Relationship Between Theory and Nursing Practice, Research, Management, and Education

After completing this module, you will be able to do the following:
Articulate the relationship between theory and nursing practice, research, management, and
Appraise a study using the “Guidelines for Application of Theory in Nursing Practice.”
Formulate a plan to reduce the theory-practice gap
Compare and contrast the types of theory used in research
Assess how theory is used in research
Formulate the elements of organizational structure from a theoretical perspective Compare and contrast patient care delivery models
Assess the theoretical foundations for case management using core components of clinical
Initiate and sustain a theory-based quality management program
Incorporate theoretical principles and frameworks in nursing curricula and instruction
This module will examine several issues related to the application of theory in nursing practice,
research, management, and education. The relationship between theory and practice and the
concept of theory-based practice will be described, and the perceived theory-practice gap will be
explored. Practice theories will be presented, as well as the concept of evidence-based practice.
This module will also examine a number of issues related to the interface of research and theory
in the discipline of nursing. Topics covered include the relationship between research and theory,
types of theory and corresponding research, how theory is used in the research process, and the
issue of borrowed versus unique theory for nursing. How theory should be addressed in a
research report and in the discipline’s research agenda will also be detailed.
Specific applications of administration and management theories, models, and frameworks in
nursing and health care will also be explored. These concepts include organizational design,
shared governance, transformational leadership, patient care delivery models, case
management, disease/chronic illness management, quality management/performance improvement process tools and techniques, and evidence-based practice. Finally, this module
will detail how theory influences and is influenced by nursing education—both to determine the
content and structure of a program’s curriculum, and to determine the instructional processes
and strategies used by faculty to teach students.
To improve the practice of nursing, nurses need to search the literature, critically appraise
research findings, and synthesize empirically and contextually relevant theoretical information to
be applied in practice. Theory and practice are intertwined and symbiotic: practice is the basis for
nursing theory development, and nursing theory must be validated in practice. Despite this
reciprocal relationship, many purport that a theory-practice gap exists, and the interaction
remains fragmented or unrecognized. Several strategies to close the theory practice gap were
presented. Practice theories, which are clinically specific and reflect a particular context, are
easily applied in nursing research and practice. Evidence-based practice, defined as the
conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of the current best evidence in making decisions about
the care of individual patients, is often used by nurses in their delivery of care and exemplifies
the union of theory and practice.
Theory is also integral to the process of research. It is paramount to use theory as a framework
to provide direction regarding selection of the research design, identify approaches to
measurement and methods of data analysis, and specify criteria for acceptability of findings as
valid. The types of theory (descriptive, explanatory, and predictive) were summarized, with
examples provided from nursing literature. Lastly, the three ways that theory is used in research were introduced: theory-generating, theory-testing, and theory as a conceptual framework.
Nursing’s research agenda was identified, which respond to important issues from nursing
practice, administration and management, and education.
Nursing practice is shaped and influenced by models and principles of leadership, management,
and administration. It is important for advanced practice nurses to recognize and adapt to the
specific organizational characteristics that define the organization in which they practice. The
structure of an organization provides a framework in which management processes occur.
Management strategists have formulated six elements of organizational structure: work
specialization, chain of command, span of control, authority and responsibility, centralization, and
departmentalization. Shared governance and transformational leadership were also discussed.
Patient care delivery models adapt in response to changing needs of patients, society, and
nurses. The patient care delivery models discussed in this module include functional nursing,
team nursing, primary nursing, and patient-focused care. Case management, quality
management, and disease/chronic illness management were also addressed with illustrative
nursing applications.
Theoretical principles, concepts, and models are used in two ways in nursing. First, they are
used to determine the content and structure of a program’s curriculum. Second, they are used to
determine the instructional processes and strategies used by faculty to teach students.
Technology plays an increasingly important role in nursing education, and incorporates distance
learning methodologies and virtual reality simulation.

A nurse on the research and practice committee is preparing for an update on evidence-based
practice (EBP). There is a need to address the potential changes with several EBP policies. This
presentation will examine the EBP policies as well as reasoning and rationale as to why changes
may be needed.
Choose an EBP topic and two scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles
Compare the difference between theory, research, and practice in nursing
Choose a theory that best correlates with the EBP practice change that you would like to make
Compare and contrast the quantitative and qualitative research article that you choose for the
EBP topic
What technology did you use to locate the articles? Databases? Search terms?
What are the philosophical, theoretical, and methodological perspectives in the research articles
that were chosen?
What are the ethical and scientific integrity issues related to the research?
How did your nursing knowledge advance through the utilization of research?
This PowerPoint® (Microsoft Office) or Impress® (Open Office) presentation should be a
minimum of 20 slides, including a title, introduction, conclusion and reference slide, with detailed
speaker notes and recorded audio comments for all content slides. Use at least four scholarly
sources and make certain to review the module’s Signature Assignment Rubric before starting
your presentation. This presentation is worth 400 points for quality content and presentation.

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