Abstract In recent years, a number of articles have appeared in the nursing literature proposing that the branch of modern physics known as quantum theory offers insights that may be useful in nursing practice and healthcare management. This paper critiques this literature in the light of key concepts in quantum theory. The conclusion is that quantum theory has been misunderstood and misapplied within the nursing journals. Quantum theory is essentially mathematical and is based on quantitative experimentation. To successfully apply this theory to nursing practice, nurses will have to equip themselves with the necessary mathematical and experimental skills.