October 3, 2010
Wills, E.M. (2011). Grand theories based on human needs. In McEwen, M. & Wills, E.M., (Ed).
Theoretical basis for nursing (pp. 121-144). (3rd ed.) Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer
Health & Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
In this chapter, (Wills, 2011) reviews some of the earliest human needs theories from Florence Nightengale, Virginia Henderson, Faye Abdellah, Dorothy Orem, Dorothy Johnson, and Betty Neuman. These grand theories are analyzed using seven criteria; background of the theorist, philosophical underpinnings of the theory, major assumptions, usefulness, testability, parsimony, and value in extending nursing science. She briefly describes the invaluable impact these individual nurse scholars have made in the history of nursing practice. Wills encourages the advanced practice nurse to find a connection to a theorist that fits their specialty and research them using the most current information to guide and improve their own nursing practice. The human needs nursing theories focus on meeting the patient’s needs for nursing care with the concept adopted from social scientists that “clients are considered to be biopsychosocial beings who are the sum of their parts and who need nursing care”. The early human needs nursing theories describe the abstract thinking of their time but all direct patient care through expectation of the patient’s needs and meeting them to achieve a wanted result. Florence Nightengale made impressive improvements in nursing and health care through her advanced thinking in patient healing, nursing leadership and public health. Betty Neumann is a pioneer in the field of psychiatric health and revision of her systems model has been adapted and in use today. The work of Virginia Henderson has strongly influenced nursing science and research focusing on nursing practice and interventions. The early grand theorists provided a foundation to guide nursing...