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The Importance of Theory in Nursing

Nursing is a field of study and a profession that has been in existence for years. Consequently, there are various theories that have been developed in an effort to understand the discipline in a more in-depth way. The theories provide a means by which a person can get to understand the history of the discipline, advancements in the discipline, and the subfields of specialization that exist within the discipline together with the importance of the discipline to the contemporary society. They also outline the ethos that guide the field of nursing. Some of these theories include Erickson’s Model, the Role Modeling Theory, King’s Theory of Goal Attainment, Neuma’s Systems Model, Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory, and Orlando’s Nursing Process Theory among numerous others. This paper explores King’s Theory of Goal Attainment insofar as its contribution to the nursing profession is concerned.

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Nursing theories are beneficial to the human society in a number of ways. They help in the understanding of disciplines. For instance, in nursing, they explain the principles that propel nursing to greater levels and provide the basis by which understanding of the discipline is passed from generation to generation (Deborah, 2010). They also explain the differences that exist in the different approaches of nursing practice and help in ensuring that the different concepts that underpin nursing practice are universal. Further, nursing theories help in giving a professional identity to nurses as well as helping them to develop confidence in their practice. As a result, the world can enjoy better services and improved patient outcomes. Nursing theories also instill unity and cohesion among healthcare practitioners by offering ways through which the patients and other healthcare professionals understand the duties and contributions made by nurses to the healthcare system. Lastly, nursing theories facilitate nurses’ understanding of their duties. As such, they fast track the improvement of healthcare service delivery.

King’s Theory of Goal Attainment appreciates the fact that human beings constantly interact with their environment and there are various disease-causing microorganisms in the environment, which expose the human beings to many health risks. This state of affairs creates the need and urgency to promote and support the nursing profession in an effort to save lives and promote healthy living (Ackley, 2010). The theory assumes that cordiality must exist between nurses and their clients and that there must be sharing of information and knowledge between both parties to achieve the goals of the healthcare system. As a result, it encourages them to work together towards the established common goals.

It borrows heavily from other professions in a bid to support the nursing profession to become successful (Singh, 2012). King’s theory proposes that during nursing practice, there must be nurse-client interaction, which leads to a transaction between the two parties. Successful transactions lead to the attainment of the goals set by both parties as well as the common goal of a safe and efficient healthcare system.

The theory helps nurses, other healthcare practitioners, and the public understand that conflicts may exist in the roles of the nurse, the client, or both. Such conflicts occur when either the nurse or the client fails to play their part as required. The outcome of these conflicts is often a collapse in the nurse-client interaction and may lead to failure in achieving the common goals of these two groups of people (Singh, 2012). The theory, therefore, insists that a nurse must have an in-depth understanding of their area of specialization and there must be a mutual transfer of information between the nurse and client during their interaction. This cordial relationship enables appropriate goal setting and leads to positive outcomes for both nurses and patients. It also leads to the achievement of goals such as effective and efficient service delivery in addition to encouraging research and innovation that leads to the development of new and advanced methods of service provision.

King’s theory posits that nurses should acquire relevant information in their specific fields and be able to disseminate such information to their clients in an effort to make the clients understand their role in the process of healthcare provision (Ackley, 2010). The theory bestows authority on the nurses and expects them to be the custodians of healthy living and promoters of quality healthcare in the society. Therefore, nurses must engage the public in promoting sanitation in households, sensitize the community on undertaking research projects to find better ways to offer treatment, and develop new and effective drugs (Ackley, 2010).

On leadership, King’s theory suggests that the nursing leadership should seek ways through which planning, implementation, and evaluation of objectives of the nursing profession can be achieved. As such, the leadership must consist of knowledgeable and experienced nurses who are capable of planning for healthcare facilities and implementing the outlined plans to achieve healthcare objectives. The theory urges the leadership to advocate accurate diagnosis of patients and provide an avenue through which problems and concerns of the patients can be addressed adequately and with ease. The leadership must be able to tackle any health issues, carry out research about chronic diseases, and suggest ways of providing treatment (Singh, 2012).

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According to King’s theory, information should be availed to nurse practitioners through the establishment of large information databases. Such databases can also serve as resource centers, which encourage people to maintain healthy lifestyles. In so doing, a reduction in the incidence chronic illnesses can be achieved.

King’s theory posits that in order to provide quality health services, the nursing fraternity must develop health policies that advocate the rights of nurses. Such policies must address issues such as proper remuneration, healthy working environments, and fair treatment at the workplaces (Deborah, 2010). The theory advices that addressing the issues affecting nurses in a holistic manner and finding amicable solutions to their problems creates peaceful working environments and boosts their morale. The formation of pertinent and comprehensive policies requires individuals with the right kind of education in related fields such as economics and law to address issues such as lack of or scarcity of drugs in hospitals, overcrowding in hospitals, and understaffing (Singh, 2012).

In many countries across the world, nurses usually engage in strikes due to the poor remuneration and poor working conditions. Other issues that cause strikes are the poor policies, which fail to address the issues that affect nurses such as access to insurance covers and lack of pension. The theory suggests that the only way to end such crises is by applying its principles.

King’s theory challenges everyone to pay keen attention to health problems and their resultant complications and ponder on ways by which they can be curbed. It exhorts people to be mindful of the hygiene of their environments and lead healthy lifestyles that help in reducing disease prevalence. Above all, the theory is a tool that can be used to solve the problems that nurses face in their workplaces as it espouses quality service delivery in healthcare institutions.


Ackley, B. (2010). Nursing diagnosis handbook: An evidence-based guide to planning care (9th ed.). Maryland Heights, MO: Mosby.

Deborah, J. K. S. (2010). A history of American nursing: Trends and eras. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Singh, N. R. (2012). Nursing: The ultimate study guide. New York, NY: Demos Medical Publishing.

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