When she observed nurses in various hospitals, she found that while they generally were able to perform their job functions, they could not articulate the true purpose of nursing. Orem’s intention was to determine an appropriate focus for the profession that centered on individual patients. This theory was significant in the sense that it provided nurses with a clearer focus on what the profession entailed: helping those who were unable to help themselves due to their health conditions. This paper will give a biographical account of Dorothea Orem’s life and provide a complete description of the Orem Model of Nursing including the Self-Care Deficit Theory. The paper will include examples of how the theory can be applied in various medical settings. It will also discuss the contributions, value and relevancy of her theory.
The Nursing Theory of Dorothea Orem
Dorothea Orem was a nursing theorist who developed the Orem Model of Nursing also known as the Self-Care Nursing Theory. Orem's nursing theory states that caring for oneself is a basic human need. The duty of nurses is to design interventions to provide or manage self-care actions for individuals to recover or maintain health (Taylor, p. 74). Orem was one of the first theorists to realize that nursing is needed when humans are unable to care for themselves. She felt that “nursing is distinguished from other forms of care by the way it focuses on human beings” (Fawcett, 2001, p. 35). ...
in 1934 and went on to the Catholic University of America to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education in 1939 and a Master of Science in Nursing Education in 1945 (“Dorothea Orem,” n.d.). Orem’s first jobs were at Providence Hospital, Washington, D.C. and St. John's Hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts. Some of the positions she held included operating room nurse, private nursing, hospital staff nursing in pediatric and adult medical –surgical units and evening emergency room supervisor. In 1945 she began to focus her career on nursing education. She worked as the director of Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Detroit and continued this phase of her career at the Catholic University of America where she worked as an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Dean of Nursing. In 1949 she left Detroit and moved to Indiana where she found a position as a consultant in the Division of Hospital and Institutional Services of the Indiana State Board of Health. During her tenure there she intended to raise the standard of nursing in hospitals throughout the state (“Biography of Dorothea Orem,” n.d.). Between 1949 and 1957 Orem was able to closely observe nurses and their work as a result of her position with the Indiana State Board of Health. As a result of her observations she began to realize that nursing required a certain way of thinking as well as a certain way of communicating (Fawcett, 2001). In attempting to develop nursing as a meaningful profession, Orem asked herself three questions: “(1) What do nurses do and what should nurses do as practitioners of nursing? (2) Why do nurses do what they do? and (3) What results from what nurses do as practitioners of nursing?” (Fawcett, 2001, p. 34) She