Applied Theory: Imogene King and Laurence Kohlberg
Theory development and research have provided a framework and body of knowledge for nursing to maintain autonomy and improve quality of care. As early as the 1800s, nursing and non-nursing theorists had developed theories and models which are continually applied to nursing practice (KEEP OR GET RID OF?). Nursing theorist Imogene King developed the theory of goal attainment which focused on interacting systems that affected a person’s ability to attain goals (Frey, Sieloff, & Norris, 2002). Psychologist Laurence Kohlberg created the theory of stages of moral development which places moral reasoning and ethical behavior into six identifiable stages based on a person’s response to moral dilemmas (Kohlberg, 1984). Although King and Kohlberg created theories in different fields, nurses can utilize both to improve patient care. The purpose of this paper is to analyze both theories based on major precepts, usefulness, and application to nursing practice.
Description of Theories
Theory of Goal Attainment
King developed the theory of Goal Attainment based on her conceptual system for nursing practice in 1971 (MOSBY). She focused primarily on the ability to function in social roles and the assumption that the “focus of nursing is human beings interacting with their environment, leading to a state of health” (Alligood & Tomey, 2010, p. 292). She questioned the nature of nursing and concluded that “the way in which nurses, in their role, do with and for individuals... differentiates … [the nurse] from other health professionals” (Alligood & Tomey, 2010, p. 291). Using this principle, King observed nurse and patient interactions to design a model depicting theoretical principles which are then applied to individuals or groups’ ability to attain goals (Alligood & Tomey, 2010, p. 291). King identified the nurse and patient as persons interacting to achieve mutual goals through eight propositions which described the relationship of ten concepts: role, interaction, perception, communication, transaction, stress, growth and development, and time and space (Hanucharumkul, 1989; King MOSBY; Alligood & Tomey, p. 292). The interaction between these propositions would both predict and determine the success of goal attainment with the ultimate goal of improved well being of the patient.
King also utilized nursing’s four metaparadigm concepts: nursing, person, health, and environment which provided a foundation for the theory of goal attainment. Nursing metaparadigms provide a structural framework to strengthen conceptual theories and is used to generalize concepts and define a world of thought in simplistic terms (Alligood, 2014). The nursing metaparadigm specific to this theory focuses on interpersonal processes and interactions; person focuses on individuals as unique and holistic beings; health assumes that illness interferes with the life cycle; lastly environment focuses on how a person perceives the world...