Middle Range Theory for Nursing


Nursing theories offer an organized and systematic way to address issues in nursing and help nurses describe, predict, explain and control phenomena related to their practice. Middle-range theories are considered the second level on a continuum from the most to the least abstract.

Nurses together
Nurses together (Image: Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)


Middle range theories focus on concepts that thoughtful nurses want to explore, such as pain, grief and comfort.

Nurse and patient
Nurse and patient (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)


Examples of middle-range theories include Sister Calista Roy’s Theory of the Person as an Adaptive System, Kathy Kolcaba's Comfort Theory, Martha Roger’s Theory of Accelerating Change, and Hildegard Peplau’s Application of Interpersonal Theory in Nursing Practice.

Nurse holding patients hand
Nurse holding patients hand (Image: Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Adaptation Model

Roy's Adaptation Model helped form the foundation for patient involvement in the care process as a partner with the nurse. It fits with today's empowered-consumer model of health care.

Happy nurse with patient
Happy nurse with patient (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Comfort Theory

Kolcaba's Comfort Theory has a different focus, defining comfort as having needs met in physical, psychospiritual, social and environmental contexts. It is one of the underpinnings of today's family-centered models of care.

Nurse, homecare
Nurse, homecare (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)


Middle-range theories are appealing because they are abstract enough to be of interest to scientific-minded nurses yet easy to apply in practice.

Nurse working on computer
Nurse working on computer (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

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