Theoretical sources


Theoretical sources

Orem’s SCDNT provides a conceptualization of the distinct helping service that nursing provides.

The primary source for Orem’s ideas about nursing was her experiences in nursing. Through reflection on nursing practice situations, she was able to identify the proper object, or focus, of nursing. The question that directed Orem’s (2001) thinking was, “What condition exists in a person when judgments are made that a nurse(s) should be brought into the situation?”

The condition that indicates the need for nursing assistance is “the inability of persons to provide continuously for themselves the amount and quality of required self-care because of situations of personal health”

Theoretical sources

Originally, three specific theories were articulated: the theory of nursing systems, the theory of self-care deficits, and the theory of self-care.

An additional theory, the theory of dependent-care, has been articulated.

This theory is regarded as being parallel with the theory of self-care and serves to illustrate the ongoing development of the SCDNT

In addition to her experiences in nursing practice situations, Orem was well versed in contemporary nursing literature and thought.

Theoretical sources

Foundational to Orem’s SCDNT is the philosophical system of moderate realism.

These inquiries revealed consistency between Orem’s views regarding the nature of reality, human beings, the environment, and nursing as a science–ideas and positions associated with the philosophy of moderate realism

Orem did not specifically address the nature of reality; however, statements and phrases that she uses reflect a moderate realist position. Four categories of postulated entities are identified as establishing the ontology of the SCDNT (Orem, 2001, p. 141). These four categories are (1) persons in space-time localizations, (2) attributes or properties of these persons, (3) motion or change, and (4) products brought into being.

Theoretical sources

Orem (1997) identified “five broad views of human beings that are necessary for developing understanding of the conceptual constructs of the SCDNT and for understanding the interpersonal and societal aspects of nursing systems” (p. 28). These are the view of person, agent, user of symbols, organism, and object.

The view of person-as-agent is central to the SCDNT. Self-care, which refers to those actions in which a person engages for the purpose of promoting and maintaining life, health, and well-being, is conceptualized as a form of deliberate action.

Theoretical sources

Orem (2001) identified two sets of speculatively practical nursing science: nursing practice sciences and foundational nursing sciences.

The set of nursing practice sciences includes (1) wholly compensatory nursing science, (2) partly compensatory nursing science, and (3) supportive developmental nursing science.

The foundational nursing sciences are (1) the science of self-care, (2) the science of the development and exercise of the self-care agency in the absence or presence of limitations for deliberate action, and (3) the science of human assistance for persons with health-associated self-care deficits.

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