Nursing was hardly defined as an academic discipline or even as a profession in the 19th century (Alligood, 2014). In the 21st century, the recognition of nursing was observed in different practice areas, including education, leadership, informatics, and management. Nursing frameworks and theories start playing an important role in the work of hospitals and medical centers where nurses have to work. A nursing theory turns out to be a group of significant related concepts and relationships the purpose of which is to guide practice and promote the delivery of care.
A middle-range theory that stands somewhere between grand and practice theories due to the possibility to describe a concept in general and use a particular situation to explain the chosen phenomenon is chosen (Saba & McCormick, 2015). Leininger’s Transcultural Theory of Care is a comprehensive approach that may improve nursing care in diverse populations around the whole world using the significance of cultural beliefs and values supported by nurses and patients. This theory will be discussed in several sections: the importance of a theory, the summary of its main concepts, the application to education as a critical practice area, and conclusions where final evaluations can be given.
Importance of Nursing Theory
Any nursing theory is crucial for the study as a part of a master’s program because it helps to understand the peculiar features of nursing care and improve practices from different perspectives. The importance of nursing theory, in general, to the nursing profession lies in the possibility to guide nursing and generate knowledge. The exchange of knowledge and the classification of information are integral for the nursing profession. This type of study cannot be neglected because it makes the practice complete. Nurses understand what they should do and identify the rules that should be followed.
The usefulness of nursing theory in the nursing profession is the possibility to integrate an increased number of nursing literature sources, concepts, and theories (Mill, Allen, & Morrow, 2016). Besides, as soon as nurses start learning nursing theory, they can know why they do something, and what they should achieve. In other words, the answers to any kind of supplementary question about nursing, care, and patients’ needs may be given in terms of nursing theory.
A nursing theory also helps to separate the nursing profession from other healthcare professions. There are many everyday practices that may enrich theory. In nursing, many values and beliefs are promoted. A theory is a chance for nursing to comprehend their goals and minimize the gap between theory and research. In comparison to other professions, nurses have to be involved in all sectors and be ready to assist in any sphere, including the organization and understanding of patient data, analyses and diagnoses, care plans, patient outcomes, family relations, patients’ needs, and other nursing interventions (Alligood, 2014).
However, there is one concern that should be regarded while using nursing theory within the profession. Nurses should be ready to make fast decisions and analyze diagnoses and patients’ data. This type of analysis is hard and complicated (Bousso, Poles, & Lopes, 2014), and nurses should find out the line between what the theory says and what the current situation is all about.
Summary of Theory
Transcultural nursing is one of the well-known achievements demonstrated by Madeline Leininger in 1978. The development of the theory began in the middle of the 1960s, the main edition was made in 1978, and certain contributions and adjustments were done in her books about transcultural nursing in 1995 and 2002 (Alligood, 2014).
The author states that nursing is an important profession in the field of health care because its goal is to provide care in accordance with patients’ cultural values and practices. Leininger’s Transcultural Theory is also known as the Culture Care theory and based on the Sunrise Model. Leininger’s Transcultural Theory is based on the model with the help of which the concept of care may be defined as central to the nursing profession and used to clarify people in terms of the existing cultural beliefs, values, and norms (Russell, Brunero, & Lamont, 2014).
The main concepts of the chosen theory have to be properly understood and identified. First, the theorist believes that care is the core of nursing and even its dominant because there is no cure without caring, and there is always care with curing. Caring is the action in terms of which care is provided to patients. Care is the understanding of needs with the help of which a human condition can be improved and saved. There is also cultural care that includes the recognition of different cultural aspects that may influence the process of curing. Nurses have to accept and promote cultural care because it considers patients’ cultural values and models of behavior. It is necessary for all nurses to develop their cultural and religious knowledge in order support their patients and define health, illness, and treatment in a proper way.
The peculiar feature of this theory is the intention of the theorist to criticize the already developed metaparadigms of person, environment, health, and the nursing profession. For example, the concept of “person” should not be too limited because a person is any individual who is in need of human care after being recognized as a cultural being. Health is the concept that covers culturally valued well-being and reflects the possibility of patients to complete their regular activities in regards to their own life-ways. There is no clear term “environment” in Leininger’s theory. The theorist introduces the term “environmental context” to cover all events and situations with the help of which meanings to people’s expressions and interpretations can be given. It is important to consider cultural, social, political, and ecological settings in the environmental context. Finally, nursing is explained by Leininger a profession with human care phenomenon being its focus.
This nursing theory is selected for discussion and identification it as a crucial part of nursing education because it helps to recognize the principles that improve people’s lives, promote health care, and develop trustful patient-medical worker relations. Many other theorists, nurses, and practitioners believe in the importance of Leininger’s theory because a nurse should learn the differences that exist between cultures and find out how different the views on health care, life, and death. Therefore, the chosen theory should be used within education as a part of any master’s program.
Application of Theory
In this paper, the attention is paid to the ways of how the Leininger’s Transcultural Theory defines and explains education as a part of professional nursing practice. The environmental context, the recognition of cultural and social dimensions, and the development of skills and knowledge through various educational institutions represent what professional nursing care is all about according to Leininger. After observing the practices of different people, it was clear that many social and cultural rules could affect the biological state of a patient and promote the improvement of people’s health.
For example, when a Jewish patient asked some time to pray, a nurse should always provide the required portion of the time because a prayer is an integral part their life. It can also happen that Jews may reject the usage of some medications. Nurses have to be aware of all these details and ask questions in order to avoid misunderstandings and complications.
Besides, there are the groups of people who put their religion in the first place. I observed the situation when the family reduced the importance of surgery and blood transfusion procedure just because they believed that God could change the situation in case of emergency. They did not allow protecting the health of their son, who was in a comma. They decided to believe and pray. Nurses and doctors have to be aware of such demands of their patients and learn how to stay loyal to their needs and expectations.
The point is that it is hard to observe how a person dies not because of a disease, but because of patient’s unwillingness to be treated using the method that contradicts their religious or cultural beliefs. Therefore, students and nursing practitioners have to learn such situations and use the area of education as a chance to improve their knowledge on this topic.
In general, Leininger’s Transcultural Theory is an integral part of nursing today. People may know a lot about diagnosing people and taking medications. However, not much attention is paid to the cultural and religion backgrounds of patients and nurses. Nursing theory is the possibility to understand the norms and standards in health care. The chosen theory helps to understand that in addition to a number of professional aspects of nursing, theories and research should not be neglected because they help to improve care and support patients in different situations.
Alligood, M.R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Bousso, R.S., Poles, K., & Lopes, D.A. (2014). Nursing concepts and theories. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem, 48(1).
Mill, J.E., Allen, M.N., & Morrow, R.A. (2016). Critical theory: Critical methodology to disciplinary foundations in nursing. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research Archive, 33(2), 109-127.
Russell, R., Brunero, S., & Lamont, S. (2014). Reflecting on transcultural care; culture care theory and mental health nursing. Austin Journal of Nursing & Health Care, 1(2), 4-7.
Saba, V., & McCormick, K.A. (Eds.). (2015). Essentials of nursing informatics (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill Professional.