The concept that will be presented in this paper is extracted from Virginia Henderson’s Nursing Need Theory (Ahtisham & Jacoline, 2015). This theory emphasizes the fact that the patient’s independence directly influences the successes that they make after their hospitalization. The core idea is that any patient must realize their potential to overcome their disease and successfully recover from it after they are released from the hospital. Many components form this theory and concepts that provide the direction that it takes to develop and improve. One of these concepts is the environment. It describes the setting in which the patient is put and the conditions that this setting must meet to increase their recovery chances and rates. Numerous factors are contributing to the healthy environment including families, equipment, nurses’ attention, and care, etc. This paper will analyze the concept of environment in seven separate parts. These parts are explanation, literature review, the definition of attributes, presentation of an antecedent and consequence, empirical referents, model, and alternative cases.
Explanation of the Concept
The concept itself is rather simple to grasp. The environment, according to the Theory of Needs author, Virginia Henderson, is the setting in which the patient resides. However, the author did not explicitly state what the environment represents focusing more on what the role of the nurse is and what are the primary needs of any patient (Smith & Parker, 2015). Nevertheless, the essentials of this concept are provided. These are the state of premises in which the patient is put, the amount of attention provided to them, the quality of used equipment, and the ability of caring personnel to make sure that the patient’s needs are satisfied and their condition is always monitored and improved.
The role of this concept did not stand out from other important concepts of the time when it was offered by Henderson. However, as Florence Nightingale’s theory received more and more recognition, the environment as a concept of nursing began to experience new growth, thus pushing the development of the general nursing theory. The earlier dominating focus on diseases and means of their prevention and elimination was at least partially replaced by the goal of creating a healthier and more supportive environment. These achievements gave birth to what now is known as nursing and care.
It is hard to overestimate environment as an independent concept; it is substantially harder to cast aside the impact that it has on the nursing of the modern-day. After all, the primary goal of nursing now is to create an environment in which the treatment proceeds, while also providing support, care, and possibilities to soothe the patient’s discomfort. All of these elements form a healthy and positive environment that is necessary for a quick and efficient recovery. Furthermore, an adequately established environment provides the patient with a possibility to realize that their future recovery mostly depends on how well they can re-create the environment in which they resided in the hospital. Thus, the importance of the concept is established.
The concept of patient environment is often referred to in the framework of patient safety. This concept is also influenced by several different factors. For example, Tella et al. (2014) provide research on the impact that nursing education has on patient safety and, therefore, the environment in which they are placed. Kirwan and Matthews (2013) also state that “The importance of ward-level nurse factors such as nurse education level and the work environment should be recognized and manipulated as important influences on patient safety” (p. 253). However, it is also often stated that the patient safety climate (and the environment they are in) do not result in better patient outcomes (Ausserhofer et al., 2013).
As already stated, this concept only received a somewhat decent coverage on its own much earlier in the development of nursing theory. As of now, the concept of environment is mostly used in a framework of other theories, practices, and concepts. It is interesting to notice that the environment as a concept began to shift from focusing on the patient to focusing on nurses and other health care institutions’ staff. The examples of this emphasis on the practicing and working environment are provided above.
However, the patient environment was not completely abandoned and is mostly reviewed by researchers in the framework of Nightingale’s theory. For example, the fifth chapter of the book Nursing Theory: Utilization & Application by Bolton (2013) dwells on the topic of the impact that Nightingale’s theory had earlier and the legacy it left. It is important to understand why the concept of the environment was so significantly covered by Nightingale and did not receive as much attention from Henderson. Florence Nightingale’s Environmental Theory provides a significant number of details explaining what the environment is when it is safe and healthy, and what factors influence its state (Medeiros, Enders, & Lira, 2015). It is important to note that the primary component of this theory is the environment, which was not the case for Henderson’s work. This partly explains why the environment is not represented in the modern nursing research literature on its own all that well.