Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

George A. Kizer


Behaviorism, in the form of the Ralph Tyler rationale, has prescribed nursing education curriculum development and the direction of nursing educational thought since the 1950s. Since 1952, nursing theory has focused on the development of numerous nursing paradigms or abstract conceptual nursing models. With the development of nursing theory in the form of conceptual nursing models, some nurse educators have argued that the sanctioned behaviorist educational paradigm in nursing education is incongruent with nursing's current philosophy and are advocating a curriculum revolution in nursing education;This investigation was initiated for the purpose of analyzing the philosophical orientations of the conceptual nursing models in order to determine whether or not there has been a change in nursing philosophy and the implications that any philosophical change might have for nursing education. The following five conceptual nursing models were selected for analysis: the Psychodynamic Nursing Model of Hildegard Peplau; the Deliberative Nursing Process Model of Ida Jean Orlando (Pelletier); the Unitary Human Beings Nursing Model proposed by Martha Rogers; Callista Roy's Adaptation Nursing Model; and Jean Watson's Human Science and Human Care Model;An analysis of the ontology, epistemology and axiology of each of the five conceptual nursing models substantiated that although there is currently no one dominant philosophy of nursing, the contemporary conceptual nursing models proposed by Rogers and Watson offer nursing a different philosophical orientation. This emerging philosophy represents a movement away from the behaviorism and scientific realism of medicine toward a philosophy that is an eclectic synthesis of idealism, progressivism and humanistic existentialism. The study concludes with a discussion of the implications of this changing nursing philosophy for nursing education and supports the need for a curriculum revolution in nursing education.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Sandra Courtney Sellers



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

202 pages