Alligood (2013) argues that theoretical knowledge is not necessarily unrelated to practice. A better understanding of nursing is often facilitated by research into theories and concepts that are utilized in the profession. The significance of this process resides in the fact that theory, among other things, allows to analyze the best practices and crystallize the healthcare paradigms that advance modern medicine for the sake of better patient health outcomes (Hatlevik, 2012). Such work was performed, for example, by Dorothea Orem, who developed a Self-Care Theory. The philosophy behind it is based on the notion of self-care, which is the ability and will of every human being to address their basic healthcare needs by themselves (Orem, 2001). The current concept analysis will elaborate on the application, attributes, precedents, consequences of the use, and empiric methods of self-care assessment.
Self-care could be identified, as it was mentioned above, as a person’s ability to care for his or her own health. Additionally, the concept could represent preventative actions aimed to preserve health and wellbeing. Above that, self-care could mean treatment of minor illnesses, conditions, and injuries based on common knowledge of the symptoms and ways of treatment. All these definitions can form a unified concept of self-care, which can be defined as an ability of a human being to prevent, identify, and treat various adverse health conditions, illnesses, and injuries without interventions from the medical staff.
The concept of self-care could be applied in a variety of settings. In households, self-care could be used in the form of treating minor cuts and bruises without medical interference. Headaches, minor strains, stress, anxiety, and other non-serious issues can be treated without bothering professionals because even the basic knowledge is enough to identify, prevent or treat those adversities. The concept can also be applied in professional settings such as a hospital or an office where cases of stress are often encountered (Skovholt & Trotter-Mathison, 2014). Rehabilitation of the elderly could also be a valid sphere for the concept application as older adults could learn to perform self-care actions through engagement with nurses.
According to Orem and Taylor (2011), self-care theory splits into several smaller concepts: self-care requisites, self-care deviations, and self-care system (p. 39). The first includes the universal self-care needs such as air, water, food, and other things. The second is related to the inability of an individual to provide care for him or herself. The self-care system refers to the range of capacities of individuals and the complexity of the relationships of the latter with medical personnel (Roussel, 2014). Another vital aspect of the self-care concept is a self-care agency, which is a capacity of a person to perform actions aimed to preserve, identify, and treat minor conditions within the limits of his or her knowledge.
When precedents are concerned, it may be deemed reasonable to consider treatment of minor illnesses and injuries in almost every household or workplace that has a first aid kit as an act of self-care. As for the consequences of such an approach, general improvements in health and wellbeing across the lifespan, from adolescence to senior age can be named. It is noteworthy to mention, that a nurse’s role in the creation of positive precedents and consequences is sizable. A viable empiric method that can measure the concept of self-care is the observation of domains and practices related to self-care (Webber, Guo, & Mann, 2013, p. 104). These areas and techniques can include health literacy, self-awareness of physical and mental conditions, healthy food habits, risk mitigation, hygiene, and rational use of medicine. With the help of these notions, the success of self-care in a range of spheres and populations could be measured.
Overall, the concept of self-care could be defined as personal identification, prevention, and treatment of various illnesses, diseases, and injuries with no help from professionals. The concept can be implemented in a variety of spheres and has multiple uses. Most importantly, it helps lower the burden of healthcare providers and improves the overall level of health throughout the population.
Alligood, M. R. (2013). Nursing theory-e-book: Utilization & application. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Hatlevik, I. K. R. (2012). The theory‐practice relationship: Reflective skills and theoretical knowledge as key factors in bridging the gap between theory and practice in initial nursing education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 68(4), 868-877.
Orem, D. E., & Taylor, S. G. (2011). Reflections on nursing practice science: The nature, the structure, and the foundation of nursing sciences. Nursing Science Quarterly, 24(1), 35-41.
Orem, D.E. (2001). Nursing: Concepts of practice (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Roussel, L. (2014). Concepts and theories guiding professional practice. Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, LLC.
Skovholt, T. M., & Trotter-Mathison, M. (2014). The resilient practitioner: Burnout prevention and self-care strategies for counselors, therapists, teachers, and health professionals. London, UK: Routledge.
Webber, D., Guo, Z., & Mann, S. (2013). Self-care in health: We can define it, but should we also measure it? SelfCare, 4(5), 101-106.