Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay

Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay

Advancements in medical practice such as the use of medical technology for diagnosis and management of illnesses as well as the gradual population growth witnessed across the country needs individualized, prompt and highly skilled medical care.  It is for this reason that the nursing profession is urgently in need of reforms to fill the gap that currently exists between clinical practice and theory. Although there are a lot of controversies surrounding the existence of this gap, some of which are difficult to understand, the need to find strategies that meet human health needs is paramount. Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay. This paper discusses some of the gaps that exist in nursing theory and provides highly effective strategies which can be used to fill this gap to meet population health demands.


According to the Institute of Medicine, the quality of care delivered to American citizens is not only poor but also unsafe. Safety concerns have been associated with most healthcare organizations pushing towards making more profits as compared to providing high quality, efficient and effective care which results to good health outcomes (Institute of Medicine & Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing, 2011).   Based on this reasoning, it is strongly believed that most nursing programs only rush nursing students through their education and gets them released to provide services when they are not fully prepared or mastered some of the most important skills of creating a caring environment that is safe, culturally competent and patient-centered (Needham, McMurray & Shaban, 2016). Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay. Based on this finding, it is probably important to consider changing the roles of nurse instructors, educators and nursing schools to provide training that imparts the mastery of skills, creativity, and knowledge which can be applied in clinical care to help fill the gap in nursing theory and practice.

Another approach of filling the gap in theory and practice as proposed by Dubé & Ducharme (2015) is embracing evidence-based practice through a constructivist approach in learning and teaching. Evidence-based practice is today a goal-standard of nursing care in clinical practice which is the reason that most education and healthcare institutions have shifted their focus to evidence-based research. A similar approach is proposed by Needham, McMurray & Shaban (2016) in an attempt to meet the healthcare demands in this century. They clearly outline that, academic strategies which focus on introducing EBP   in BSN nursing should be implemented in the preparation of nurses in the future. EBP involves reflective practice; problem-based learning and experimental learning which create a good foundation for nurses in active clinical practice (Dubé & Ducharme, 2015). With this approach, the gap in nursing theory and clinical practice can slowly be bridged since nurses will be able to apply some of the most present frameworks in obtaining and applying knowledge. Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay.

Hatlevik (2012) outlines the recent advancements in the use of technology in medical practice and how important it is for healthcare organizations to integrate the use of EHRs systems in daily clinical practice. EHRs systems have numerous clinical advantages such as the provision of accurate, complete and up-to-date information at the point of care, more-coordinated and quick access to patient records, more reliable diagnoses and prescribing, improved work-life balance and productivity (Hatlevik, 2012). Collectively, the use of EHRs systems leads to reduced healthcare costs by improving safety, reducing paperwork and reducing the duplication of tests which improves care. He, however, notes that the ability of healthcare organizations to integrate EHRs systems in clinical practice has majorly been hindered by gaps in the classroom. Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay.  Most nursing training programs fail to train nurses in computer systems to acquire the knowledge and skills that would be necessary for applying in the clinical setting (Hatlevik, 2012).  Therefore, upon the completion of training, they are not familiar with basic knowledge in computer systems which they are supposed to work with.

On the conflicting side, Sellman (2010) strongly advises that the gap that exists between nursing theory and practice should not only be appreciated but also preserved and respected. Although the majority in the nursing profession feels that nursing practice and theory ought to be synonymous, he highlights that when the variations between the two are not recognized, the essential differences can easily be forgotten. The differences discussed in this case is that when a theory is applied in classroom settings, it takes away the significance of clinical adaptations as well as the essence of theory on its own. Sellman (2010) is certain that there is a reason for the existence of this gap since practice and theory are totally two separate schools in terms of implementation and thoughts. From a personal perspective, I clearly understand Sellman’s argument but it’s not practical given the changing nature of nursing practice and the recommendations provided by the Institute of Medicine in their report Leading Change

In conclusion, I feel that there is an urgent need for stakeholders in the health sector, the policymakers in the education sector, professional nursing organizations and nurses to work towards bridging the gap that exists between nursing theory and practice. Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay. Apart from using simulations and administering knowledge-based assessments, nurse educators and clinical preceptors should consider molding nursing students to meet the standards recommended by the Institute of Medicine such that they will be able to embrace EBP and apply knowledge and skills learned in class to the clinical setting. When the significance of a coinciding nursing theory and clinical practice is understood is understood, nurses will be able to achieve some extent and sense of realism and be practical in daily practice. Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay.


Dubé, V., & Ducharme, F. (2015). Nursing reflective practice: An empirical literature. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice5(7).

Hatlevik, I. K. R. (2012). The theory‐practice relationship: reflective skills and theoretical knowledge as key factors in bridging the gap between theory and practice in initial nursing education. Journal of advanced nursing68(4), 868-877.

Institute of Medicine (US). Committee on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Initiative on the Future of Nursing. (2011). The future of nursing: Leading change, advancing health. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Needham, J., McMurray, A., & Shaban, R. Z. (2016). Best practice in clinical facilitation of undergraduate nursing students. Nurse education in practice20, 131-138.

Sellman, D. (2010). Mind the gap: philosophy, theory, and practice. Nursing Philosophy11(2), 85-87. Theory Practice Gap Nursing Essay

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