Dorothea Orem's Self-Care Deficit Theory

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Nursing theory is best described as a conceptualization of some aspect of nursing communicated for the purpose of describing, explaining, predicting, and/or prescribing nursing care (Potter & Perry, 2009). One of the most world renown-nursing theorists, Dorothea Orem, believed in the self-care theory, which directs it’s attention on the aspect the self-care needs of the client (2009). As a registered nurse, along with many other accomplishments, she began brewing her theory that guided many nursing schools/institutions in their program of studies. As a nurse, she felt it was necessary to do the things for patients they could not do on their own (Tiaki, 2008). Tiaki feels Orem’s theory is efficient because this theory will help patients to learn the tasks they are unable to do from the nurses, teaching them how to care for themselves (2008). The purpose of this paper is to describe Orem’s historical background, describe her self-care theory, and describe how her theory can be applied into nursing today.

The infamous nursing pioneer, Dorothea Elizabeth Orem, set the bar for nurses worldwide. She was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where she graduated from high school in 1931. While in college, she pursued her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing Education and she also earned her Masters of Science in Nursing Education. When she first began practicing, she worked at Providence Hospital in Washington D.C. She then continued her early career at St. John’s with the position of administration. Once she achieved her advanced degrees, she became director of the Providence Hospital School of Nursing in from 1945-1948 in Detroit, Michigan. While directing at this particular school of nursing, Orem also taught biological sciences...

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... have a basis for their practices.

Works Cited

Fawcett, J. (2001). The nurse theorists: 21st-century updates - - Dorothea E. Orem. Journal of Nursing Science Quarterly, 14(1), 34-38. doi: 10.1177/08943180122108021.

Feely, Sally. "Taking pride in the profession." Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand 14.8 (2008): 4. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 June 2011.

Potter, P. & Perry, A. (2009). Fundamentals of Nursing (7th ed.) St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier, 1029-1084.

Reed, A. (2011, June 17). Theories of nursing educatuion. Retrieved from

The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions (n.d.). Dorothea Orem Collection. In The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives of The John Hopkins Medical Institutions. Retrieved from
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