Nursing Theories, Practice, and Personal Philosophy


It could be stated with certainty that the provision of nursing care is a complex and multifaceted process that involves a multitude of elements and tasks. In particular, there exists a nursing metaparadigm that constitutes the following four concepts: person, nursing, health, and environment. These components represent critical dimensions in the nursing philosophy of advanced practice nurses (APN). In fact, one of the major roles of an APN is to serve as an advocate for their patients. As a result, APNs need to develop a unique ability to understand people and their natures, see beyond what is shown on the outside and sense the moods and emotions of clients.

Definition, Description, and Explanation of the Personal Nursing Philosophy


In nursing, a person is viewed as a complex being with social, emotional, spiritual, and physical dimensions (Morton & Fontaine, 2017). Accordingly, the environment represents the social, emotional, spiritual, and physical surroundings of a person (Morton & Fontaine, 2017). Health is defined as a state of harmony and internal contentedness combined with the feeling of personal dignity a sense of having a life purpose (Morton & Fontaine, 2017). Finally, nursing stands for a response to unfulfilled human needs in the form of help, assistance, support, response, and consolidation in the periods of illness (Morton & Fontaine, 2017). The four elements are tightly interconnected.


A holistic approach receives considerable recognition from numerous health care professionals in recent decades (Papathanasiou, Kourkouta, & Sklavou, 2013). Thus, APNs approach the process of providing care for their patients with a more diversified focus (Morton & Fontaine, 2017). Accordingly, the modern idea of effective treatment includes a thorough analysis of each specific patient as an individual. Patients are viewed in connection with their environments and not as separate entities (Papathanasiou et al., 2013). In this way, the aforementioned metaparadigm components are the essential parts of care.


Specifically, treating patients with the focus on their being complex persons stands for the inclusion of their environment as a factor impacting their health. Accordingly, it is possible to state that it is of high importance to provide each patient with the opportunity to implement his or her own practices of care within the comprehensive environment in which he or she lives. In my opinion, the most important aspect within the metaparadigm of nursing science is the person. Therefore, it is essential to treat each patient with respect to his or her significance and uniqueness as an individual.

Identification and a Brief Description of the Related Nursing Theory

It could be stated that based on the discussion from the previous section the most suitable nursing theory would be Dorothea Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory. The primary assumption on which the theory is based is the following: “theory created for a practical science such as nursing encompasses not only the What and Why, but also the Who and How” (Hartweg, 2015, p. 107). Viewed in the holistic context, nurses and patients should have active, dynamic, and meaningful relationships, in which the needs and the overall importance of the patient are the highest priority.

It is highly important to observe the historical context, which influenced the scientist’s decision to develop her theory. Primarily, in the process of her practice in the Indiana State Board of Health between 1949 and 1957, Orem noticed that nurses are able to “do nursing,” but they cannot “describe nursing” (Hartweg, 2015). Thus, it was her primary motivation to combine a solid theoretical approach with practical experience. Orem’s personal values, her formal education as well as familiarity with works of such philosophers as Aristotle, Aquinas, Harre, and many others, contributed significantly to the development of her theory (Hartweg, 2015).

The main concepts of the theory include six elements. Four of them are related to patients (self-care/dependent care, self-care agency/dependent-care agency, therapeutic self-care demand/dependent-care demand, and self-care deficit/dependent-care deficit), and the other two are related to nursing professionals (nursing agency and nursing system) (Hartweg, 2015).

Primarily, the connections between the theory’s concepts are presented by the interaction between “the self-care agent (person receiving care)/dependent-care agent (family member/friend providing care)” and “the nurse (nurse agent)” (Hartweg, 2015, p. 109). Thus, it is possible to state that the theory under consideration is well-elaborated, and its principal assumptions and goals match the personal nursing philosophy described in the previous section.


Using the metaparadigm of the nursing science, which comprises four elements, it is possible to envision nursing as the action resulting from the knowledge about the other components. In this context, care is the foundation of nursing on which all of the principles of evidence-based practice are based. Thus, by studying patients as persons and including their environments as factors impacting their health, a nurse can then formulate an appropriate care strategy. In contemporary clinical settings, it is essential to recognize the central role of the patient and his or her self-care skills as an integral part of the metaparadigm of the nursing science. Thus, the major purpose of the nursing profession, which is the provision of professional and deep human response to patients in the time of illness, will be achieved.


Hartweg, D. L. (2015). Dorothea Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory. In M. C. Smith & M. E. Parker (Eds.), Nursing theories and nursing practice (4th ed.) (pp. 76-81). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.

Morton, P. G., & Fontaine, D. K. (2017). Critical care nursing: A holistic approach. New York, NY: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Papathanasiou, I., Kourkouta, M., & Sklavou, L. (2013). Holistic nursing care: Theories and perspectives. American Journal of Nursing Science, 2(1), 1-5.

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NursingBird. "Nursing Theories, Practice, and Personal Philosophy." May 7, 2021.