NRS 430 Discuss the difference between a nursing conceptual model and a nursing theory

NRS 430 Discuss the difference between a nursing conceptual model and a nursing theory

NRS 430 Discuss the difference between a nursing conceptual model and a nursing theory

Nursing theories are organized bodies of knowledge to define what nursing is, what nurses do, and why they do it (Wayne,2021). Nursing theories is simply what sets it apart from any other healthcare job such as a dietitian or a doctor. It is a framework of concepts and purposes intended to guide nursing practice at a more concrete and specific level (Wayne,2021). On the other hand, conceptual models are sets of general concepts and propositions that provide perspectives on the major concepts of the metaparadigm, such as person, health and well-being, and the environment (Parker,2005).

Whilst I was doing some extra reading on nursing theories, I was rather intrigued by Dorothea E. Orem’s Self Care theory. I think that this Self Care Theory is patient focused which overall promotes recovery and healing. Dorothea Orem defined nursing as “The act of assisting others in the provision and management of self-care to maintain or improve human functioning at the home level of effectiveness’’ (Wayne, 2021). The self-care theory focuses on everyone’s ability to perform self-care which is composed of three interrelated theories including the theory of self-care, the self-care deficit theory, and the theory of nursing systems, which is further classified into wholly compensatory, partially compensatory, and supportive-educative (Wayne, 2021).

This nursing theory is significant to nursing care. For instance, I currently work on a medical surgical unit and many of the patients are pre-operative or post-operative. In using Orem’s theory, I would first assess my patient’s prior knowledge about the surgical procedure, what limitations are expected after the procedure and then develop a plan to address those limitations such implementing supportive care post operatively to help patients with their self-care needs. For example, a patient undergoing total knee surgery would have mobility limitations and would need help getting around, therefore using Orem’s theory I would get physical and occupational therapy involved to address physical limitation issues and thus promoting self-care.


Parker, Marilyn E.. Nursing Theories & Nursing Practices, F. A. Davis Company, 2005. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Created from gcu on 2023-04-28 02:14:15.

Wayne, G. (2021). Nursing theories and theorists. Nurseslabs.

Nursing theories and conceptual models are the basis nurses use to help organize critical thinking and evidence-based practice (EBP) in the nursing process comprised of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. A nursing theory explains something supported by significant verified medical evidence, whereas a nursing conceptual model is a general idea without evidence backing it. Concepts are a component of and the foundation for theories. Theories combine concepts describing how concepts interact together to clarify a problem. This problem-solving is critical thinking by describing in more detail and revealing relevant facts, such as when a patient tells the nurse about their pain (Mintz-Binder, 2019). Theories are categorized according to their complexity, known as practice, mid-range, and grand, and are also known as conceptual models. The fundamental nursing concepts are called the metaparadigms of nursing and have four main components. These four components provide the basic structure for understanding nursing practice, known as the person, environment, health, and nursing (Mitz-Binder, 2019). Conceptual models are a method to systemize how nursing tasks are completed, resulting in optimal patient care with the best possible positive outcome.

The environmental theory was developed by Florence Nightengale, who perceived the patient’s environment as the ultimate reason for their poor health and disease. This theory reverses illness and disease by changing the patient’s environment (Whitney, 2022). The environmental theory is categorized as a grand theory or a Grand Theory Metaparadigm Concept, also known as a Grand Conceptual Model. When a patient tells a nurse about their pain, the nurse implements the nursing process of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation, involving critical thinking and EBP, following an appropriate nursing theory and conceptual model. The environmental theory helps nurses to effectively determine the actual patient problem by identifying the underlying cause, as with the patient telling the nurse about their pain. Pain is not the problem but a sign of the actual problem and the underlying cause. The patient environment could be the determined problem. Many things in their environment factor into the decision, such as having the resources and ability to maintain personal hygiene and a clean environment, aiding in the healing process of any areas of broken skin, such as minor cuts or scratches, leading to infection and inflammation and leading to pain.


