1. Smith, Amy C. MSN, APRN, CNAA, BC

Article Content

Middle Range Theory for Nursing


By Mary Jane Smith and Patricia R. Liehr. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 2003. $44.95. ISBN 0-8261-1915-8. 221 pages.


The purpose of this unique and timely book is to provide an overview of 8 middle range theories of substantial interest to nursing professionals. Defined as a "set of related ideas that are focused on a limited dimension of the reality of nursing" (p xi), middle range theory can be used to guide everyday practice, providing the frame of reference the CNS needs to guide selection of interventions in various patient care situations. Following an introduction to the topic of middle range theories, the authors cover each of the selected theories with a consistent format that incorporates how and why the theory was developed, review of relevant literature, major concepts, relationships among the concepts, use of the theory in nursing research, and use of the theory in clinical practice. A final chapter on evaluating middle range theories rounds out the text, and an appendix describing the "ladder of abstraction" model guides the reader in understanding how each theory fits into a framework ranging from empirical to philosophical levels of abstraction. Figures are included to display each model, and tables of additional detail are appropriately incorporated throughout. Each of the 8 theories included will be of interest to any practicing CNS, and the coverage of applications to clinical practice will be particularly valuable in bridging the proverbial gap between theory and practice. For this reason, this book is ideal for graduate nursing theory courses. In fact, one could envision this text serving as the core textbook for a graduate-level course that would be more beneficial to emerging advanced practitioners building a conceptual framework for practice than many nursing theory texts currently in use. Overall, the text is very readable, well-organized, and is the first nursing theory publication to zero in on middle range theory and its practical application to research and practice. It is a very welcome addition to our profession's literature base, and I enthusiastically recommend it to my CNS colleagues everywhere.