Nursing Theory: King’s Conceptual System


Different theories have been deployed to guide the nursing practice. This paper focuses on King’s conceptual structure and theory of goal achievement and transactional process. The presumption discusses the dynamics and the interpersonal connections via which different patients undergo in the quest to accomplish explicit life goals. It considers time, responsibility, liberty, and stress the main factors, which influence the realization of patients’ ambitions. This paper is divided into three sections. Section one analyzes the importance of the theory in general to the nursing profession. Section two summarizes the key concepts of the theory with the view of showing how they interact in the process of applying the theory in the nursing profession. Using two real-life examples, the third section discusses how the nursing theory addresses nursing leadership.

Importance of the Nursing Theory

Nursing is a practice that involves caring, supporting, and optimizing people’s physical conditions. Nursing professionals achieve this goal by establishing nursing mechanisms that help in the prevention of illnesses and injuries. Nursing services are important since they are meant to alleviate people’s afflictions through the identification and treatment of any counterproductive health condition. Consistent with these objectives, the nursing theory identifies factors, which may influence the capacity to support, safeguard, and/or optimize health.

People pursue careers in the nursing profession with the objective of ensuring that patients recover from sicknesses to live healthy lives. This objective underlines the significance of setting health goals together with the patients and then seeking proactive strategies for realizing them. To this extent, the nursing theory is important since it establishes patient-centered health goals, which can help to guide nurses in developing a goal-oriented patient-nurse rapport. Indeed, nurses have confirmed that the capacity to promote and protect life increases when adequate and effective communication prevails between healthcare givers and patients while working collaboratively towards achieving a commonly identified goal (Wills and Melanie 47). The nursing presumption describes how caregivers, patients, and their family members can enhance communication to ensure the correct diagnosis and treatment processes, which are vital in speeding up the recovery process.

Nursing leaders have the responsibility of promoting health care for individuals, folks, and society. Nursing is a profession within the healthcare sector, which focuses on providing care to all people. Hence, caregivers offer the patients and their relatives the first priority to minimize stress or the recovery time. All nursing hypotheses offer a speculative pedagogy, which utilizes evidence-based strategies for not optimizing the patient’s recovery process but also eliminating trauma that is related to illness.

King’s Conceptual System and Theory of Goal Realization and Transactional Process

Nursing scholars such as Cadmus claim that when nurses work in partnership with patients to identify health care objectives, the established aims are likely to be successful when it comes to health advancement as the primary objective of nursing care (35). This appreciation reveals why I selected King’s conceptual system and theory of goal attainment and transactional process. The theory underlines the importance of patient’s goals in the nursing practice, especially in the realization of the overall nursing care agenda. The theory addresses the development of systems that can aid nurses in managing nurse-patient health care interaction.

The theory identifies various concepts that help in its development. King develops a system of interactive frameworks that make up the goal attainment hypothesis. The frameworks reveal how the personality, assembly (interpersonal connections), and social systems interact. The goal attainment conjecture upholds the importance of the “interaction that occurs between perception, role, stress, time, and space, and the transaction, growth, and patient communication in achieving patient-centered goals” (King King’s Conceptual System 110). Individual, interpersonal, and collective structures make up King’s speculation of goal realization in nursing.

Interpersonal structures relate to the dialogue that is witnessed between nurses and patients. Collective structures comprise social foundations such as places of worship, learning centers, and families from which patients are derived. The personal system impressions include the personality, physical figure, time, private space, discernment, and growth and/or progress (King Part One 236). King considers discernment the most fundamental impression in her hypothesis since it determines patients’ behaviors. To summarize the interconnectedness of the different concepts, she says, “An individual’s perception of self, of body image, of time, and of space influences the way he or she responds to objects and events in his or her life” (King Part One 236). Personal structures comprise individuals who are regarded as social, responsive, and cogent beings.

Views Concerning King’s Conceptual System and Theory of Goal Attainment and Transactional Process

Nursing leaders manage and direct other people towards the attainment of mutual objectives and goals. King’s theory has organizational and personal elements. Success requires one’s commitment to these two aspects. Leadership serves to influence the rapport between leaders and the human resources who act as the tools for change within an organization. Operations in a health facility must reflect the shared purpose of the interaction between staff members and their heads.

