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The Middle Range Theories in Healthcare Essay

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Researchers in different fields have developed numerous theories that help in explaining given phenomena as experienced by man. Most of the theories in sociology and psychology have proved quite applicable across disciplines due to their generalizability (McKenna, 2007). Most motivational theories, for instance, have been used to explain behaviors of employees in a working environment, students in learning institutions and so on.

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Robert Merton’s Middle Range Theory which has a sociological basis has been embraced by participants in the healthcare sector. The theory provides an understanding of the relationship between theoretical empirical investigations. Today, it is the most acknowledged theory by American sociologists (Peterson & Bredow, 2008). The essay focuses on the use of Middle Range Theory in the discipline of healthcare.

Scholars in the healthcare filed are constantly seeking to enhance the approaches of understanding health and the general well being of individuals, members of the family, and community population (McKenna, 2007). They have therefore taken it upon themselves to improve the science of healthcare service provision through intensive and extensive research and theoretical analysis. Most of the healthcare personnel have developed a unique interest in applying middle range theory in their practice as well as research. Books have been written and research findings published to encourage the use of middle range theories in healthcare.

According to Smith and Liehr (2008), it is important to understand the middle range theories and determine their applicability to the theory, practice and research in healthcare. Most of the middle range theories have been critiqued by healthcare scholars and made use of them in their day-to-day practice as well as their studies. Several middle range theories have been found to be applicable to the discipline of healthcare.

Middle range theories provide rich explanations of given phenomena that are associated with the caring-healing in healthcare (McKenna, 2007). The theory of self-transcendence, for instance, helps in understanding how aging or vulnerability forces human beings to evaluate their past, present, and the anticipated future with an aim of finding relevance in life. Seeking to develop metaphysical connections is also explained by this theory. This has significance implications for healthcare providers since it has to do with an individual’s well-being or recovery (Peterson & Bredow, 2008). The theory of uncertainty in illness is also useful when it comes to research in healthcare.

Aspects of this theory like the severity of illness, the nature (erratic) of the symptoms and the ambiguity of the symptoms play a crucial role in enhancing uncertainty in individuals (Smith & Liehr, 2008). Healthcare personnel have learnt that participatory and inclusive approach in the caring-healing process is necessary to ensure successful recovery of the patient. Friends and family members provide social support crucial in reducing uncertainty in illness.

The theory of meaning is another middle range theory that has been employed in the discipline of healthcare. The theory proposes that humans are in constant search of meaning. However, it is this search in futility that has been noted as the major cause of health problems in the modern age (Peterson & Bredow, 2008). Ill individuals are always seeking to understand the meaning of their suffering, pain, or loss. Healthcare service providers, therefore, should be in a position to help their clients find meaning of their conditions.

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The community empowerment theory advocates for the improvement of health in communities through the establishment of mutual relationships at individual and community levels (Smith & Liehr, 2008). This theory ensures that healthcare providers devise interventions that will help in meeting individual and community health needs. Hence, healthcare personnel should transfer their knowledge and skills of promoting/improving health to the members of the community so that they can be able to make informed choices on health matters.

Theory of management is a middle range theory that explains how individuals respond to changes in how they feel particularly when they are unusual (Smith & Liehr, 2008). Personnel in the healthcare sector should be in a position to understand their clients who are at this stage of illness manifestation and to give appropriate care.


McKenna, P. H. (2007). Understanding Nursing Models and Theories (3rd ed). London, Routledge, Pp. 144-146.

Peterson, S. J. & Bredow, T. S. (2008). Middle Range Theories: Application to Healthcare Research. Journal of Nursing, 5(3): 45-61.

Smith, M. J. & Liehr, P. R. (eds) (2008). Middle Range Theory for Healthcare (2nd ed). Bang Printing, NY.

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