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Nursing Resources: Nursing Theory

About This Page

Nursing theories are theoretical frameworks that aim to explain the nursing profession. They are typically divided into three categories (click for examples):

Off-Campus Access

The small lock icon office campus lock icon beside a link indicates this is an online library resource.  When you click on the resource link from off-campus you'll be redirected to a login page. Login using your MacID and password to access the content.

Starting Points

These textbook-style resources are a great starting point for learning about different nursing theories/theorists!

Searching CINAHL

A number of subject terms in CINAHL LibAccess Icon (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature) will lead you to academic journal articles covering nursing theory/theorists.  If you have specific theory/theorist in mind:

  • Search for "nursing models, theoretical", ensuring that the Suggest Subject Terms option is selected. 
  • Click on the subject term ("nursing models, theoretical") to reveal narrower terms covering specific nursing theories (e.g. Henderson Nursing Model, Nueman Systems Model, etc). 
  • Use the checkbox to select the theory/theorist of interest and add it to your search history.
  • Add supplementary subject terms or keywords to narrow your search futher.
  • Click here for an illustrated example.

If you don't have a specific nursing theory in mind, try using some of these more general subject terms to start your search:

  • nursing theory
  • philosophy, nursing
  • nursing as profession
  • nursing practice, theory based

See our CINAHL tutorial for tips on combining these broad subject terms with more precise keywords.

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