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Nursing Theory and Professional Identity: Fostering Pride and Purpose in the Nursing Profession

Chong Wang*

Department of Nursing, Peking University, Beijing 100191, China

*Corresponding Author:
Chong Wang
Department of Nursing
Peking University
Beijing 100191, China

Received: 01 September, 2023, Manuscript No. jnhs-23-117081; Editor Assigned: 04 September, 2023, Pre QC No. P-117081; Reviewed: 15 September, 2023, QC No. Q-117081; Revised: 20 September, 2023, Manuscript No. R-117081; Published: 28 September, 2023, DOI: 10.4172/ JNHS.2023.9.5.104

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Nursing theory plays a pivotal role in shaping the professional identity of nurses. It provides the framework upon which nursing practice is built, guiding nurses in their interactions with patients, colleagues and the healthcare system. This article explores the profound impact of nursing theory on the formation of professional identity within the nursing profession. By examining the intersection between theoretical knowledge and practical application, we can understand how nursing theories foster pride and purpose among nurses, contributing to their sense of professional belonging and fulfillment. At the core of nursing theory lies the essence of what it means to be a nurse. The theories developed by nursing pioneers like Florence Nightingale, Virginia Henderson and Jean Watson provide nurses with a structured approach to patient care, emphasizing holistic assessment, therapeutic communication and compassionate intervention. By internalizing these theories, nurses not only enhance their clinical expertise but also imbue their practice with the values of empathy, dignity and respect.


Fostering pride, Nursing theory, Therapeutic communication


Nursing theories serve as a beacon, guiding nurses in providing high-quality, patient-centered care and nurturing the fundamental aspects of their professional identity. Nursing theories emphasize the individuality of each patient, recognizing them as unique beings with distinct needs and preferences. The application of theories like Hildegard Peplau’s Interpersonal Relations Theory ensures that nurses establish meaningful connections with patients. By embracing the principles of therapeutic communication and active listening, nurses create a safe space where patients feel heard and valued. This personalized approach not only enhances patient outcomes but also fosters a sense of professional pride among nurses. The ability to make a difference in the lives of patients, to provide comfort and solace during times of vulnerability, strengthens the nurse’s professional identity, instilling a deep sense of purpose in their work[1]. Nursing theories are intertwined with ethical principles, guiding nurses in making morally sound decisions in complex situations.

Ethical frameworks like the principle of beneficence and the concept of advocacy are deeply rooted in nursing theories. When nurses uphold these principles, they not only ensure the well-being of their patients but also cultivate a strong sense of professional integrity. The trust that patients and their families place in nurses is a testament to the ethical foundation of the profession. Upholding these ethical standards not only reinforces professional identity but also instills a profound sense of pride in being part of a respected and trusted profession. Nursing theories not only inform patient care but also inspire nurses to be advocates for social justice and healthcare equity. Theories such as the Social Determinants of Health model and Madeleine Leininger’s Culture Care Theory highlight the influence of social, economic and cultural factors on health outcomes. Armed with this knowledge, nurses become champions for vulnerable populations, advocating for policies and practices that promote health equity. Engaging in advocacy not only enhances the nurse’s professional identity as a change agent but also fosters a sense of purpose by contributing to broader societal well-being.


Nursing theories are dynamic, evolving with advancements in healthcare research and technology. Embracing these changes requires nurses to engage in continuous education and professional development. By staying abreast of the latest developments in nursing theories and integrating this knowledge into practice, nurses foster a sense of professional pride in their expertise. Lifelong learning not only ensures the delivery of evidence-based care but also enriches the nurse’s professional identity as a knowledgeable and skilled healthcare provider. Nursing theories are not abstract concepts; they are the foundation upon which the nursing profession stands[2,3]. As nurses internalize these theories, they become more than healthcare providers; they become advocates, caregivers and leaders. Nursing theories foster pride by grounding nurses in a rich tradition of compassionate care, ethical decision-making and advocacy for social justice. They instill a profound sense of purpose by providing nurses with the knowledge and tools to make a meaningful difference in the lives of their patients and communities.

In a world where healthcare is constantly evolving, nursing theories serve as the steadfast anchor, reminding nurses of their essential role in healing, comforting and advocating for those in need. By embracing nursing theories, nurses not only shape their professional identity but also contribute to the collective identity of the nursing profession—a profession defined by pride, purpose and an unwavering commitment to the well-being of humanity. Nursing theories provide a solid foundation for leadership and innovation within the profession. Transformational leadership theories, such as those advocated by Dorothea Orem, empower nurses to become change agents in healthcare. By applying these theories, nurses can inspire their colleagues, fostering a collaborative environment where ideas are shared and innovative solutions are cultivated. This transformative approach not only enriches the nursing profession but also propels healthcare systems forward, ensuring that nursing remains at the forefront of advancements and improvements in patient care.

Innovative thinking, encouraged by nursing theories, enables nurses to tackle complex challenges. Integrating theories like the Systems Theory into problem-solving processes helps nurses comprehend the interconnectedness of healthcare components. This understanding facilitates creative solutions, encouraging nurses to approach problems holistically and implement changes that have far-reaching positive effects. By harnessing the power of innovation, nurses embrace their professional identity as pioneers and visionaries, shaping the future landscape of healthcare. Nursing theories provide a strong framework for nursing education and mentorship, ensuring that future generations of nurses are equipped with the knowledge and values necessary to uphold the profession’s standards. By integrating these theories into curricula, nursing education becomes not only informative but transformative, shaping students into critical thinkers, empathetic caregivers and ethical practitioners.

Mentorship, a cornerstone of nursing, is deeply rooted in nursing theories such as Patricia Benner’s Novice to Expert theory. Experienced nurses, guided by these theories, serve as mentors, imparting their wisdom, skills and values to novice nurses[4,5]. Through mentorship, nurses pass on not just technical expertise but also the essence of nursing—the compassion, resilience and ethical integrity that define the profession. In doing so, they foster a sense of pride and purpose in the next generation, ensuring the continuity of excellence within the nursing community.


Nursing theories are not static doctrines; they are dynamic, evolving principles that shape the multifaceted professional identity of nurses. As nurses internalize these theories, they become adaptable, resilient and compassionate healthcare professionals. Their professional identity extends beyond the clinical setting; it encompasses advocacy, leadership, education and innovation. Nursing theories provide nurses with the compass to navigate the complexities of healthcare, fostering pride in their profession and a profound sense of purpose in their work. In the ever-changing landscape of healthcare, nursing theories remain the constant, grounding nurses in their mission to provide high-quality, patient-centered care. By embracing these theories, nurses continue to uphold the noble tradition of nursing while pioneering new paths, ensuring that the profession remains not just relevant but indispensable in the pursuit of global health and well-being.



Conflict of Interest



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