Virginia Henderson was a nurse, researcher, theorist, and author. Born November 30, 1897, Kansas City Missouri and died March 19, 1996, Brandford, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Daniel and Lucy Henderson. Her education in nursing was done at the Army School of Nursing, Washington, D.C. and Teachers College, Columbia University. Henderson’s work was based on that of Thorndike, her student experience with the Henry House Visiting Nurse Agency, her experience in rehabilitation nursing, and Orlando’s conceptualization of deliberate nursing actions. Henderson has been called the “first lady of nursing”, and famous for her definition of nursing. “The unique function is to assist the individual, sick or well in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or peaceful death) that would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge”. Her writing, her presentation and her research and contacts with nurses have profoundly affected nursing and impacted the care by nurses throughout the world. She began her career in public health nursing, and was the first full-time instructor at Norfolk Protestant Hospital in Norfolk. Her contributions include defining nursing, delineating autonomous nursing functions, stressing goals of interdependence for the patient, and creating self-help concepts. In addition, she authored the Principle and Practice of Nursing, Nursing research a survey and Assessment, Nature of Nursing, and directed a twelve-year project entitled Nursing Index, four volumes recognized as an essential reference for many years. Henderson emphasized the art of nursing and indentified 14 proposed basic needs on which nursing care is based which included the following: 1). Breathe normally 2). Eat and drink adequately 3). Eliminate body waste 4). Move and maintain desirable posture 5). Sleep and rest 6). Select suitable clothes 7). Maintain body temperature 8). Keep the body clean...
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