Application of Theory Paper – Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory

Applicationof Theory Paper – Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory

Mostsignificantly, self-care deficit nursing theory holds that the demandof self-care prevails when family members are not in a position ofcaring for their patient and such self-care demands can only beachieved through nurses (Masters,2011). In addition, self-care model is constituted by three theories:nursing system theory, self-care deficit theory, and self-caretheory. However, the theory of interest is self-care deficit nursingwhich is perceived as a theoretical framework revolving aroundnursing practice. According to Orem, there are four major constructsof nursing pertinent to meta-paradigm. These constructs includeenvironment, person, nursing and health. These constructs are relatedto one another as person is the central target of nursing care, wherehis or her mental condition is dictated by his or her environment andcapable of self-care. Therefore, self-care deficit nursing theory isapplied into the nursing practice. In admission, the writer does nothave an experience in applying this nursing theory the way Oremintended. This paper seeks out to discuss the application of Orem’sself-care deficit theory in nursing practice to solve some of theproblems that are encountered in this field.


Theissues revolve around nursing education. It has been noted with muchconcern that nursing has failed to pay attention like otherdisciplines which have developed their discipline and knowledge(Perle&ampMoorhead,2014).For example, nursing discipline has not done enough to differentiatebetween advanced and entry-level education in nursing. Thisdiscipline is not structured and thus, it is difficult to know wherewe are coming from or where to advance to. In understanding problemsin the nursing practice and nursing education, it is important todistinguish between professional and technical nursing. It ispossible to make a distinction when technical nursing is viewed ineducation sense. However, many nurses do not know much about thedifferences between technical and professional forms of education andeven between practice operations of professionally qualified nursesand that of technicians in terms of entry-level, highly advanced andexperienced (Masters, 2011).

Therefore,the theory of self-care deficit is used in both professional andtechnical nursing. According to Oermann&amp Gaberson (2013), nursingprograms such as Diplomas, Degrees, and Baccalaureates andAssociate’s Degrees use the principles provided by self-caredeficit theory. The question whether this theory is used properly canbe answered in consideration of many situations. Indeed, his theoryis useful in all education levels. However, in applying this theoryto address the issues in nursing education, it significant tounderstand the background students and the outcomes of educationintended before deciding which principles of self-care deficit theorywould appropriate. For example, Baccalaureate students may use thistheory directly if their secondary education was sufficient. As amatter of fact, there is a particular body of knowledge within theself-care deficit theoretical context that is suitable for technicaleducation and another body in another context suitable forprofessional education such as baccalaureate education (Perle&ampMoorhead,2014).In other words, these are concepts of nursing practice which can beused by nurses to deal with patients. In addition, this is a generaltheory of nursing where the complexity lies in the cases in thehospital. For example, in many cases master’s education level isrequired for a nurse to be competent.

However,many students have not be doing well to attain higher levels ofeducation in nursing as many do not know the differences betweenprofessional and technical nursing. This situation has frustratedmany students who ended up doing technical education in nursing. Thereason behind their failure is based on the premise that many nursingstudents shun away from group work that is meant to help them succeedin their nursing education. It is also apparent that most of thenursing students do not have critical thinking skills that may helpthem to become nursing professionals rather than technicians. Asnursing discipline is poorly structured, nursing practice is filledwith nurses who are not competent enough to provide health care(Perle&ampMoorhead,2014).For example, nursing assessment standards for students involvewritten examinations which do not cover areas of communication in anyway. To make matter even worse, nursing educators have used thesimilar assessment methods for almost all competencies of a nurse.

Strategiesfor application of the theory

Historically,nurses have been algorithmically undertaken through all clinicaldecisions and procedures which are not directly concerned withclinical decision making. It has been depicted that such a system ofnursing training focussed on life intimidating conditions withpractice based on protocols, founded on restricted underpinningknowledge (Moorhead,2013).Therefore, nurses are required to move from surface to much more deepthinking strategies and expand their thinking repertoire throughevaluation of educational provision. It has been noted with muchconcern that nursing profession is at crossroads in its shift from atraining paradigm (technical education) to that of higher education.Thus, this evolution in nursing education heralds a transition awayfrom a training culture of superficial learning and nursingeducator’s expository teaching (Taylor&amp Renpenning, 2011).

Equallyimportantly, there is a need to develop defensive and reliablestrategies because of increased litigation by students are addingnovel dimensions to nursing educator’s roles. Orem used fourelements of nursing meta-paradigm (person, environment, health andnursing) which are much similar to elements of goal attainment theory(Taylor&amp Renpenning, 2011).This relationship can be used to help nursing students attaineducational goals such as nursing professionalism. In addition, withcontinued change within nursing education there is a need to improvestandards for assessing students and shun away from writtenexaminations. This is because nursing educators have used the samemethods of assessments for years. To address this problem, numerousassessment methods new to nursing education are implemented withcontinued development. Therefore, the new methods of assessmentinclude but not restricted to communication skills, clinical skills,professionalism, and procedural skills.

