Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory’s Impact on Staff

Grand nursing theories are created to enhance the quality of nursing support and provide nurses with a structuralized view of health care practice. The self-care deficit nursing theory is a grand theory, developed by Dorothea Orem. This theory argues that patients want to care for themselves and can recover with the right support from medical professionals. Orem’s theory is relevant for home health professionals.

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Patients who wish to stay at home need to establish a level of independence and learn about their capabilities to perform some actions. Nursing in this theory is conceptualized as an intervention – a process of helping patients to achieve a level of self-sustainability and providing necessary care to cover the patient’s needs that he or she cannot realize independently.

According to Alligood (2013), the development of the self-care deficit theory greatly affected nursing practice. This theory was modified and improved through a variety of practice settings, which looked at individual cases through the lens of self-care and patient independence. Orem based her theory on the notion that humans can adapt to new environments. The development of this theory started with the definition of two key concepts: concern and goal. Orem defined nursing’s concern as a human need to regain health and the nursing’s goal as a process of helping a patient to overcome limitations (Alligood, 2013).

After establishing these concepts, Orem started to form a theory for nurses to implement in their practice. She determined that nursing has to have a specific system of actions that nurses need to perform to help individuals learn about their capabilities. This definition influenced the theory and its goals because a person’s need to maintain health became the theory’s primary concern. According to Shah (2015), many practitioners started to implement this theory in their practice, which led to it changing and becoming more practically inclined than before. Alligood (2013) emphasizes the versatility of this theory and its importance to the nursing practice. Orem’s nursing theory of self-care deficit significantly influenced the way nursing staff evaluates patients’ capability to care for themselves.


Alligood, M. R. (Ed.) (2013). Nursing theory: Utilization & application (5th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Shah, M. (2015). Compare and contrast of grand theories: Orem’s self-care deficit theory and Roy’s adaptation model. International Journal of Nursing, 5(1), 39-42.

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