Sample Nursing Conceptual Model and Nursing Theory

There is a difference between nursing conceptual models and nursing theories, and therefore, they cannot be used interchangeably. A conceptual model is a representation of various concepts from which one can understand how a system works. In the nursing profession, this model is a guide or framework that defines how the entire practice works. A common concept is the metaparadigm, which is a guide on how to research and utilize nursing knowledge. The nursing metaparadigms include the person or patient, environment, health, and nursing (goals, roles, and functions).

On the other hand, a nursing theory denotes the basis for beliefs, values, goals, and skills applied during management, investigation, and decision making. Three types of theories exist and are differentiated by the scope of their application, namely, the grand nursing theories, the mid-range nursing theories, and the nursing practice theories.

A prevailing theory, though shared with other professions, is the patient or person-centered approach. The model posits that the patient’s autonomy should be respected and that trust and therapeutic relationships should be formed. For example, if a patient has been involved in a fatal accident, an amputation is the best option. Despite the condition and the patient management plan recommended, decisions should be made collaboratively with the patient (Olsson, Jakobsson Ung, Swedberg, & Ekman, 2013). Designing a treatment plan together with the patient promotes their confidence and trust in the treatment. Translating this theory into practice has been proven challenging with regard to the patient’s active role. Nonetheless, the approach is effective as it ensures that all the patients’ physical and emotional needs are taken care of, guaranteeing a good prognosis and patient satisfaction in the delivery of care.



Olsson, L. E., Jakobsson Ung, E., Swedberg, K., & Ekman, I. (2013). Efficacy of person‐centred care as an intervention in controlled trials–a systematic review. Journal of Clinical Nursing22(3-4), 456-465.