Application of nursing theory

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Research has indicated that the various nursing theories that areavailable were developed for the purposes of resolving various issuesand concerns that might encounter the nursing industry. Theresearchers or the developers of the various nursing theories carriedout thorough research and found out that there are various concernsin the nursing field that require the application of principles andconcepts in order to be resolved (Hamric et al., 2014). There arenumerous issues that face the nursing sector such as poor leadership,unsatisfied patients, privacy of patients’ information andfavoritism or bias in the workplace. These are issues that can beaddressed by the use or application of various nursing theories.

Benner’s Model of Skill Acquisition theory

This paper will look into the application of Benner’s Model ofSkill Acquisition theory. This is a theory that was developed by Dr.Patricia Benner in 1982. The theory asserts that the nurses acquireskills and knowledge through various stages from novice to expert.Patricia asserted that the practice by a nurse depended on experienceand time spent doing nursing activities. Nurses gain experience andskills the more they engage in nursing activities. The theory assertsthat there are five levels in learning and gaining experience fornurses from novice to expert (Benner, 2011). The novice level iswhere the nurse relies on rule and guidelines and they can hardlypredict what might happen in a nursing situation. They have little orno experience in nursing practice and they are nurses mainly nursesin the first year of nursing education. The advanced beginners arenurses who have noted some pattern in the situations they encounter.The nurses at this level have little experience that enables them torecognize the recurrent situational components. The competent nursesare in a position to plan for contingencies in the nursing field.They are nurses who have mastered the art of planning and thisenables them to be effective and organized in their work. Theproficient level in the skill acquisition is the level where thenurses can recognize and understand situations as a whole. They workand manage clinical nursing situation from experience. Proficientlevel allows nurses to make decisions quickly without laboring a lot(Benner, 2011). The last level is the expert level where nurses havethe ability to grasp the situation and specify the particular issuewith lots of diagnosis. These are nurses with enormous experience.The nurse does not rely on any analytic tool.

This paper looks at an issue in the nursing industry that can beresolved by applying the theory. The paper will then look at theapplication of Benner’s Model of Skill Acquisition theory toresolve the issue or concern at hand. Lastly, there will be aconclusion that comprises the key elements in the theory and itsapplication as well as the self reflection on the knowledge gainedregarding the theory and its application.

Description of the issue

The issue of leadership has various aspects one among thembeing the promotion of junior employees based on their experience andexpertise. The problem or issue presented here is bias in thepromotion of nurses. The nurse leader in this case is accused ofpromoting nurses who have no sufficient experience and who arebelieved to be leading other nurses considered to be above them interms of skills and experience. The nurse leader is accused ofpromoting the junior nurses who are from her race at the expense ofexperienced and qualified nurses from other races. This issue hasaffected greatly the motivation of all the nurses under the controlof this nurse leader. The nurses hardly feel comfortable at the workplace and the often ignore the instructions or guidelines from thepromoted nurses.

This is an issue that has affected the delivery of services at thehospital with numerous complaints from unsatisfied patients (Lundy &ampJanes, 2012). It is essential to state that the lack of effectiveleadership and the ethical issues surrounding this issue affectsdirectly, the delivery and the quality of care that the nurses offertheir patients.

It is essential for the nursing profession to care about the issueof bias in the promotion of nurses. It is vital to understand thatnurses with health issues and therefore the leaders need to have theessential skills in order to deliver quality care. It is also clearthat when nurses feel that they have been shortchanged and that thepromotions being done are based of favoritism, the loose themotivation and the urge or the passion to offer quality services tothe patients (Lundy &amp Janes, 2012). This reflects on thesatisfaction level of the patients. Additionally, the poorperformance by the nurses due to the low morale may compromise thecareers of such nurses. There have been instances where the nurseshave lost their jobs as a result of poor leadership and bias inappointments.

The issue of bias in nursing is common and occurs frequently. Thereare numerous reported complaints from registered nurses who assertthat the nurse leaders promote people on the basis of race and otherunethical basis as opposed to promoting people based on merit. Manyof the issues associated with poor performance and unsatisfiedpatients emanate from bias in leadership. Many nurse leaders are notaware of the effects that their decisions have on the overallperformance of the nurses and the hospitals where they work as awhole (Hamric et al., 2014). Appointments and promotions in nursingare supposed to be based on mainly skills and experience of thenurse. The highly experience and skilled nurses should be promoted tolead the less experienced nurses. However, literature has revealedthat there are numerous cases where the promotions are biased.

