Comparison of Virginia Henderson and Dorothea Orem Nursing Theories

Topic: Nursing
Words: 315 Pages: 1

The approaches of medical specialists to the task of rendering high-quality services to the population differ, whereas they are all efficient in achieving the set goals. In the case of the principles of practice of nursing, developed by Virginia Henderson, and the self-care deficit nursing theory, created by Dorothea Orem, this rule applies as well. Therefore, the examination of both approaches to the matter is useful for distinguishing between the main factors, determining their success.

The first condition, explaining the difference between the mentioned theories, is the concepts put in the basis of corresponding models. For Henderson, they include individuals, the environment, health, and nursing, whereas Orem uses the same provisions alongside self-care and self-care agency (American Sentinel, 2020; Gonzalo, 2021). It means that the latter is more focused on achieving independence faster, whereas the former heavily relies on nursing expertise without time limits.

In turn, these frameworks are distinguished by their assumptions, implications, and application. In Orem’s theory, it is suggested that constant communication, proper identification of needs, individual actions, and interactions within groups are critical for achieving the main goals (Gonzalo, 2021). In contrast to these provisions, Henderson assumes that the learning process and timely assistance of nurses is the key to success (American Sentinel, 2020). These attitudes have varying implications as Orem’s model means time-efficiency, and Henderson’s approach is more about cooperation. Their application differs accordingly, as Orem’s ideas are more suitable for both home and hospital setting, whereas Henderson’s developments are appropriate mostly for clinical purposes.

In conclusion, the examination of the two nursing theories showed that they can be most effective when external circumstances are thoroughly assessed. Thus, Orem’s framework is better introduced for long-term interventions, requiring care for patients in any context. In turn, Henderson’s model seems more efficient when applied to the needs of those patients, whose conditions are monitored only within medical facilities for guaranteeing future autonomy.


American Sentinel. (2020). Virginia Henderson: The nightingale of modern nursing. Web.

Gonzalo, A. (2021). Dorothea Orem: Self-care deficit theory. Nurseslabs. Web.

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