Theory of Needs in Nursing Practice

Topic: Nursing
Words: 635 Pages: 2

Virginia Henderson’s Theory

Proposed by Virginia Henderson in 1960 in the United States, and then expanded upon in 1968, this model focuses nursing staff on the physiological and then on the psychological and social needs that can be met through nursing care. The main thing in this model is the participation of the patient himself in the planning and implementation of care. The theory suggests 14 needs for everyday life. A healthy person does not experience difficulties in meeting these needs. At the same time, a sick person is not able to do this on his own, so nursing care should be aimed at restoring the independence of the individual as soon as possible.

Using Theory in Nursing Practice

The main task of the nurse is to find the patient’s weak points, as well as the thoughts, feelings and history of the patient. Specialists should determine the time for carrying out certain activities of the plan, guided by the results of a continuous assessment of readiness for them by the patient and his family (Grove & Gray, 2018). The patient must recognize and use the potential of his own and his family in order to develop a plan of action. Plans should be aimed at solving all the problems identified by the nurse in the process of working with the family (Grove & Gray, 2018). The nurse must determine which approaches to coping are preferred by the patient and his family, and evaluate their effectiveness. The specialist must constantly work on plans of action based on the situation in the family.

The Purpose of Applying the Theory

The main goal of applying this strategy is that it is the joint action that contributes to the fastest and most effective treatment of the individual. The nurse, together with the patient, determines the problem that exists in him – the one that caused his hospitalization, as well as the priorities and attitudes of family members to certain areas of activity (Grove & Gray, 2018). This problem is long-term, and there is a long period ahead, during which all efforts will have to be directed to overcoming the causes that caused the problem (Grove & Gray, 2018). The patient and his family must understand and realize this. The patient should use the potential of himself and his family in order to develop a plan of action.


In order to consider in more detail the application of such a theory in nursing, I decided to give an example. There is a situation where the patient is admitted to the therapeutic department with a diagnosis of hypertensive crisis, accompanied by his wife and two sons. In the process of examination, I note that the patient is overweight and is worried about his condition. During the initial assessment of the patient’s condition, it is necessary to collect the most detailed information about the patient and his family. Any information is useful, especially what health problems and diseases were in the family before; how did the family solve these problems; what means did they use; what was the contribution of each family member to solving these problems. In addition, the patient gives a description of his daily life, work, nutrition, exercise, family.

Potential Question

When getting acquainted with several models from the many existing ones, it is clear that there is no single model today. Practitioners in many countries use several models at the same time, and the choice of model depends on the inability of the patient to meet certain needs. Understanding the already developed models helps to choose those that are suitable for a particular patient (Grove & Gray, 2018). Based on the foregoing, the subject of further research should be the search for the most effective implementation of the system in treatment so that the theory becomes universal.


Grove, S. K. & Gray, J. R. (2018). Understanding nursing research. Building an evidence-based practice. Elsevier Health Sciences.

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