Under King’s conceptual system and theory of goal attainment and transactional process, the best results in nursing care are obtained through the interaction between caregivers and patients to meet the established goals. Hence, the theory views nursing leadership as a concept that emerges from nurses’ direct experiences with patients. Consistent with this assertion, Stanley et al. assert that direct interaction with sick people can help to induce better-coping skills, which every nursing leader needs to understand, especially while leading new recruits (616). This appreciation is important considering that the profession is laborious and that practitioners experience a high rate of exhaustion (Marcella 128).

In the nursing setting, effective leadership is important in enhancing organizational commitment and work morale so that nurses do not consider leaving the health care organizations to concentrate on their family life matters. King’s theory suggests that such commitment should occur while taking into consideration the patients’ health goals. Nursing leadership involves communication. King’s theory appreciates this role by identifying the fundamental needs of patients who are also critical participants in nursing care. These needs include access to health information whenever it is required, the availability of quality care, and the provision of care support for the aged or young kids who cannot access it on their own (King King’s Conceptual System 111). Information cannot be provided without comprehensible, precise, and opportune communication. Since communication is an essential component of nursing leadership, the theory views leadership as an essential ingredient for satisfying the patients’ needs.

King’s theory has been instrumental in my nursing practice. For example, I was once attending a patient whom I will refer to as Mr. E for confidentiality reasons. Mr. E’s medical history revealed information that he suffered from slight mental retardation. The Data Process Act of 1998 does not permit caregivers or physicians to divulge patients’ information. Besides, chapter seven to nine of the ANA codes of the nursing practice maintains that nurses are obliged to maintain the privacy of any information that relates to the patient, the patient’s folks, or any individual who is close to the patient. Consequently, driven by the concerns of the need to integrate the patient goals in care delivery, I was obliged not to divulge Mr. E’s health condition to anyone else other than Mr. B, his younger brother. Mr. B had been mentioned in the advance directive form that was consented by Mr. E authorizing him (Mr. B) to make medical decisions on his behalf.

I also applied King’s theory while handling Mrs. D who was admitted to the hospital with mental mutilation. Her condition required the instantaneous introduction of breathing apparatus and feeding tubes. However, ANA regulations stipulate that nurses can only acquire consent from medical practitioners, the ailing person, or a person whom the patient has accorded the right to make medical decisions on his or her behalf (Wills and Melanie 113). Since the patient had mental mutilation, her health was at a critical level. Hence, the doctor and I (nurse) accepted her refusal of the breathing apparatus and feeding tubes. This scenario underscores a nurse’s ethical value of defending people’s dignity and respect for their autonomous choice of decision, which according to Kings’ theory, is realized through the integration of the patient in setting his or her health goals.


The nursing theory establishes important theoretical paradigms that guide the nursing practice. King’s conceptual system and theory of goal attainment and the transactional process have a significant impact on nursing practitioners’ day-to-day practice. It requires them to incorporate patients in the process of setting goals that touch on their (patients) health. As the paper has confirmed, this integration allows patients to contribute towards the health sector’s goal of improving people’s health. To this extent, King’s theory facilitates the attainment of nursing and patients’ health care needs and objectives.

Works Cited

Cadmus, Edna. “Your Role in Designing Healthcare.” Nursing Management 42.10(2011): 32-42. Print.

King, Imogene. “King’s Conceptual System, Theory of Goal Attainment, and Transaction Process in the 21st Century.” Nursing Science Quarterly 20.2(2007): 109-117. Print.

King, Imogene. “Part One: Imogene M. King’s theory of goal attainment.” In M.E. Parker, Nursing theories and nursing practice (pp. 235-243). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis, 2006. Print.

Marcella, Honour. “Elevating Nursing Leadership at Bedside.” NAINR 13.3(2013): 127-130. Print.

Stanley, Joan, Jane Gannon, Jesse Gabuat, Susan Hartranft, Nancy Adams, Gina Shouse, Barbara Edwards, Christy Mayes and Danita Burch. “The clinical nurse leader: a catalyst for improving quality and patient safety.” Journal of Nursing Management 16.5 (2008): 614-622. Print.

Wills, Evelyn, and McEwen Melanie. Theoretical Basis for Nursing Philadelphia. Lippincott: Williams and Wilkins, 2002. Print.

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