The “theory-practice gap,” as some have called it, has prevented our profession from full utilization of its knowledge base in practice, and has impeded the view of nursing as a theoretically based discipline, to its detriment. There are distinctly different viewpoints to this argument, based on the different perspectives of academics and theoreticians on the one hand and that of practitioners on the other. Being honest about your reaction, and applying critical thinking skills to the question, where do you stand on the issue, and why?
Scully (2011) suggests that “theory-gap practice” refers to a problem that nursing professionals encounter when they match the textbook definitions and descriptions of a given clinical situation in the real scenario. Arguably, it is evident that some nurses are conversant with and have proficiency in the theoretical discussion of pathophysiology, formulating care, as well as initiating a treatment rationale, conversely, they experience difficulty during practice. Alternatively, there are those nurses who are good at practice, but they find it hard to excel in theoretical discussions.
In a recap of these issues, research suggests that theory-practice gap is an acute problem that student nurses experience. Additionally, learners, teachers, and nurse practitioners experience the same problem(Ajani & Moez, 2011). The theory is merely principles that are an abstract of reality, and as such, learners find it difficult to use it appropriately in practice. Research by Dadgaran, Parvizy, and Peyrovi (2012) on terming theory-practice gap as a global issue indicated that students who gained knowledge during the classes became more specific with the clinical intervention. Additionally, the study suggests that interpersonal skills helped in communicating with patients. Also, it was observed that the support they received from mentors and staff nurse enabled them to link well theory from practice. Furthermore, Jerlock, Falk, and Severinsson (2003) indicate that nurse instructors must be present at the clinical area to offer guidance to student nurses as they perform their nursing skills during practice.
improvements are vital in revising the nursing education curriculum for its
students. Additionally, training or internship programs focus on helping the
student to learn patterns that are reflexive and analyze their preferences.
Additionally, healthcare organizations must create a helping environment to
create a positive learning atmosphere and enhance the opportunities for
learners to practice novel skills under adequate supervision. Dadgaran, Parvizy, and Peyrovi (2012) suggest that the
theory-practice gap can be eliminated
through utilization of participatory nursing instructional techniques as well
as interactive mentorship.
Ajani, K., & Moez, S. (2011). Gap between knowledge and practice in nursing. In Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences (Vol. 15, pp. 3927–3931). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.396
Dadgaran, I., Parvizy, S., & Peyrovi, H. (2012). A Global Issue in Nursing Students’ Clinical Learning: The Theory–Practice Gap. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 47(1), 1713–1718. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.06.888
Jerlock, M., Falk, K., & Severinsson, E. (2003). Academic nursing education guidelines: tool for bridging the gap between theory, research and practice. Nursing & Health Sciences, 5(3), 219–228. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1442-2018.2003.00156.x
Scully, N. J. (2011). The theory-practice gap and skill acquisition: An issue for nursing education. Collegian, 18(2), 93–98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colegn.2010.04.002