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NU 601: Nursing Theory

Resources about nursing theory and theorists

How to search databases for nurse theorists and theory

Use the following subject terms when searching CINAHL

  • Nurse theorists
  • Nursing models, theoretical
  • Nursing theory

Use the theorist's name as a keyword, then click 'suggest subject terms' to find the CINAHL heading

  • Corbin will find Corbin and Strauss Chronic Illness Trajectory Framework
  • Nightingale will find Nightingale's Nursing Theory
  • Peplau will find Peplau Interpersonal Relations Model


For more specific information, use the following CINAHL Headings (subject terms) to find articles on various nursing models/theories.

  • Benner's Professional Advancement Model
  • Corbin and Strauss Chronic Illness Trajectory Framework
  • Cox Interaction Model of Client Health Behavior
  • Fitzpatrick Life Perspective
  • Gordon's Functional Health Patterns
  • Henderson Nursing Model
  • Johnson Behavioral System Model
  • King Open Systems Model
  • Leininger's Theory of Culture Care Diversity and Universality
  • Leventhal and Johnson's Theory of Self-Regulation
  • Levine Conservation Model
  • Marker Nursing Model
  • Mishel Uncertainty in Illness Theory
  • Neuman Systems Model
  • Newman Health Model
  • Nightingale's Nursing Theory
  • Orem Self-Care Model
  • Orlando's Theory of the Deliberative Nursing Process
  • Parse's Theory of Human Becoming
  • Paterson and Zderad's Theory of Humanistic Nursing
  • Pender Health Promotion Model
  • Peplau Interpersonal Relations Model
  • Rogers Science of Unitary Human Beings
  • Roper's Activities of Living Model
  • Roy Adaptation Model
  • Rubin's Theory of Maternal Identity
  • Synergy Model
  • Watson's Theory of Caring
  • Wiedenbach's Theory

Recommended Databases

Locating Nursing Theory Information

Biographical Encyclopedia Articles

Articles from the Salem Press Biographical Dictionary can be accessed through PowerSearch by entering the name of the nurse theorist.  Most, but not all, theorists have entries.  (Some contemporary theorists, such as Rosemarie Parse and Martha Rogers are not listed in this dictionary).


Note: Encyclopedia articles are best used as background information, as an overview, a way of understanding your topic.  While helpful, they are not considered scholarly, peer-reviewed sources. 


Nursology: Nurse Scholars & Their Work

NEW! As of September, 2018... is a web site for nurse scholars, developed and maintained by nurse scholars. Specifically, the web site is a repository for resources about nursing conceptual models, grand theories, middle-range theories, and situation-specific theories, and associated methodologies. 

Nursing Theory Websites

The resources listed below are free and a helpful way to find general information about nursing theory .  However be aware that some links are better than others, and most are not considered scholarly.  Some nursing theorists have web pages at the universities where they work.  These are reliable sources of information.  Always consider the source of information.   Ask who sponsors or funds a web site?