Over the years the grand nursing theories have provided practical guidance to nurses and have helped to create the basis for making certain clinical decisions to help the patient and, in turn, provide quality care. One of the prominent figures in developing these theories was Virginia Henderson. She pioneered the nursing need theory, which centered around increasing patient independence to improve the quality of their care post-hospitalization. It consisted of 14 vital components—many of which are rooted in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs—like eating, drinking, and breathing to an adequate standard. Her foremost accomplishment was coming up with the definition of nursing as “assistance in aiding individuals to develop independence in connection to execution of activities contributing to health or its recovery”; she wanted to demonstrate that with these 14 needs the individual can recover. However, some of the needs mentioned by Henderson only apply to fully functional individuals and not those who require assistance, thus contradicting their main goal of being independent. However, the theory is still applied in specific circumstances in order to achieve better performance in nursing care. Thus, knowing and applying the grand theories will enable the development of models and frameworks that will help provide patient-centered care and prevent nursing from being regarded from a more generic perspective (Smith, 2019).
In the field of nursing, the best practices and knowledge foundations are always evolving. Changes in research strategies, professional procedures, or nursing care may be required as new studies and experience deepen our understanding. When evaluating and using any information, procedure, substance, or experiment provided, practitioners and researchers should always rely on their own experience and knowledge. They must take into account both their own safety and the safety of others, particularly those of whom they have a duty of care, when employing such information or procedures. On the other hand, mid-range nursing theories are more focused and have more direct links to nursing practice than grand nursing theories, which have broader points of view. These nursing theories offer clear ideas and arguments that address nursing specialties.
Despite the fact that time has passed and that, in many cases, the grand nursing theories are not applicable, they currently help to establish a better practice and establish a better patient-nurse relationship.