Understanding the definitions of model, theory, framework, and philosophy is critical when conducting research. It is also important to understand how each of these terms relates to each other in relation to nursing knowledge. Ivey (2015) states the meaning of model is a “verbal or graphic representation of an idea or set of ideas.” Models assist in the visualization of theories that have been created.

The concept of theory is more difficult to understand and explain. According to Butts, 2014, the meaning of theory is “presupposing simplistic, reduced accounts of a seemingly rich phenomenon, and on the other hand, offering abstract, complicated and intelligible answers” (p. 71). Theory development can be difficult but begins with a nurse seeking a deeper understanding of a phenomenon and to provide a deeper understanding for fellow nurses.

According to Meehan (2012), nursing philosophy “balances attentive tenderness in nurse-patient relationships with clinical skill and judgement” (p. 2905). Philosophies often provide guidelines in providing patient care. As nursing grows as a profession, the development of philosophies also continues to occur. Nursing has diversified as much as the medical profession and each area of nursing is in need of philosophies to assist in providing quality nursing care.


Butts, J.B., & Rich, K.L. (2015). Philosophies and theories for advanced nursing practice (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning.

Ivey, J. (2015). Demystifying research. How important is a conceptual framework? Pediatric Nursing, 41(3), 145-15.

Meehan, T.C. (2012). The careful nursing philosophy and professional practice model. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 21(19/20), 2905-2916. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04214.x.

Dr. Leffel