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Nursing Resources

Nursing Theory

Finding nursing theory based articles can be quite difficult. The pages below have collected information about nursing theories and theorists. Try the strategies below to increase the likelihood of discovering the articles you need. If you need additional help, please contact Maribeth for an appointment.

The book Middle Range Theory in Nursing, can be a helpful place to start. You can use it electronically by signing in to the UA network if you are not already signed it. You can also try looking up the nursing theorist you are interested in using Library Search and their name as an author.

Searching for theory-related nursing articles

To locate articles that apply nursing theory to research and practice, search the CINAHL database or the PubMed database.

Searching CINAHL for nursing theories

• Look in the CINAHL thesaurus for Nursing Theory or Theoretical Nursing Models subject headings.

• Search for the name of the theory by putting it in quotes, e.g. "UCSF Symptom Management Theory" or "Symptom Management Theory".

• Do an author search for articles written by a specific theorist (e.g. Dorothea Orem).

• Try a focused subject search on the specific theory you need. CINAHL has subject headings for different theoretical models including Orem Self-Care Model, Roy Adaptation Model, Watson's Theory of Caring, etc.

• To narrow your search, combine a nursing theory subject heading with another subject heading. For example, if you need information on Orem's theory and patients with cancer, combine the two subject headings of Orem Self-Care Model and Cancer Patients. This may be TOO narrow so be prepared to broaden your search.

If you are searching PubMed, you can use the steps above for CINAHL searching to find nursing theory articles. The MeSH subject headings in PubMed are Nursing Theory or Nursing Model - combine them with OR plus distinctive words from the theory name for the best results.