Essay about Dorothea Orem Selfcare Deficit Theory

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Dorothea Orem’s Theory: Self Care Deficit Critic
Kouadio K. Koko BSN, RN
University of Virginia School of Nursing

Dorothea Orem’s Theory: Self Care Deficit Critic
Dorothea Orem’s self-care theory of nursing is one of the major nursing theories. It pays particular attention to the role of the patient in their own rehabilitation, as it expounds the benefits of self-care. Orem’s theory is well documented and has been used by several researchers as a basis for their research. This particular theory of nursing is broad and can be applied to the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of prevention. Many nursing schools have used this theory as a benchmark or guide in their curriculum development.


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Her model addresses and focuses on the individual patient’s ability to perform self-care which she described as “the practice of activities that individuals initiate and perform on their own behalf in maintaining life, health, and well-being”
The major concept behind Orem’s theory is that a nurse is to facilitate the patient’s development and rehabilitation and not necessarily take over that process. “Orem’s vision of health is a state characterized by wholeness of developed human structures and of bodily and mental functioning”. (Polit & Henderson p.103). If the patients are involved in their rehabilitation then so will their mental and psychological involvement. Orem theorizes that a patient’s development needs to take into consideration physical variables, psychological variables, interpersonal and social variables. The major concept behind her theory is that if patients are more actively involved in treating and preventing health issues then desirable health outcomes are more likely. She theorizes that “a person’s knowledge of potential health problem is necessary for promoting self-care behaviors”. (Sitzman & Eichelverger, 2011) As is obvious, her vision of nursing is one where patients play the role of active participant instead of passive recipient.
Nurses work with others towards bringing those conditions necessary to those being nursed. Nursing includes and demands exercising of both the speculative and intelligence of