Critical social theory in nursing is an important concept that seeks to explore the impact of social factors on health care and nursing practices. It involves a critical examination of the social, economic, and political factors that influence the delivery of healthcare services and patient outcomes.

Theoretical Framework:
Critical social theory provides a theoretical framework for exploring the role of power, oppression, and inequality in healthcare. It highlights how these factors shape the experiences of patients and healthcare workers, and how they can be addressed to promote better health outcomes.

Critical social theory emerged in the 1960s as a response to traditional approaches to understanding society. It was developed by scholars such as Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, and Jurgen Habermas.

Key Concepts:
One of the key concepts in critical social theory is power. Power refers to the ability of individuals or groups to influence others’ actions or decisions. In healthcare, power can be seen in relationships between healthcare providers and patients or between different healthcare providers.

Another important concept is oppression. Oppression refers to a system that sustains inequality by denying certain groups access to resources or opportunities based on their identities such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation etc..

In addition to power and oppression, critical social theory also focuses on resistance. Resistance refers to actions taken by individuals or groups to challenge oppressive systems.

Application in Nursing:
Critical social theory has many applications in nursing. For example, it can be used to examine how power dynamics affect patient-provider relationships. Nurses can use this framework to identify ways they may be exerting power over their patients (even unintentionally) and take steps towards more equitable care.

Additionally, critical social theory can guide nurses in advocating for marginalized populations who may experience barriers accessing quality healthcare due to systemic oppression.

In conclusion, critical social theory is an important concept in nursing that helps to explore the impact of social factors on healthcare delivery. By examining power dynamics, oppression, and resistance, nurses can identify ways to promote more equitable care and advocate for marginalized populations.