Nurses documenting practice using these systems are accomplishing three important things: appropriate documentation of care, identification of work as within the scope of professional nursing, and building a body of knowledge for nurses on the use of specific interventions.
The taxonomies provide both a framework that helps nurses think in a holistic manner about what they are doing as nurses and increased justification for having a nurse perform the activities. The taxonomies themselves are atheoretical, meaning that they are not grounded in any of the nursing theories, they are simply a list of diagnoses, interventions and outcomes. These diagnoses, interventions and outcomes, however, can be used with n ursing theory to guide the reflective interpretation of client conditions and selection of appropriate nursing interventions. Within the framework of nursing taxonomies, the alternative/complementary modalities become part of the nursing process – the documentation of nursing assessments, concerns, interventions and outcomes.
Alternative/complementary modalities are techniques used in healthcare practice to help clients achieve specific outcomes. Techniques, however, are just techniques, and can be used at the level of “doing things” without the reflection, thought, or interpersonal exchange required of and expected from professional nursing. Nurses are in an excellent position to adopt complementary/alternative modalities into practice that addresses assessed client needs and to use these techniques to achieve the goals of nursing. Use of theory and nursing classification systems help nurses use these complementary/alternative modalities professionally. Documentation of these techniques through either nursing theory or current nursing taxonomies makes the practice explicitly that of professional nursing. Care directed by nursing theory and/or care according to a standard nursing taxonomy is care that is generally regarded by the profession as within the domain of nursing. Thus, documentation of care from a nursing framework provides for practice which is recognizable as nursing, and legally defensible as within nursing’s scope of practice. Addtionally, using modalities within nursing practice gives20nurses an enhanced set of tools for practice – making the practice professional, whole and client-centered.