Dorothea E. Orem devoted her life to defining nursing and the nurse’s role in improving the patient’s overall health, which she coined the Self-Care Deficit Theory. Orem’s theory is quite a complex one, which can be simplified by identifying that it is three theories in one: self-care theory, self-care deficit theory and nursing systems theory. In 1959, as Orem first began the evolution of the Self-Care Deficit Theory, she defined the nurse’s role as another self. This nursing theory is the foundation for nursing as it actually defines nursing, the nurse and the nurse’s provision of care through the nursing systems theory. To place in simplistic terms, Orem assumes that all humans desire to care for self. In the self-care theory, she states that individuals are meant to care for themselves and their basic needs by promoting life, health, development and well-being (Banfield, 2011). When something happens that does not allow the human to care for self, a deficit occurs. This deficit drives the need for specialized nursing care to restore the human’s health so they can resume self-care.
The Self-Care Deficit Theory of Nursing impacts modern health as well as nursing more so than expected during its creation and evolution. The Institute of Medicine (IOM, 2001) demanded the need for health care to shift from acute care setting management of disease. Consequently, today’s nursing profession is in the midst of a paradigm shift, as it redirects its attention towards patient centered care, disease prevention and wellness promotion, which is a direct reflection of the nursing systems concept which is embedded within the Self-Care Deficit Theory. The Affordable Care Act...
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...e self-care agency (Blais & Hayes, 2011). It is at this point the nurse is instrumental in regaining health. The nursing system is based upon the nurse’s assessment, which is derived from the patient’s self-care needs. The nursing system has three different levels of care: wholly compensatory, partial compensatory and supportive-educative. Wholly compensatory nursing system occurs when the self-care deficit is so great, it demands the total care and support of the nurse. In partial compensatory, both the nurse and the patient work together to provide the care needed to restore the self-care agency. Supportive-educative nursing system enables the patient to care for self, but under the counseling and guidance of the nurse. So, in 1971, Orem first published her theory, which is commonly referred to as the Self-care deficit theory of nursing (Blais & Hayes, 2011).
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