The Most Famous Nursing Theorist: Recognizing Contributions to the Field

Choose the nursing theorist you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 11, 2024 08:16
Welcome to StrawPoll's definitive ranking of the most famous nursing theorists of all time! As pioneers in the field of nursing, these trailblazers have shaped the way we understand and practice patient care. But who stands above the rest? That's where you come in! Cast your vote for the most influential nursing theorist and help us crown the ultimate champion of nursing knowledge. From the compassionate teachings of Florence Nightingale to the holistic approach of Dorothea Orem, this ranking is packed with nursing legends who have left an indelible mark on the profession. And if you feel that we missed someone who deserves recognition, don't hesitate to suggest a new contender! Dive into this exciting ranking, cast your vote, and join the conversation as we celebrate the incredible minds that have revolutionized the world of nursing.

Who Is the Most Famous Nursing Theorist?

  1. 1
    Florence Nightingale
    Henry Hering (1814-1893) · Public domain
    Florence Nightingale - considered the founder of modern nursing, Nightingale's work in the Crimean War and subsequent writings on nursing theory established many of the foundational principles of the profession.
    Florence Nightingale in other rankings
  2. 2
    Virginia Henderson - known for her definition of nursing as "assisting individuals to gain independence in the performance of activities contributing to health or its recovery," Henderson's theory emphasizes the importance of meeting patients' basic needs.
    Virginia Henderson in other rankings
  3. 3
    Watson's theory of human caring emphasizes the importance of establishing a caring relationship between the nurse and patient, and views nursing as a holistic practice that addresses patients' physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
  4. 4
    Orem's self-care deficit theory emphasizes the importance of patients taking responsibility for their own health, while also recognizing the role that nurses play in supporting and promoting self-care.
  5. 5
    Neuman's theory of systems emphasizes the importance of addressing the complex relationships between patients and their physical, psychological, and environmental systems, and views nursing as a means of helping patients maintain balance and stability.
  6. 6
    Hildegard Peplau
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    Peplau's theory of interpersonal relations emphasizes the importance of the nurse-patient relationship, and views nursing as a means of promoting growth and development in patients through therapeutic communication and interaction.
  7. 7
    Madeleine Leininger
    Juda712 · CC BY-SA 3.0
    Leininger's theory of transcultural nursing emphasizes the importance of understanding and respecting patients' cultural beliefs and practices, and views nursing as a means of promoting cultural competence and providing culturally sensitive care.
  8. 8
    Roy's adaptation model emphasizes the importance of patients adapting to their environments, and views nursing as a means of helping patients adapt and achieve optimal health.
  9. 9
    King's theory of goal attainment emphasizes the importance of setting mutually agreed-upon goals between patients and nurses, and views nursing as a means of helping patients achieve these goals.
  10. 10
    Rogers' theory of unitary human beings emphasizes the interconnectedness of all aspects of the human experience, and views nursing as a means of facilitating the integration and harmonization of these aspects.

Missing your favorite nursing theorist?


Ranking factors for famous nursing theorist

  1. Impact and influence on the nursing profession
    Consider the extent to which the theorist's ideas and concepts have shaped and influenced the field of nursing. Evaluate the magnitude of their contributions and the degree to which their theories have been embraced and applied in practice.
  2. Publication and scholarly work
    Examine the range and quality of the theorist's published work, including books, articles, and research papers. Assess the rigor and depth of their scholarship, as well as the extent to which their work has been cited and referenced by other scholars.
  3. Theory development
    Evaluate the originality and novelty of the nursing theories proposed by the theorist. Consider the theoretical frameworks they have developed and the conceptual models they have contributed to the nursing profession.
  4. Educational impact
    Consider the impact the theorist's work has had on nursing education. Assess the extent to which their theories and concepts have been integrated into nursing curricula and the influence they have had on the education and training of future nurses.
  5. Recognition and awards
    Consider any recognition or awards the theorist has received for their contributions to the nursing profession. This could include honors, prizes, and memberships in prestigious nursing organizations.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous nursing theorist. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or theorist is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 224 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each theorist once every 24 hours. The rank of each theorist is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most famous nursing theorist

Nursing theorists have played a significant role in the development of nursing as a profession. These scholars have contributed to the understanding of nursing as a science and art, and their works have helped shape the field of nursing as we know it today. From Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing, to contemporary theorists such as Jean Watson and Patricia Benner, nursing theory has evolved over time to encompass a wide range of perspectives and approaches. In this article, we will explore some of the most famous nursing theorists and their contributions to the field.

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