Orem’s theory provide a comprehensive base to nursing practice. It is functional in the different fields of nursing. May it be in clinical setting, education, research or administration. Moreover, this theory is as applicable for nursing by the beginning practitioner as much as the advanced clinician(George JB., 1995). Another major strength of Orem’s theory is it’s advocacy for the use of the Nursing Process (Balabagno, et.al, 2006). Orem specifically identified the steps of this process. She also mentioned that the nursing process involves intellectual and practical phases.
The ambiguity of applying theory to nursing practice may lie in the fact that one theory does not always specifically support all aspects of nursing care. Orem’s self care deficit theory may not encompass all aspects of care and needs of a specific client. For instance, some dilemma with Orem’s theory include having an unclear definition of family, the nurse-society relationship and public education areas are weak. These issues are essential in the management and treatment plan in caring for patients. Although the family, community and environment are considered in self care action, the focus is primarily on the individual (Balabagno, et.al, 2006). Another limitation is the definition of health as being dynamic and ever changing with states ranging from health or non health, wellness or illness (Fitzpatrick JJ, 2005). This definition of health directly contradicts the experience of some patients with varying needs and levels of care requirements. One of the most obvious limitations of Orem’s theory is that throughout her work, it can be said that a limited recognition of an individual’s emotional needs is present within the theory (George JB., 1995). It focuses more on physical care and gives lesser emphasis to psychological care. Other theories address this limitation quite adequately such as Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring.