Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science


Grounded theory, nursing, nursing theory


Through the use of grounded theory, educational methods most useful for nurses to achieve a perspective transformation, as exemplified by learning nursing theory were examined. Perspective transformation is a theory originally developed by Mezirow (1978) in a study of older women returning to college for additional education. Mezirow defined perspective transformation as the alteration or change of meaning perspectives. Perspective transformation in an individual can be compared to a paradigm change within a scientific community. Within the nursing literature on perspective transformation, most articles related to the perspective transformation needed for nurses to learn to use nursing theory as the framework for patient care. Little has been written on how nurses learn nursing theory, none found from the perspective of the learner. The experiences of 21 working nurses who had made a perspective transformation by learning nursing theory and practicing within a nursing theoretical framework were examined. One hour interviews were taped and transcribed. Data were coded using Level 1 open coding, Level 2 axial coding, and Level 3 selective coding. Study findings indicated that nurses achieving perspective transformation go through three nonlinear stages: (a) becoming aware, (b) developing meaning, and (c) perspective transformation. Those evolving beyond perspective transformation to self-actualization go through a fourth stage. During this stage, they combined theoretical models to create a personal nursing model for patient care. Nursing needs to operate within its own theoretical base. Nursing theory helps describe, explain, predict, or prescribe the phenomenon that are the reality of nursing. This study is important because it examined the most useful methods to help nurses learn nursing theory, incorporate theory into practice, and achieve perspective transformation. Future research studies should continue to pursue: (a) how to help nurses learn to incorporate nursing theoretical models into practice, (b) how to encourage organizational support of nursing theoretical frameworks, (c) satisfaction of patients cared for within the framework of nursing theoretical models, (d) the improvement of patient care through the use of nursing theory in practice, and (e) the professional growth of nurses practicing through the use of nursing theoretical frameworks.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons