Virginia Hendersons Need Theory Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

1) Pioneering Theories in Nursing: Virginia Henderson’s Need Theory

Virginia Henderson is one of the pioneer scholars of modern nursing. She defined complex phenomena in modern nursing at a time not many other scholars were generating much content to improve the profession. Most of Henderson’s works focused on the role of nursing in the provision of health care, how nurses function, and what they do. In many cases, her works were always written in a way that could be understood even by laymen. According to Smith (1998), one of the most unique beliefs held by Henderson was her argument that nursing theories have no direct impact on the provision of health care to patients. However, she is more widely known for her work in identifying and organizing modern nursing knowledge (Parker, 2001).

The Needs Theory is one of the initial theories in modern nursing. Henderson’s conceptualization of nursing stressed on putting the patient in the middle of everything to hasten the provision of healthcare. In her conceptualization, Henderson divided nursing activities into 14 different groups based on need, the majority of them being physiological, other being psychological, spiritual, moral and sociological. According to her, the nursing role is complementary, supplementary, and substitutive. The objective of the role is to ensure that patients achieve as much independence as possible. Henderson’s definition of modern nursing is basically a succinctly written description of her conceptualization of nursing. Her definition was that the role of a modern nurse is to assist patients in doing things that will help them recover to an extent where they can do things independently (Henderson, 1958). Henderson’s works also concentrated on the importance of individual care as a part of nursing in helping individuals to recover, maintain their health, or to pass on peacefully (Meleis, 2007; George, 2011).

2) Theory Application Article: Application of Virginia Henderson’s Needs Theory on Elderly

According to a research by Fernandes, Guedes, Silva, and Borges (2016), Virginia Henderson’s definition of nursing and the nursing process was precise. Their research focused on the provision of health care to the elderly and they found that nursing based on need and individualized care was more effective in helping patients achieve better outcomes. When providing healthcare, the use of a Nursing Process based on concepts and theories related to individualized care, often significantly improves outcomes according to the Fernandes et al. (2016). Therefore, it is clear that to effectively perform their nursing duties, nurses have to look at existing concepts and theories in their profession and select the best depending on the situation they are faced with (Silva & Santos, 2010). Henderson helped establish a good base of knowledge for proper conduct in modern nursing. A base that defined the fourteen basic health needs and categorized them into multiple categories, namely moral, spiritual, social, psychological, and physiological categories (Henderson, 1958). The fourteen needs are not in themselves problems but areas where problems can occur. More accurately the needs provide rough guidelines to lead a successful modern nursing life. They include the need to: participate in recreational activities; enjoy a sense of accomplishment; practice faith; learn; communicate; avoid environmental risks; protect the skin; keep the body clean; maintain body temperature at normal; dress appropriately; sleep and rest; maintain a desirable posture; eliminate organic waste; eat and drink properly; and breath normally (Henderson, 1958). Thus, the conceptual model fronted by Henderson is regarded as a guide for the provision of clinical care to the elderly because it favors evaluating or helping individuals in all ways. It also helps nurses to think critically and provide comprehensive, systemized care that is…

Sources Used in Document:


Fealy, G. M. (1997). The theory-practice relationship in nursing: an exploration of contemporary discourse. J Adv Nurs, 25(5), 1061-9.

Fernandes, B., Guedes, M., Silva, L., & Borges, C. (2016). Nursing process based on Virginia Henderson applied for a working elderly. J Nurs UFPE, 10(9), 3418-25.

George J. B. (2011). Nursing theories: The base for professional nursing practice (5thed). Norwalk, Appleton & Lange: USA.

Henderson, V. (1958). Principios fundamentales de los cuidados de enfermería. Bol Oficina Sanit Panam., 44(3), 217-220.

Meleis, A. (2007). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress (4th ed.). Lippincott, Philadelphia, USA.

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