides, the environment should provide patients with a clean environment that may help a patient to achieve a healthy life. On the contrary, goal attainment, nursing theory focuses on ensuring that particular process of nursing are upheld to affirm that there is a proper interaction between nurses and paints. One of the most fundamental processes being emphasized the goal attainment theory is the communication process. Communication helps to ensure that goals about the expected health outcomes are set, and mechanisms for attaining such goals are fully established. The primary process that should be followed by nurses in their nursing practices includes assessment f patient condition, diagnosis, planning on how to attain the goals, implementing the strategies for the attainment of patient health and finally conducting proper evaluations (Selanders, 2010). Also, the two theories are similar because they both contribute towards growth and development of knowledge in the field of nursing. Besides, they provide researchers and scholars with a fundamental basis for identifying gaps in the literature and ways through which they can feel such gaps. They theories also provide a basis that scholars and researchers in the field of nursing and medicine can use to substantiate their studies. 

Proposing a Plan For How Each of These Two Nursing Theories

The proposed plan of how the goals attainment theory can be applied in individual practices while incorporating holistic spiritual nursing via following the steps of nursing practices. Holistic spiritual nursing involves carrying out a nursing practice that helps to ensure that complete healing of a patient not only physical healing but also spiritual and emotional healing. Some of the steps of goals attainment plan that can be applied include assessment, nursing diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. The evaluation can be used in the labor and delivery ward by a nurse where they directly interact with a patient in the ward. During the interaction, the nurse takes notes by gathering information about patient contemporary health status, her perception, growth, and development. After the assessment has been made, a nursing diagnosis is made where nurse identifies the problem with the patient based on the data collected and look on how the problem can be diagnosed to ensure the patient has recovered from her condition. The third stage involves planning where an intervention plan to solve the problem is identified. The phase focus on ensuring that goals are set and decided to achieve such goals is established, patient participation is essential in planning. After planning has been put in place, the actual implementation may be carried out.

The implementation involves putting the goals planned into actual practices. For example, the real assistance of a woman in the delivery ward may be carried out including providing her with tools and medications and emotional support that may help to ensure that there is safe child delivery. Finally, an evaluation may be cried out to assess whether the goals set have been achieved. In case of goals were not fully met proper amendment may be carried out in the planning stage till appropriate nursing practices in the delivery ward are achieved. The proposed plan regarding how environmental nursing theory can be applied includes altering both internal and external environment to ensure better outcomes in patient health are met. The environment is changed in such a way that patient is assisted in healing. The first stage of the environmental nursing includes identification of environmental factors that may hinder quick recovery of patient health. Secondly, planning on strategies that can be put in place to ensure that patient health is upheld. Thirdly, implementation and evaluation take place whereby, the impacts of environmental altering on patient’s health are taken into account (McCrae, 2012). 

Construct a Plan For Application Of The Two Nursing Theories In A Healthcare Organization

Constructed goal setting theory in a hospital environment in a delivery Ward. Figure 1.4 below shows the goal setting theory in a delivery ward.

Figure 1.4

A plan for Goal setting theory at Hospital Delivery Ward

Source: (Elias, 2017).

Goal setting theory focuses on the process as shown in the plan above to ensure that proper patient health outcomes are achieved within the hospital. The steps involved in the process include assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation.  

Constructed plan for environmental nursing theory in a hospital enviroment 

Figure 1.5

Plan for environmental nursing theory in a hospital enviroment

Source: (Jacobs et al, 2012).

It can be observed from figure 1.4 and 1.5 that the two theories tend to differ in various ways as previously discussed and hence providing room for criticism on the applicability of those two theories within the hospital setting where I work. One of the criticisms is that goal setting may be criticized because it only focuses on process and hence ignoring the environment under which the patient has been admitted. For example, ignoring the aspect of the environment may not lead to positive outcomes on patient health especially in a delivery ward, and hence the two theories need to complement each other t ensure that both the environment and process are factored in when taking care of patients within hospital delivery ward. 


It can be observed that the purpose of this paper has been met by providing the two nursing theories namely goal-setting theory and environmental nursing theory. The similarities between the two theories have been discussed as required. Moreover, the differences between environmental and goal setting nursing theory have been carried out. In conclusion, a proposed plan pertaining how the two theories can be implemented in a hospital setting and particularly in the delivery ward where I work has also been provided and discussed and hence, meeting the paper requirements of the paper as stipulated. 

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  1. Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work. Elsevier Health Sciences.
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  7. McQueen, L., Cockroft, M., & Mullins, N. (2017). Imogene King’s theory of goal attainment and the millennial nurse: An important mentoring tool for nurse educators. Teaching and Learning in Nursing12(3), 223-225.
  8. Meleis, A. I. (2010). Transitions theory: Middle range and situation specific theories in nursing research and practice. Springer publishing company.
  9. Selanders, L. C. (2010). The power of environmental adaptation: Florence Nightingale’s original theory for nursing practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing28(1), 81-88.
  10. Williams, L. A. (2017). Imogene King’s interacting systems theory: Application in emergency and rural nursing. Online Journal of Rural Nursing and Health Care2(1), 40-50.
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