Mintz-Binder, R. ( 2019). The connection between nursing theory and practice. Nursing Made Incredibly Easy17(1), 8-9. DOI: 10.1097/01.NME.0000549615.05397.55

Whitney, S. (2022). History of professional nursing. (2nd ed.) Dynamics in nursingArt and science of professional practice. Grand Canyon University.

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The four Metaparadigm concepts are society, person, health and nurses. The Person entails the  people we communicate with  on a daily basis , The environment / society are the extrinsic  factors that contribute to our well-being, .Health: everyone has different views on what wellness is and finally  the nurses   possesses qualities  , enhances the environment, advocate for and incorporates the person to encourage  a healthy psyche to promote and maintain wellness(Wayne, 2021). A typical example of these concepts in a hospital setting would be a patient complaining of headache  precipitated by noise and light. First the nurse has to incorporate the person by asking the precipitating and the alleviating factors. Finding out what the patient would need to get better. The nurse creates an environment for this patient to encourage wellness , ensure the room is quiet , closing the door to reduce noise,making sure the light is adjusted to the patient’s liking , informing other staff of the patient’s situation and their discomforts  and offering medication. The nurse collaborates with the different members gaining insight on how to make things better for the patient. Getting a new medication order from the MD if that is what the patient wants ,informing staff that have to go to the patient of the situation , rescheduling things that can be rescheduled to encourage rest. Lastly, health comes in when the patient gets better from their input ,the right environment and the nurse advocating for the client and the headache is gone.


 Wayne, G (2021). Nursing Theories and Theorists: The Definitive Guide for Nurses

Nursing theories are what we use in our daily nursing practice. These theories are bodies of structural ideas and rules that guides the way nursing is practiced. A nursing theory can also be interpreted as a combination of ideas, that works together with conceptual models (Wayne, 2021). Conceptual models are the framework for the plan. These models explain a particular way of thinking, or a mental picture of the way things are put together (Whitney, 2018).

Imogene King’s theory focuses on the healing power between the patient, nurse and the interpersonal relationship. Through the action and reaction between the patient and nurse the problem will be evident. For example, the patient comes to the emergency room and after being evaluated the doctor determines that the patient will be discharged and have to follow-up with their primary care physician. During discharge planning the nurse discovers that the patient has no means to get to follow up appointments.

Kings’ theory involving interpersonal relationship allows for the nurse and patient to have a dialog to better resolve the patients concern. The nurse and patient create a mutual agreeable attainable goal. In which case it will be necessary for the nurse to incorporate the family member in the discharge planning. Doing this allows the family member to provide transportation to the patient to get to his follow up appointments.


Whitney, S. (2018). History of professional nursing. [E-book]. Dynamics in Nursing: Art & Science of Professional Practice. Grand Canyon University.

Wayne, G. (2021). Nursing theories and theorists. Nurseslabs.

Both the conceptual model and nursing theory are used in nursing practice. According to Whitney (2018), nursing theory maintains a central role in nursing; it is present on a daily basis during patient care, and the goal is to improve practice. On the other hand, a conceptual model is the organizing structure that defines the theory (Whitney, 2018). Dorothea E. Orem’s Self-Care Theory focuses on the importance of a patient’s ability to perform self-care. I’m a home health nurse, and I have seen the impact on a daily basis when patients help with their ADLS. Even thought  patient is partial physical limited, it is very important to encourage the patient to be as independent as possible and to participate in their daily activities. They can start with the basics, such as brushing their teeth, deciding what clothes to wear, combing their hair or changing their clothes. These will give them a boost of energy, and they will feel good about themselves. If the patient can participate a little, it will make a big improvement in their life by making them feel useful. Self-care helps patients emotionally and physically. I think a patient who is well groomed and clean improves their self-esteem. Self-care is therapeutic for sustaining life and health (Wayne, 2021). 

Wayne, G. (2021). Nursing theories and theorists. Nurseslabs.

Whitney, S. (2018). History of professional nursing. [E-book]. Dynamics in Nursing: Art & Science of Professional Practice. Grand Canyon University.