Nursing Theory: A Comparison of Concepts Developed
Clinical nursing practice should be guided by nursing theory. Patient care situations need to be viewed within the context of theoretical frameworks. There are different ways of evaluating such frameworks. For example, historicists typically base hypotheses on important past events. In contrast, the theoretical sciences are mainly interested in finding and testing universal laws. Dorothea Orem's general theory of nursing defines the need for nursing care. In contrast, Gerald Caplan's theory of crisis intervention describes a rationale for dealing with certain psychiatric patients. Together, these two theories may help define the interaction between nurses and their patients.
Dorothea Orem's General Theory of Nursing--The Idea:
Dorothea Elizabeth Orem was a preeminent nursing theorist whose concepts direct nursing practice. Her general theory of nursing describes the profession as a complex form of deliberate interpersonal action. Nurses should ultimately provide a therapeutic human health service. Orem's theory specifically focuses on the nurse's approach towards persons who are limited in their ability to take care of themselves (Fawcett, 1995, pp. 277-374). According to Orem (cited in Humphreys, 1995, pp. 9-11), "individuals take actions to meet others' health-related needs" (Humphreys, 1995, pp. 9-11). Dependent care consists of those actions which people initiate and perform to prevent hazards to human life, human functioning, and human well-being. With regard to nurses, such behaviors may involve patient diagnosis and patient prescription, as well as the maintenance of different therapeutic systems. At present, Orem's ideas about nursing are recognized internationally as a basis for clinical practice (Eben, Gashti, Hayes, Marriner-Tomey, Nation, et al., n.g., pp. 181-190).
General Theory of Nursing--Definition of Concepts:
Dorothea Orem's theor...