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Virginia Henderson, RN, MSN Nursing Theorist

Susan Felicia, RN

Well known author, theorist and nurse educator Born in Kansas City, Missouri on November 30, 1897; Died March 19, 1996 1937 with others, created nursing curriculum for the National League of Nursing patient centered and organized around nursing problems rather than medical diagnoses (Henderson, 1991, p.19)

Definition of Nursing
Henderson is famous for a definition of nursing: "The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge" (Wills, 2007,p.139)

Hendersons 14 Activities for Client Assistance(Henderson,1991,p.22-23)

Breathe normally Eat and drink adequately Eliminate body waste Move and maintain desirable posture Sleep and rest Suitable clothes dress and undress Maintain body temperature Keep the body clean and well groomed Avoid dangers in the environment Express emotions, fears, needs and opinions Worship ones faith Work for clients sense of accomplishment Participate in recreation Learn, satisfy, discover

Nursing, health, patient and environment

Educated under a medical model transformed into a nursing model Empirical vs. Esthetic Pattern of Knowing Art, Science and Teaching cannot be divided and examined separately living and an appreciation for human life are the sine qua non of the modem nurse (Halloran, 1996,p.20)

Nursing Theory
Inuit means 'human beings' - phrase without bias associated related to race, nationality or sex (Halloran, 1996,p.18) Goal of nursing is to help people be free of nursing care as soon as possible returning the patient to a state of independence or the baseline of autonomy at the onset of his/her illness

Testability of the practice and outcomes of nursing Each of the 14 activities can be the basis for research (Wills, 2007, p.140) Interpretation: quantitative and qualitative research has been beneficial in evaluating this theory due to the combination of actions (14 activities) and the assumed devotion of the nurse to his/her patients (affective evaluation)

Application to Practice
Current practice cardiac step down unit specializing in heart failure Goal of nursing care is to return the patient to his/her optimal self care ability via education on diet, medications, daily weights and follow up appointments to the physician Challenges due to co morbidities associated with heart failure, some patients may not have the desire or capability to return to their pre-admission state, therefore, the nurse must accept the patients perspective and definition of wellness

How does the nurse accept indifference to recovery?
Sometimes frustration Labeling the patient non compliant Accepting the limitations of the patients ability to move beyond the disease Reach out on the patients behalf for psychological and emotional support (consult a professional)

What would you do?

Halloran, E.. Journal of Advanced Nursing. Virginia henderson and her timeless writings.23.(1996, p.17-24). Henderson, V. A.The Nature of Nursing Reflections after Twenty Five Years. New York. National League for Press. McEwen, M., Wills, E. Theoretical Basis for Nursing. Wills, E. Grand nursing theories based on human needs. Philadelphia. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.