The issue of bias in the promotion of nurses affects the nurses, theleaders and the patients. It is clear that the disgruntled nurses whofeel shortchanged are adversely affected since they can no longer getsatisfaction from their jobs and they feel immense lack of motivation(Lindeman &amp McAthie, 2011). The promoted nurses are also affectedin terms of the poor cooperation they receive from the other nurses.The effects on the nurses precipitate to the patients who are therecipients of the poor quality services from the unwilling nurses.The nurse leaders are also affected by the bias as their workrelations with the other nurses is jeopardized.

Application of Benner’s Model of Skill Acquisition theory

The skill acquisition model can be applied in this situationwhere a leader nurse promotes people on the basis of race andfavoritism rather than on the basis of skill and experience. Thenursing leader needs to understand the progression of the skillslevels from the novice to the expert. It is essential for the leaderto understand that the nurses at the expert and proficient level arebest suited to lead and guide the nurses at the lower levels such asthe novice and the advanced beginner (Basavanthappa, 2014). The timethat the nurses have been practicing is also essential in theconsideration for promotion. The nurses who have served for a longtime are bound to have immense experiences with numerous clinicalnursing situations. By applying the skills levels while promotingnurses, theory will ensure that the nurses who deserve to be promotedget promoted. The application of the theory will also ensure that thebias is eliminated and the nurses are happy and satisfied with thepromotions made. This will not only boost their morale, but it willalso enhance the relationship between the nurses and their leader.

Strategy to be used

The strategy that should be used to resolve this issue of bias inappointments and promotions is the use of the skills’ levels as thebasis of promotions. It is essential to note that the promotionsbased on these skills levels will totally eliminate the bias. This isbecause the levels account for the skills, experience and the timethat the nurse has been serving. The nursing leader will need to lookat the skills and experiences of each and every nurse beforeconsidering the promotions. It is clear that the a nursing leaderwill have the knowledge and experience to determine the skills andexperiences of every nurse under her depending on the way such anurse handles various situations presented to her. There are thenurses at the novice level who will rely on rules and guidelines andthey do not have any experience whatsoever and therefore they cannotbe appointed for leadership positions.

On the contrary, the nurses at the expert of the proficient levelshould be considered first for promotions and for leadership roles.It is clear that these are nurses who have been in the service formore than three years and therefore they have sufficient experiencein handling various clinical nursing situations. The proficient andexpert nurses are in a position to make the right decisions andquicker decisions than the nurses in the lower levels such asadvanced beginner. Whereas the strategy will involve looking at theeducational background of the nurses, the level of skills andexperience should be given priority. The promotion of a nurse at alower level should only be for the sole reason of an absence of anurse with higher skills and experience. For instance, the promotionof a nurse with proficient skills should only be done if there is nonurse with more experience and skills at expert level.

The implementation of the strategy will be easy since the leadersresponsible for promotion will have the records of the skills and thelevels of each nurse. The leaders must also be clear on the time thateach nurse has been in service. The leaders will implement thisstrategy with assistance from the nurses. It is essential to notethat there are some nurses who might not be interested in leadingothers and therefore they should be eliminated from the list ofnurses for consideration. The implementation will start with theassessment of the skills and experiences of the nurses. This will befollowed by the consultation from the nurses to find out whether allthe nurses are satisfied with the application of the strategy toselect their leaders. The third step of the implementation willinvolve the selection of the leaders on the basis of their level ofskills and experience as stipulated by the skills acquisition theory.

The issue of bias in the promotion of nurses requires futureresearch to establish whether there are other underlying causes forthe issue. It is also essential for the future researchers toestablish other effects of bias in nursing appointments andpromotions (Taylor et al., 2012). It is essential to note that thereare other factors affecting bias rather than race and thereforefuture researchers should identify these factors. This will enablethe development of more strategies to deal with the issue.


The issue of bias in appointments is common and prevalent in nursingpractice. The appointments and promotion of nurses should be based onskills, experience and the education levels of the nurses. However,research has indicated that the promotion and or appointments arebeing made based on race and other forms of favoritism which isunethical. The Application of Benner’s Model of Skill Acquisitiontheory has proven that the promotions and appointments can be donewithout bias and to the satisfaction of all the parties. The theoryprovides skills levels that the leaders can use to appoint nurseleaders (Taylor et al., 2012). The levels are based on the experienceof the nurse and her ability to handle the various clinical nursingsituations presented to her. This research has been essential to mesince I have learnt that the application of the Benner’s Model ofSkill Acquisition theory can indeed resolve the problem of bias innurse appointments and promotion. The knowledge that I have gainedhas enabled me to realize that the problem of bias affects thepatients, as well as the quality of services offered.


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