Critique of Nursing Theories Essay

Critique of Nursing Theories Essay

Both theories (helping art of nursing and moral reckoning) and their interconnected concepts and models have been clearly defined. The theories are used to explain the experiences nurses face during patient care and their interactions with patients. The helping art of nursing theory by Wiedenbach argues that nursing practice involves recognizing the need of the patient for help by observing the manifesting symptoms and behaviors, exploring the symptoms, and determining the cause of the pain or discomfort and how the issues can be addressed. On the other hand, the moral reckoning theory by Nathaniel (2006) clarifies the experiences and the consequent effects of nursing situations that are morally distressing, including moral reckoning.Critique of Nursing Theories Essay.  For example, nurses who face a morally distressing situation may leave bedside nursing and pursue a role that reduces the frequency of such morally distressing situations.

In terms of clarity, the helping art of nursing theory is clear and easy to understand because the theory is succinctly and briefly defined. Additionally, Wiedenbach (1963) presents the theory sequentially, where each paragraph addresses a different concept. The moral reckoning theory is relatively detailed, with some redundant paragraphs. However, a concept diagram is used to clearly explain the theory’s conceptual framework.

Regarding simplicity, while the helping art of nursing theory has few concepts and this makes it straightforward. The moral reckoning theory has many concepts, making it complex and thus it takes much effort to grasp the content. In terms of parsimony, both theories are comparatively wordy because both authors use many descriptions and words to explain concepts (Risjord, 2019).


Nathaniel, A. K. (2006). Moral reckoning in nursing. Western Journal of Nursing Research, 28(4), 419-438. doi: 10.1177/0193945905284727

Risjord, M. (2019). Middle‐range theories as models: New criteria for analysis and evaluation. Nursing Philosophy, 20(1), e12225.

Wiedenbach, E. (1963). The helping art of nursing. American Journal of Nursing63(11),54-57.

The practice of nursing requires balancing thoughts, feelings, and moral distress with professional, institutional, personal, and legal constraints.  Frequent internal dilemma for nurses can contribute to high turnover rates, low job satisfaction rates, and burnout.  It is imperative that nursing leadership understands and explores how patient’s needs and nurse’s moral reckoning are important to positive patient outcomes.  Critique of Nursing Theories Essay.

According to Chinn and Kramer (2018), grand theories are broad theories that can be applied to a wide range of nursing situations.  Middle-range theories are more focused on specific circumstances (Chinn and Kramer, 2018). This presentation will critique Ernestine Wiedenbach’s grand theory, the Helping Art of Nursing (1963), and Alvita Nathaniel’s middle-range theory of Moral Reckoning in Nursing (2006).

The helping art of nursing and moral reckoning in nurses both require the nurse to evaluate thoughts and experiences to then guide clinical practice.  The grand theory of the helping art of nursing applies to the needs of the patient, while the middle-range theory of moral reckoning in nursing describes the steps of a nurse’s experience and how that affects clinical practice.

This presentation helps to establish that the helping art of nursing and moral reckoning in nursing are both theories that can guide nurses in practice and can provoke additional nursing research and utilization by nurse leaders.  In turn, this will contribute to a better understanding of nurses’ experiences and, therefore, better patient outcomes.


Chinn, P. L., & Kramer, M. K. (2018). Knowledge development in nursing: Theory and process (10th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Nathaniel A. K. (2006). Moral reckoning in nursing. Western journal of nursing research28(4), 419–448.

Wiedenbach, E. (1963). The helping art of nursing. American Journal of Nursing63(11),54-57. Retrieved from . Critique of Nursing Theories Essay.