Virginia Henderson Paper

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Virginia Henderson: Need Theory
David Muckell
Nyack College

Abstract
Virginia Henderson’s definition of nursing explained what the role of a nurse was and that it is the nurse’s job to help the individual be free of any assistance as soon as they could. Henderson’s Need Theory is followed by fourteen points that list all of the basic needs of an individual. Her theory is considered a philosophy because it is made up of a series of components that classify and categorize the professional activities not only based on an individual but on a global level. This theory not only improves the patient care of the living but also the dead. This theory improves the patient care of the dead through organ donation. Once the organs are taken care of the recipient receiving the organs has a better chance of surviving. This is why this theory has been used for over fifty years and it will continue to be used till the end of time.

David Muckell
11/9/12
Virginia Henderson

Virginia Henderson has been “considered the mother of modern nursing” (New York Times News Service 1996). Virginia Henderson contributed so much to the nursing profession not only as a nurse, but also as an educator. One thing that Virginia Henderson is most remembered for is her definition of Nursing. Other than just describing the basis of nursing care, she describes fourteen components that accompany her definition. Another thing that she helped to do is define new roles for nurses and displayed them in her own practice (Anderson M 1999). Virginia Henderson really stands out as a nurse in that she thought of each patient as a human being. Virginia Henderson’s definition is very patient-oriented and describes a nurse who has the patient on their mind at all times and encourages independence and self-confidence. Virginia Henderson’s Need Theory is considered a philosophy. A philosophy in general basically seeks to explain and document what nursing is (Sitzman and Eichelberger 2011). I chose to write about Virginia Henderson because her theory can be used for any patient in any setting. She makes her definition so feasible because each of the fourteen components describes another basic need and right that all patients need to survive. It does not matter what the doctor says about the patient, this theory can be put into practice. Her theory is so simple and yet is seen as something so important that after 44 years after it is still used (Anderson M 1999). I had so many choices when choosing who I was going to write about. So far this semester in theory class we read about at least ten nursing theorists. I wanted to choose somebody that maybe not everyone would be writing about but also one that will go along with what I believe in. I thought of choosing Florence Nightingale because we have studied her so much since the beginning of our sophomore year in nursing school. Then, as I was reading the text-book I read about Virginia Henderson and how she studied Nursing in Military school in Washington D.C. and how in 1955 she helped modify the definition of nursing. Her theory in my opinion is so easy to relate to any patient from all cultures (Watkins 1996). Henderson views the person as a whole, a human being. She really inspires me to become the best nurse possible and to take care of a patient to make sure each and every need of that patient is met. Another reason that I decided to write about Henderson and her theory was that even into her nineties she still contributed to the nursing debate (Watkins 1996). She was and still is an inspiration to many people and I hope that I can somehow contribute to nursing at long as I am able to. Henderson is an inspiration to all nurses in the world and I hope that I can make the same impact that she has made with her theory for over forty years. Virginia Henderson’s model is considered a philosophy. “Philosophies in general seek to define and document what nursing is (Sitzman and Eichelberger 2011). A philosophy is a...
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