Dorothea Orem’s Self Care Theory

Topics: Nursing, Health care provider, Patient Pages: 6 (2240 words) Published: January 25, 2010

Dorothea Orem’s Self Care Theory

Carmen Sigley

West Virginia University


When a patient needs to decrease the potential problem that prevents him from reaching his optimal health, nurses can use Orem’s Self-care Model as a tool to identify when and how much they can influence the patient care. This theory is the key of nursing care if it is used optimal and in a period of time when patient’s development can be discover and manipulated. The purpose of this paper is to prove that Orem’s Theory can be used efficiently if is done in an ongoing manner and using actions of individuals directed to self care. The environment is an important aspect and regulates the factors or conditions in the interest of the individual’s life, health, and well-being.

Dorothea Orem’s Self Care Theory

This paper argue in favor of Dorothea Orem’s Self Care Model because is one of the most essential tools that a nurse can use in eliminating the distance between patient well-being and patient’s health status. The purpose of this theory is to allow individuals and their families to maintain control of their healthcare and is ongoing throughout the continuum of life, forever evolving. Even Orem’s Self Care Model is a complex process and require more time than others models it can be used when a patient require hospitalization for long period of time. The model is based on four concepts that constitute nursing’s metaparadigm, as proposed by Fawcett: human beings, environment, health, and nursing (Fawcett, 2005). In 1971, Orem described a human being (humanity) as “…an integrated whole composed of an internal physical, psychological, and social nature with varying degrees of self-care ability” (Chinn & Kramer, 2004). Using this Theory a nurse can discover the patient’s developmental level and can predict the path of care that guides both the client and family to an increase health care self level. The Self Care Model scales down the actual nursing care requirements for the patient, and differs from other health-care models by creating autonomy for nursing as a profession through a continuous use of the evidence based practice in decision making. Orem suggest that the domain and boundaries of nursing as a field of practice and a field of knowledge is placed along the Self Care Model and the conditions that exists when judgments are made to build the patient’s plan of care. A human being has the capacity to reflect, symbolize, and use symbols. When referring to humans, Orem uses the terms individual, patient, multiperson unit, self-care agent, dependent-care agent (Fawcett, 2005). In a 1996 newsletter to the International Orem Society she states: “What do nurses encounter in their worlds as they design and produce nursing for others? What meaning can and should nurses attach to persons, things, events, conditions, and circumstances they encounter?” Orem’s Nursing Theory reflects her own nursing experiences, and the model came to her as a “flash of insight, an understanding that the reason why individuals could benefit from nursing was the existence of…self care limitations” (Orem, 1978, cited in Fawcett, 2005, p. 230). Orem defines a human being as “a substantial or real unity whose parts are formed and attain perfection through the differentiation of the whole during the process of development.” (Orem, 1985, cited in Meleis, 1997). The patient needs to use self care in order to maintain optimal health and wellness, and possessing the ability and responsibility to care for himself and dependants. The model guides health care providers to do a primary evaluation of patient’s health status and then help nurses to understand the developmental stage of the client. Adaptation to the new activity level and potential comes after a prolonged period of time, and it is a work team between all the health care providers participating to the plan of care. Using...

References: Chinn, P. L., & Kramer, M. K. (2004). Integrated knowledge development in nursing (6th ed.). St.Louis: Mosby.
Fawcett, J. (2005). Contemporary nursing knowledge: Analysis and evaluation of nursing models
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Gomez, J., & Walks, L. Dorothea Orem’s self-care deficit theory. Retrieved September 30, 2005,
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Hartweg, D. L. (1991). Dorothea Orem self-care deficit theory: Notes on nursing theories (pp. 1-
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