It is extremely necessary for nurses to integrate conceptual and theoretical frameworks when working with families because of each family’s uniqueness in function, process and structure. Maurer & Smith (2013) explained that families are complex small groups in which multiple processes and dynamics occur simultaneously. Families do not function is one way alone. For this reason, no one theory or conceptual framework from family social science, family therapy, or nursing fully describe the dynamics of family life. Thus, nurses who use only one theoretical approach to working with families are in essence, limiting the possibilities of families.
When working with families, the way nurses view and think about the whole client influences the possible outcomes and interventions that nurses recommend to clients or carry out on their behalf. Using eclectic frameworks that suit the needs of the family is deemed important. Theories do not stand alone without conceptual frameworks, but frameworks by themselves are not sufficient to explain the relationship between phenomena (Berman & Snyder, 2011).
Nurses must draw on various theories to be effective in tailoring interventions for specific families with their unique needs, and the number of possibilities for effective intervention is increased when nurses use multiple ways of conceptualizing families. By using both (theoretical and conceptual frameworks), nurses acquire different ways to conceptualize problems and this enhances their thinking about intervention. Kaakinen et al (2009) cited that nurses can also view family from different perspective which increases the possibility that the intervention selected will be implemented by the family, because they “fit” their structure, processes and style of functioning. In conclusion, nurses must use integrated theoretical and conceptual frameworks to build on the strengths of families in creative ways and to help families achieve favorable outcomes.