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Understanding the Metaparadigm of Nursing Theories

Understanding the Metaparadigm of Nursing Theories

A metaparadigm refers to a conceptual outline, within which all related concepts and theories develop. It is an all-inclusive, encompassing unit. The metaparadigm of nursing would, hence, include and explain all the concepts and theories related to the field of nursing. Learn more about this concept with the help of this article.
Komal B. Patil
Jacqueline Fawcett developed the metaparadigm of nursing theory, which was later revised and improved upon by Basford and Slevin.

Fawcett describes a metaparadigm as "the global concepts that identify the phenomenon of central interest to a discipline, the global propositions that describe the concepts, and the global propositions that state the relation between or among concepts."
Nursing theory refers to the academic knowledge applied towards supporting the field of nursing, and it functions as a framework that is specifically designed to explain the various concepts and phenomenon related to nursing. Like any framework, it consists of a web of definitions, associations, assumptions, and theoretical models. Hence, the metaparadigm of nursing theories would include various frameworks based on the theories and phenomena associated with nursing and caring for patients.
The metaparadigm of nursing puts forward four key concepts that play a central role in the treatment and care of patients. These concepts define the way nursing is approached and carried out. They include - person, health, environment, and nursing.
Metaparadigm of Person

This paradigm deals with the way a person or an individual is treated. It refers to the sick person as a person/human instead of just as a patient. It does not exclusively mean one individual, but can refer to groups of people as well. These groups include the families or social groups associated with the sick individual. Each person is treated and regarded as unique and autonomous. It involves developing an empathetic attitude towards the person that is being treated, and to afford a humane behavior towards that individual. The person should in no way be treated as an object, in need of professional care and treatment.

Metaparadigm of Health

This paradigm states that the health of an individual is not an absolute, quantifiable value. Instead, it is a contextual value that requires a frame of reference. Among a random group of people, the definition of a healthy state or healthy day would vary from person to person, depending on the health conditions of each individual. The meaning of a healthy day for an Alzheimer's patient may not be the same for a normal healthy individual. Hence, health has to be considered as a relative term, and each individual must be examined and evaluated based on their own specific health norms and conditions, instead of a based on a generalized view. Also, all aspects of health must be evaluated and treated, which include physical health, psychological health, spiritual health, and social health.

Metaparadigm of Environment

It encompasses everything in the vicinity and surroundings of the individual during the course of the illness and the recovery from it. Environment includes all the factors that may have impacted the individual in any way. It not only includes the physical environment of the person, but also their mental state. The mental state of a person should not be underestimated or neglected, as the individual can fail to recover and keep declining in health if he is mentally stressed or unstable. Depression over any aspect of his life, has the potential to negate any and all effects of a treatment or therapy. For a person to recover well and swiftly from an illness, he should possess a desire for recovery. If not, such a desire should be instilled and inspired in him.

Metaparadigm of Nursing

This concept deals with the actual dispensation of patient care. The nurse providing the treatment should be compassionate and caring, and must display all the merits of a good nurse. She must gain an accurate medical history of the person and assess his condition. Based on this, she must diagnose the specific problem of the person. This should be followed by the formation and implementation of a treatment plan that would alleviate the person's affectation. Finally, the nurse must evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and decide on further course of treatment by consulting a doctor. All these steps must be carried out with a compassionate and empathetic attitude towards the affected individual.

Only by implementing and following these paradigms, can an individual be appropriately and effectively treated and nursed back to health. Irrespective of the type of nursing theory being applied, these four concepts play a key role in treating an individual while addressing the associated ethical and emotional perspectives, and hence are considered as the metaparadigm of nursing.