It is difficult for me to choose a single grand nursing theory to wrap my practice around. After years of studying nursing theory, both as part of required coursework and as ongoing intellectual entertainment, I have yet to find a Nursing Grand Theory that comes close to fitting my own worldview. I have read the works of many of the Grand Dames of nursing theory, and from most I have gleaned useful concepts, ideas, and philosophies that have informed (and improved) my nursing practice. But I do not feel entirely comfortable with any one theory to the extent that I can base my entire practice on it. No one theory yet holds the answers for me.

While exploring, reading, and discussing nursing theory with fellow nursing students in the past, and in the present with a collegial group of nursing friends who are admitted theory geeks, I have been encouraged to analyze, encode, and verbalize my own views. To me, nursing theory is neither static nor immutable. Nursing theories, my own included, change, develop, and evolve, becoming (with luck and work) more useful, practical, and elegant as time passes.

A very good friend of mine is a nurse practitioner, nursing scholar and an unabashed Rogerian, and she believes that at the core I am one as well. She and I discuss pattern recognition whenever we get together, and that remains one area where I do feel that I recognize the intent and usefulness of Martha Rogers’ theorizing. I am unable, however, to buy into her many of her theoretical constructs, such as pandimensionality, unitary energy fields, and therapeutic touch. I place my faith in what I can see and feel, and my feet are firmly planted in three dimensions. A fourth all-encompassing dimension in which humans interact as energy-beings is one I can’t rationalize, and therefore I am unable to integrate that Rogers concept into my practice. In addition, while many nurses today have become expert in the use of physical therapeutic touch as a means to bond with and help their patients heal, Martha Rogers’ “laying on of the hands” to repattern a patient’s energy fields without touching that patient’s body is just too much of a stretch for this skeptic.

To be continued …