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Self-Care Deficit Theory and Nursing Philosophy


Developing personal nursing philosophy is an essential step towards understanding the goals, processes, and perceptions leading to proper patient care. The factors that affect the development of a personal nursing philosophy are intrinsic beliefs, experiences with patients, their families, and other medical professionals, and nursing education (MAS Medical Staffing, 2018). The purpose of the present paper is to outline my personal nursing philosophy and relate it to Orem’s Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory.

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Nursing Metaparadigms

In my nursing philosophy, a person or a client is an individual who is in need of care due to their health condition. Patients are also responsible for their health status, as they can have behaviors or habits that improve or interfere with proper health care. The environment is another vital nursing metaparadigm in my philosophy of nursing. I believe that the environment is a set of external factors that indirectly affect a person’s health. For instance, certain environmental conditions, such as air pollution, increase a person’s risk for some diseases.

By my nursing philosophy, health is the capacity of a person to live a long and fulfilling life. For example, conditions such as cancer or mental disorders undermine a person’s ability to be socially and physically active and enjoy life, thus leading to poor health. Hence, nursing is the process of assisting patients in achieving better health outcomes. In the case of conditions that can be treated, nursing aims to provide treatment. In cases where disease cannot be cured, nursing offers means for a person to have a high quality of life despite the condition.

Identification and Description of the Nursing Theory

A nursing theory that I find to be compatible with my philosophy is Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory. Petiprin (2016) states that Orem’s theory rests on the assumption that “People should be self-reliant, and responsible for their care, as well as others in their family who need care” (para. 2). Therefore, the theory views nursing as a process of providing patients with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop adequate self-care behaviors and skills. Orem’s theory states that the self-care behaviors of patients depend on their age, developmental stage, resources available, therapeutic demand for self-care, and other relevant factors (Petiprin, 2016).

Orem offers a list of self-care requisites related to air, food, and water intake, elimination, physical activity and rest, prevention of hazards, and promotion of human functioning. Self-care deficit occurs when a person fails to fulfill their needs with regards to health care. This can happen due to a physical condition, as well as a lack of knowledge and resources (Petiprin, 2016). When a self-care deficit occurs, nursing can help people to engage in self-care behaviors by providing assistance, education, and resources needed.

Explanation of Compatibility

To show how my philosophy of nursing is compatible with Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory, it would be useful to address how each nursing metaparadigm is presented and understood by Orem. Firstly, Orem’s theory places a person at the center of nursing care, explaining that people have a significant influence on their health through habits and self-care behaviors (Alligood, 2014). Similarly, my understanding of this metaparadigm is similar, as I also believe that people are largely in control of their health. It has been proven by multiple research studies that certain behaviors can impair or promote health.

For example, healthy eating reduces a person’s chances of developing obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, whereas smoking increases one’s risks of cancer, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Therefore, my personal philosophy of nursing also accepts the fact that people’s actions can influence their health and thus a person must be placed in the center of the nursing process.

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Secondly, Orem’s theory does not explicitly define the role of the environment in the nursing process. However, the self-care requisites show that people need access to food, water, air, health knowledge, and physical activity to be capable of self-care (Alligood, 2014). My personal philosophy of nursing builds on these requisites to include factors that are not always under the direct control of the individual, such as access to care and living conditions. These environmental factors can be related to Orem’s self-care requisites, which also shows the compatibility between Orem’s theory and my philosophy of nursing.

Thirdly, Orem defines health as the condition when a person fulfills their self-care needs adequately, either independently or with help from caregivers. My personal view of health is similar, as it is based on the quality of life of an individual. Lastly, by Orem’s theory, nursing provides means and support for people to fulfill their self-care needs (Alligood, 2014). In my philosophy, nursing is a process of providing support and care required for an individual to achieve a higher quality of life. Therefore, my understanding of nursing is also similar to that described in Orem’s theory.

Summary and Conclusion

All in all, my philosophy of nursing is similar to Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Theory due to the emphasis on the quality of life and fulfilling a patient’s needs. Both sets of beliefs can be applied in practice to provide high-quality, patient-centered care that would help patients to live longer, more fulfilling lives. The present assignment has helped me to define my perception of nursing and understand how it can be applied in practice.


Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

MAS Medical Staffing. (2018). How a personal philosophy of nursing can help your career

Petiprin, A. (2016). Self-care deficit theory. Web.

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