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Nursing (NURS) 324
Concepts and Theories in Nursing Practice (Revision 3)

Revision 3 closed, replaced by current version.

Delivery mode: Individualized study online.
: Follow instructions on the Undergraduate Course Registration form and select “Online” when asked for delivery mode. Online course materials cannot be accessed before your course contract start date.

Credits: 3 - Applied Studies

Prerequisite: Post-LPN: All 100- and 200-level required courses, and HLST 320.

Precluded course: NURS 324 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for NURS 444.

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies

NURS 324 has a Challenge for Credit option; this option is not available to post-LPN BN students.


Nursing 324: Concepts and Theories in Nursing Practice is an introduction to theory and reasoning in nursing. Students are introduced to several different theoretical frameworks in nursing and to the contributions of selected nurse theorists. Concepts of person, health, nursing and environment are explored from a variety of theoretical perspectives. Students consider how these concepts are reflected in their own practice.

Students also examine different perspectives regarding patterns of knowing in nursing, the art and science of nursing, and the ethical principles that guide nursing practice. As students work through the various units, they begin to articulate and refine their own philosophy of nursing and appraise its impact on their nursing practice.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of NURS 324, the student will achieve or exceed the following learning outcomes:

  • Explore the impact of nursing theories on current practice, education, research and administration;
  • Integrate theoretical thinking into their own professional nursing practice;
  • Explore patterns of knowing in nursing practice;
  • Differentiate between the art and science of nursing; and
  • Articulate their own philosophical base for nursing practice, including the knowledge, values, beliefs, standards and ethical principles that influence their practice.

Course Structure

Unit 1: Theory, Knowledge and Reasoning

Unit 2: Using Theory in Nursing Practice

Unit 3: Influence of Florence Nightingale on Nursing Theory

Unit 4: Philosophy of Nursing

Unit 5: Nursing Metaparadigm and Domain of Person

Unit 6: Domain of Environment

Unit 7: Domain of Health

Unit 8: Domain of Nursing

Unit 9: Patterns of Knowing in Nursing

Unit 10: Ethical Theories in Nursing


To receive credit for NURS 324, students must complete all of the required assignments and achieve a composite grade of “C-” (60%) in the course. Effective January 1, 2010, all papers submitted must follow the guidelines of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) (2010).

The assignments and weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Nursing as Defined by Nightingale 35%
Philosophy of Nursing 25%
Choose one of the following options: 40%
   Option A: Critique of a Nursing Theory  
   Option B: Images of the Art and Sciences of        Nursing  
   Option C: Analysis of an Ethical Issue  
Total 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Johnson, B. M., & Webber, P. B. (2005). An introduction to theory and reasoning. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Nightingale, F. (1860/1969). Notes on nursing: What it is and what it is not. New York: Dover.

Other Materials

Students will receive an Access Letter in the course package with instructions for gaining access to this online course. A variety of electronic journal articles and websites are used in the course and paper copies are not included in the course package.