Nursing is heavily guided by nursing theories. These theories help professionals in the field of nursing to approach their practice with a good level of knowledge. In other words, it can be argued that the nursing practice is informed by nursing theories. The profession of nursing and the practice in its entirety gets its explanation from the various nursing theories that have been postulated by nurse theorists of good repute. There are numerous theories in the field of nursing; these have been grouped into three major categories that include, nursing practice theories, grand theories, and mid range theories. The paper that follows will discuss the strengths and limitations of the theory of health as expanding consciousness, which was postulated by Dr. Margaret A. Newman.
The theory of health as expanding consciousness has several strengths. Firstly, this theory can be applied in any setting. There are no special conditions or setting needed for the provisions or propositions of this theory to be applied. Matter of fact, the theory has a universal reach. Meaning that nurses all over the world can apply the concepts proposed by the theory. This is important because it means that the theory can be applied in any part of the globe and achieves the same effect as intended in one place. The universality of this theory ensures that nurses can benchmark their practices with other nurses and ensure that they focus their energies on improving their practices to benefit their patients and clients.
Secondly, nursing education can also be coined on the basis of this theory. This means that the nursing curriculum taught to students in nursing school is developed around this theory, teaching the nursing students on the importance of ensuring that their patients understand the importance of being conscious of their surrounding environments while fighting diseases. This helps the nursing students in appreciating the role of a holistic approach in patient care.
Thirdly, the theory is the bedrock upon which nurse-client relationship is founded. This interaction helps the nurse understand his or her patient and implement a care program that is meant to help the client out of the condition he is in. Additionally, the client also develops a good level of trust with his care giver and follows through with the care program developed by the nurse practitioner. This is achieved after the nurse explains the importance of the patient’s consciousness of his or her surrounding environment and also that of the entire living system. Last but not least, the theory if properly followed generates a caring intervention. This fits perfectly into the traditional mandate of all nursing practitioners; nurses are generally known to be care givers.
Conversely, Margaret’s theory on health as expanding consciousness has several weaknesses. Firstly, the theory provides limited explanation on the effect of environment on the healing process. The holistic approach proposed by this theory can only be met by the theory explaining the environment in good depths. Secondly, the theory is also abstract. It leaves most questions unanswered and this is not desired. A good theory must be specific in its terms for the concepts to be applicable in practice. Thirdly, the theory is multidimensional and as thus it is too complex for some of the nurse practitioners. A good theory needs to be simple enough for ease of application in a practice environment. Fourthly, the theory is qualitative meaning that the effect it has on the patients cannot be quantified.