Discuss the difference between a nursing conceptual model and a nursing theory


Select a nursing theory used in health care and provide a concise summary of it.

Provide an example of how this nursing theory would be effective in managing client care.


 Nursing Conceptual Model Vs. Nursing Theory

While there is a difference between nursing theory and conceptual model, sometimes they are confused to mean the same. However, they are crucial within the health sector, more so in nursing, as they are utilized to ensure adequate care delivery. Nursing theory and conceptual framework are used together or separately in formulating policies and treatment processes for diverse patients. This essay discusses the differences between nursing theory and the conceptual model, a nursing theory example and its application in managing care.

A conceptual model is a framework that provides a definite and organized structure, design, concepts and related ideas in research. At the same time, a theory is an essential foundation of an action that defines a phenomenon (Pajnkihar et al., 2017). A nursing model provides direction in the study within the field (nursing). According to Brandão et al. (2019), nursing theory refers to a statement that describes the primary connection between ideas in the nursing practice. Theories are adopted and utilized to enhance quality healthcare and nursing service delivery. They are knowledge-founded concepts which define the aspect of nursing practice. The conceptual model on its side presents a description of a definite way of thinking or ideas, hence the structure that organizes a theory.

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There exists different nursing theory playing diverse roles in the field. One of the familiar and essential nursing theories is the Theory of Human Caring by Jean Watson. This nursing theory recognizes and stresses that all patients are unique. Hence, the nurse should provide care based on their uniqueness and progress rather than basing their care on a general assessment (Jean Watson, 2016). The theory emphasizes the need to recognize humans as beings and not as objects; hence cannot be separated from self, nature, others and the nursing workforce. With increased focus on patient-based care, the theory has been an essential foundation in establishing and addressing diverse patient uniqueness and needs, providing continuous care. According to Jean Watson (2016), the human caring approach has led to adopting the idea that nurses should be more attentive and aware during interaction with their patients to allow more effective and continuous care denoted by a deeper patient-nurse connection. For example, a nurse professional taking time to understand patient needs, cultural facets, background, religious beliefs and preferences helps give them based and unique patient-based care. This, in turn, helps overcome barriers to interpersonal relations between a patient and the nurse, hence the optimistic impact of care.



Brandão, M. A. G., Barros, A. L. B. L. D., Caniçali Primo, C., Bispo, G. S., & Lopes, R. O. P. (2019). Nursing theories in the conceptual expansion of good practices in nursing. Revista Brasileira de Enfermagem, 72(2), 577–581. https://doi.org/10.1590/0034-7167-2018-0395

Jean Watson. (2016, June 14). Nursing Theory. Retrieved August 24, 2022, from https://nursing-theory.org/nursing-theorists/Jean-Watson.php

Pajnkihar, M., Štiglic, G., & Vrbnjak, D. (2017). The concept of Watson’s carative factors in nursing and their (dis)harmony with patient satisfaction. PeerJ, 5, e2940. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.2940

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