The Situation Specific Theory as the Most Appropriate for Nursing Practice in the Twenty-First Century

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In the sense that we experience transition daily, our world may be thought of as a continual state of evolution. With this in mind, it's essential to recognize the need to combine the old and modern to maximize practicality. The latter is especially true of clinical nursing practice. A variety of hypotheses describe how nurses should provide the most appropriate care to the target population. With three theories to remember, grand, mid-range, and situation-specific, the latter is the most applicable to clinical practice in the twenty-first century of the three.

The elements of philosophy can be found in situation-specific theory. For instance, phenomena such as diabetes, obesity, and childbirth and child mortality amongst others will be considered in regards to a given situation as known to influence the situation. As such, it is important to understand that it is a theory that will limit its context to a given situation but the scope of describing, analyzing and understanding that situation is not easily generalized for reasons further explained below.

In support of the thesis statement, EO (2014) explains that situation-specific theory incorporates diversities into nursing and in addition to this, takes into consideration other external factors. This means that it is an approach to nursing that will limit its focus to a particular concept, gender or even age group but with the additional aim of considering the external complexities that nurses have to encounter. The 21st century is thus far the most technologically, globally and socio-politically advanced period for mankind. This in return means that our health is affected by different contexts and situation-specific theory allows for all these to be taken into consideration. In short, there is less opportunity to limit nursing phenomena to a given context because, with an array of factors implying to our lives, all these have to be taken into consideration.

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Moyer & Wittman-Price (2007) further adds that with situation-specific theory, diversity in practice can be implied. Nursing just like any other aspect of life is evolving with new techniques, drugs and understanding becoming available for the management of different illnesses and situations. As such, it can be argued that the situation-specific theory given that it calls for a particular situation to be observed with consideration to a multitude of relating factors taken into consideration, the same ought to apply when it comes to nursing practice. Al & EO (1999) emphasize that this theory is ideal for the future because it takes into account new contributions towards specific conditions. Therefore, the more nurses in the 21st century try out different approaches to understanding and managing specific conditions as affecting a certain group of individuals, the more improved chances there are to achieving effectiveness within the practice.

There is also the rational of advanced research that allows for the situation specific theory to be considered most applicable to clinical nursing practice in the 21st century. Having mentioned above that our environment is constantly changing, it is the same for illness and medical conditions. Every health factor is evolving with very few remaining constant over a given period of time. For this, situation specific theory allows for more research to be carried out with defined objectives to a particular area of interest. There is a limited generalization when it comes to situation specific theory (Im & Meleis, 2000) and this gives the advantage of the research work being as precise as possible to the problem area. Nursing practice in the 21st century just like before relies heavily on the availability of research to support the practices at hand. Therefore, the more research there is a specific situation, the more knowledge there is to not only understand it but formulate the necessary strategies.

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Therefore, given the understanding of how situation specific theory works and also that we are constantly evolving thus the need to embrace practices that allow for diversity is very important for clinical nursing practices today. It should be understood that the other two theories, grand and mid range also have their advantages in clinical nursing practice. But because of the possibility of including sociopolitical, cultural and historical contexts into nursing practice (Meleis, 2011), situation specific theory is definitely more equipped to handle the pressures of the 21st century. It is the kind of theory that is also not too general thus allowing for a broader perspective of things to be considered. As such, situation specific theory is most useful to clinical nursing practice in the 21st century because of it is more accommodative towards diversity; which the century is all about. The more complex and advanced our environment becomes, the more we need theories that can be specific to help with the understanding of the current situation as well as allow for a smooth progression into the future.

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Al, M. & EO, I. (1999). “Situation-specific theories: philosophical roots, properties, and approach.” ANS Adv Nurs Sci 22(2). 11-24. Retrieved from
EO, I. (2014). “Situation-specific theories from the middle-range transitions theory.” ANS Adv Nurs Sci 37(1). 19-31. Retrieved from
Im, E. & Meleis, A. (2000). “Situation-Specific Theories: Philosophical Roots, Properties, and Approach.” Advances in nursing science 22(2), 11-24. Retrieved from
Meleis, A. I. (2011). Theoretical Nursing: Development and Progress. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkin.
Moyer, B. & Wittman-Price, R. (2007). Nursing Education: Foundations for Practice Excellence. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis

September 21, 2021


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