Dorothea Orem's Theory: The Self Care Nursing Theory

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Introduction Like any scientific discipline, the nursing profession has evolved over time. Nurses, once regarded as housemaids and lower class citizens, now hold positions of authority and stature in our modern society. These changes in the profession are attributed to the many nurse theorists who devoted their lives to the improvement of patient care. Through their theoretical advancements, the public perception of nursing has gone from dismissive to reverential. Today, our culture considers the nursing profession to be one of the most rewarding and respected career paths an individual can pursue. Through a review of one such patient theorist, Dorothea Orem, one can witness this change in the perception of the nursing profession.
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The theory covers a broad scope of general concepts that are easily understood and can be applied to all aspects of nursing. Orem’s theory defined nursing as “The act of assisting others in the provision and management of self-care to maintain or improve human functioning at home level of effectiveness” (Denyes, M., Orem, D., & Bekel, G. 2010). It focuses on each individual’s ability to perform self-care, defined as “the performance or practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf to maintain life, health and well-being” (Denyes, M., Orem, D., & Bekel, G. …show more content…
As a nursing consultant for the Indiana State Board of Health in the 1950s, she developed the clear distinction between the nursing and medical practices as well as improved the quality of nursing in general hospitals. Orem also contributed to the Office of Education’s ongoing efforts to upgrade practical nurse training. In 1959, she helped publish “Guidelines for Developing Curricula for the Education of Practical Nurses.” Orem continued to develop her nursing theory through her active involvement in the educational community from her retirement in 1984 until her passing in 2007 (Alligood,

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