Mishel's Theoretty Theory: The Theory Of Uncertainty Theory In Nursing

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According to Smith (2008), uncertainty theory proposes that uncertainty exists in situations that are ambiguous, hard to predict, and when information is not accessible. The purpose of this paper is to discuss Merle H. Mishel’s uncertainty theory, factors that can potentially influence uncertainty, uncertainty and its potential influence on the patient, and uncertainty theory’s relevance in nursing.
According to Smith (2008), Mishel defined uncertainty as the inability to determine the meaning of illness-related events, occurring when the decision maker is unable to assign definite value to objects or events, or is unable to predict outcomes accurately. According to Fitzpatrick and Norbeck (1997), Mishel’s first theory was developed to address uncertainty of an illness during diagnosis (uncertainty theory), while the second was developed to evaluate circumstances of someone living with continuous uncertainty (uncertainty theory re-conceptualized). For Mishel’s first theory, the end goal for the patient is to return to their previous stage of adaptation, while the end goal for the second theory is for the patient to
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According to McCormick (2012), loss of control and uncertainty are related but not synonymous. Perceived control, or loss of control, is a personality factor and has an emotional component, while uncertainty is a neutral cognitive state. While it is important to note that lack of control and uncertainty differ, it is this author’s belief that there is a possible relationship between uncertainty and perceived lack of control. Mishel hypothesized that people with a strong internal locus of control would be more likely to appraise uncertainty as an opportunity, but people with an external locus of control would be more likely to perceive uncertainty as a danger (Fitzpatrick and Norbeck,

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