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Nursing theorist: Virginia Henderson

Critique of her Nursing Theory

Yvonne Li

on 14 March 2011

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Transcript of Nursing theorist: Virginia Henderson

1897- 1996 Virginia Henderson ` 1897 1918 1921 1923 1924 1932 1934 1953 1955 1959 1971 1979 1985 Nov 30-Kansas City, Missouri.

•Born 5/ 8 children

•3 sisters, 4 brothers

•Father= attorney for native American Indians

•Mother =from Virginia

•she was educated at her grandfather's school which was conducted on the estate where she lived

•Motivated to become a nurse because of her brothers' experiences in the First World War.
She entered the Army School of Nursing in Washington DC

1.program 4-month preclinical block followed by training in the wards for the rest of the three years

2.The curriculum was ahead of its time and included psychiatric nursing and public health nursing

3.The latter took place in some of the tougher areas of New York City

4.Following her training she worked as a community nurse for a year

5.She then went back to the state of Virginia where she was the first nurse educator and worked for five years trying to improve the education program.
Received Diploma in Nursing from the Army School of Nursing at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington, D.C. Worked at the Henry Street Visiting Nurse Service Began nursing career at the Norfolk Protestant Hospital in Virginia Completed her Bachelors of Science at Columbia University. She joined the nursing faculty at Teachers College where she would remain for the next fourteen years. Completed her Masters of Arts degree at Columbia University. Asked to be in a position at Yale University School of Nursing as research associate for a funded project designed to survey and assess the status of nursing research in the United States Textbook of the Principles and Practice of Nursing Directed the Nursing Studies Index Project and began a new phase of her career focusing on international teaching and speaking engagements Connecticut Nurses Association established the Virginia Henderson Award for outstanding contributions to nursing research. Henderson was the first to receive this honour. Honoured at the Annual Meeting of the Nursing and Allied Health Section of the Medical Library Association. 1996 She developed the nursing theory
that would define nursing; however she did not intend it to be a theory but the focus for nursing “Nursing is primarily helping people (sick or well) in the performance of those activities contributing to health, or its recovery (or to a peaceful death) that they would perform unaided if they had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge. It is likewise the unique contribution of nursing to help people to be independent of such assistance as soon as possible…” 4 Major Concepts 1.Individual: Patient/ individuals as a sum of the 14 basic needs
2.Environment: External conditions such as dangers that influence life and development if the individual
3.Health: Ability to function independently is outline in the 14 components
4.Nursing: Good health= balance and fulfillment of the needs independently The Empiric Indicators The basic 14 needs
1.Breathe normally
2.Eat and drink adequately
3.Eliminate body wastes
4.Move and maintain desirable postures
5.Sleep and rest
6.Select suitable clothes; dress and undress
7.Maintain body temp within a normal range by adjusting clothing and modifying the environment
8.Keep the body clean and well groomed and protect the integument
9.Avoid dangers in the environment and avoid injuring others
10.Communicate with others in expressing emotions, need, fears, or opinions
11.Worship according to one’s faith
12.Work in such a way that there is a sense of accomplishment
13.Play or participate in various forms of recreation
14.Learn discover or satisfy the curiosity that lead to normal development and health and use the available health facilities CRITIQUE Definition
Nursing How Clear is this Theory? How Simple is this Theory? How General is this Theory? How Accessible is this Theory? How Important is this Theory? Relatively Clear
Clearly identifies the role of a nurse and a list of 14 needs that nurses can help individuals attain.
The definition and needs are specific and wording can be easily understood
However, the concepts that they imply are not completely defined and hence semantic clarity is limited
The general definition of nursing contribute a contextual sense of meaning for the 14 basic needs
Ideas are straight forward and terms and concepts are meaningful and direct
However it is implied that satisfying the needs contribute to attainment of independence and thereby health (how independence contribute to health is not described)
There is no structural form or diagram provided
However the concepts appear to be linear as the nurses role is to assist patients in satisfying the 14 needs to improve/maintain health Simple
Limited number of elements and concepts
Their interrelationships are minimal
The theory is simple because it is easy to understand the nurse’s role in assisting individuals to satisfy basic needs
However, it is implied that the satisfaction of these needs will bring the individual to independence
There is one relationship between the nursing role and the concepts which focuses on how the nurse can assist the individual to gain independence and health through the satisfaction of the 14 basic needs. General
This theory is quite general and can be applied to a broad array of situations that can help individuals gain independence and health

This theory has a broad scope and can be applied to a variety of situations and is not limited in scope of application

Although the definition is specifically described as the role of nursing, this theory has a high degree of generality and can apply to guide anyone who seeks to assist individuals or groups in attaining independence and health (such as all health professionals and people in general)

Do you like this theory and why?

It is simple and straight forward

It talks about the needs of the patients in order for them to have health/recover/peaceful death

It promotes the idea that the patient should become independent

It describes the nurses role

What are the basic assumptions?
Assumptions are not clearly stated
1. The nurse will care for the patient until they are able to care for themselves (the nurse will take different roles depending on the patients needs: substitutive, supplementary, complementary)
2. The nurse will devote themselves to the patients and build relationships
3. Patient centred approach
4. Nurse must be educated at a university level in both arts and sciences Important
Does this theory have clinical significance or practical value?
This theory is usable in practice, education, creating a desired future (to improve practice) and possibly research (ie the effects of the basic needs on health/illness)
This theory is explains the importance of how patients need to meet certain basic needs to be able to live normally and function to the best of their ability. It stresses the importance that the nurses is trying to direct the client so that they are able to be independent in their own health
Important for generating ideas
Are the indicators used in practice?

Theory is derived from her practice and education-- Empiric to theoretic (inductive approach)

Because her theory is derived via an inductive approach the empiric indicators are used as an outcome for concepts

Empiric indicators are designed to be used in practice are clearly identified Are the concepts clinically relevant?
This theory is meant to be used to shape nursing practice
“This concept of the nurse’s unique function demands that nurses understand the fundamental needs of man so that they can help their clients or patients provide for all those needs or make their lives as normal and productive as possible, even during illness”
Concepts are empirically accessible in the clinical area

Are there any sub-concepts?
There are no sub-concepts Accessible

Are the concepts abstract/concrete?

Along the spectrum of relatively empiric to relatively abstract the concepts are would be in the middle of this spectrum probably a little closer to the relatively empiric

The majority of the indicators are directly measurable (eg. eat and drink, eliminate body wastes--quatitative) other indicators (eg. sense of accomplishment, worship according to one’s faith-qualitative) are indirectly measurable

Although some of the empiric indicators cannot be directly measured, does not mean that they cannot be assessed. There are tests and tools that can be constructed to provide an indirect estimate (ie self report tool, observing behaviour, physiological responses). REFERENCES

Halloran, E. J. (1996). Virginia Henderson and her timeless writings. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 23(1), 17-24. doi:10.1111/1365-2648.ep8550648
Henderson, V. (2006). The concept of nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 53(1), 2131. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03660.x
Roberts, K.L. (2006). Virginia Henderson: A contemporary nurse 1897-1996 [Editorial]. Contemporary Nurse, 5(3), 90-92. Retrieved March 3, 2011, from
Virginia Henderson's need theory. (n.d.). Retrieved March 5, 2011, from http://currentnursing.com/nursing_theory/Henderson.html
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