Furthermore,nursing educators is to associates these assessment methods tostudents’ competence. This bring relevance in a pre-hospitalenvironment as health, life and welfare of patients is imminently atrisk when students are not efficiently assessed that may lead tofuture nursing with relatively low clinical competence levels. Inaddition, assessment methods can summative or formative which arepertinent to learning. Formative assessment is significant to futurelearning and provides reassurance, as well as promoting reflection.However, summative assessment takes place at the end of program ofstudy or module and provides information on how nursing students havelearned and learning outcomes. Therefore, assessment strategies canbe used as a summative and formative assessment. We find thatself-care deficit theory can be used to help struggling students toidentify particular reasons for performing poorly. In addition, theprincipal feedback that corrects certain performance deficit to endwith an action plan (Moorhead,2013).

Anotherstrategy is to use language that is understandable and involvesminimal jargons (Auerhahn&amp Kennedy-Malone, 2010).It is important to note that Orem’s theory of self-care deficit wasmeticulously established for a period ranging more than thirty years.One of the reasons why students fail in nursing examinations is thatnursing discipline uses language that is not easily understandableand also the use of jargons. Therefore, the theory uses terminologiesthat are quite understandable with little or uncomplicated meanings.Another strategy that can be used is evidence-based practice which isa considerate combination of the available evidence in respect tonursing expertise. Therefore, the strategy of improving nursingprofessional profile (through professional education) is to supportthe culture of decision making based on expertise and not out ofpersonal experience. Moreover, the aim of this strategy is to stampout traditional trial and error method of solving problems throughthe process of evidence-based practice. Therefore, students can beencouraged to develop knowledge of applying outcomes of research intopractice (Taylor&amp Renpenning, 2011).


Self-caredeficit theory can be used to address knowledge deficit in nursingeducation. When a nursing student is unable to provide for requisitesin nursing education a knowledge deficit is created. According toOrem, some of deficits can be fulfilled by social support. To beginwith, knowledge deficit is referred to as deficiency in psychomotorskills or cognitive information required in nursing educationrecovery. Nursing education may also take place in hospital andambulance care besides learning institutions. It is important to notethat learning constitutes three domains which include cognitive,affective and psychomotor domain. Cognitive domain includesproblem-solving, intellectual activities and others, while affectivedomain includes beliefs, attitudes, and feelings, and psychomotordomain includes procedures or physical skills. Therefore, nursingeducator must choose what, when, and how to teach the students basedon mutual consensus (Moorhead,2013).

Justas nursing students are concerned with their progress in education,so too should the nursing educators be concerned with provision ofquality of their teaching (Auerhahn&amp Kennedy-Malone, 2010).The rating of the teaching quality can be very complicated task as itmay include many approaches. One type of teaching quality rating isstudent feedback which is a significant step in acquiring clinicalskills, although clinical educators ignore feedback. Therefore, theOrem’s theory is used alongside other theories such as Roy’sModel that uses similar concepts of nursing (Hirsch,2006).In addition, the Orem’s theory delineates the manner in which anurse educator can assist nursing students to fulfil self-caredeficit in nursing education. There are five significant methods thatwere identified by Orem. These methods include guiding others, doingfor and acting for others, teaching another, supporting another, andproving environment for meeting future demands. These methods areessential to nursing education as they can improve the performancestudents and encourage them towards achieving higher levels ofprofessionalism.


Orem’sself-care deficit theory is a premier nursing theory that is broadlytaught as a model of nursing practice to nursing students and is usedpractically within hospital settings. It has been noticed that thetheory is adaptable to numerous of care settings and can be appliedin a wide range of care recipients. There are numerous issues thatare encountered in nursing education including poorly structurednursing discipline, use of jargons and difficult terminologies, andamong others. However, proposed strategies seek to address the issuesin nursing education. In addition, the rationale for the strategiesis proposed to explain the basis that was utilized to come up withthese strategies such as evidence based practice. Therefore, thewriter has gained new knowledge necessary for application of nursingtheory.


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Masters,K. (2011). NursingTheories:AFramework for Professional Practice.Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning, LLC.

Moorhead,S. (2013).&nbspNursingoutcomes classification (NOC): Measurement of health outcomes.St. Louis, Mo: Elsevier/Mosby.

Oermann,M. H., &amp Gaberson, K. B. (2013).&nbspEvaluationand Testing in Nursing Education.New York: Springer Pub. Co.

PerleSlavik Cowenand&nbspSueMoorhead. (2014). CurrentIssues In Nursing.Elsevier Health Sciences.

Taylor,S. G., &amp Renpenning, K. M. L. (2011).&nbspSelf-carescience, nursing theory, and evidence-based practice.New York: Springer Pub.