Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory


As an NP practice, the specialty is a family nurse practitioner (FNP), and the nursing theory to use is Orem’s self-care theory. Orem’s self-care theory was developed in 1959 by Dorothea Orem and was first published in theory in nursing concepts of practice in 1971 while working as a curriculum consultant. According to Smith (2019) Orem developed the theory by believing that people’s natural ability for self-care and nursing should affect that ability. Her subsequent publication was in 1980, in 1995, and 2001.

Meaning and Scope

The theory is based on the principle that all persons are capable of self-care. In theory, the concepts are interconnected whereby the person forms the critical focus of nursing care and depends on the theorist; their environment facilitates their health state of taking care of themselves.

Logical Adequacy

Throughout the theory, Orem mentioned and analyzed the concept of nursing system, agency, and self-care needs clearly and in-depth. The theory shows logical adequacy as it describes the concepts of nursing that include nursing, environment, person, and health and explains how they are interrelated with each other.

Usefulness and Simplicity

Orem’s self-care theory offers a description of the nursing process that presents a way to govern the self-care demands and explain nurse and persons’ roles to attain the self-care needs. Orem underscored that the technical components must be harmonized with societal and interpersonal processes in nursing circumstances.


The theory can be applied in other situations, such as administration levels, education, and research, besides the healthcare setting.


The theory can be supported by empirical evidence where information about patients is obtained through observation and documentation of particular behavior and patterns regarding individual self-care approaches.

In the family nurse practitioner role setting, the nursing process described in theory can improve the quality of patient life. Orem defined the connection of the theory with nursing processes used in managing patients’ conditions and determining possible means for offering self-care.

The Rationale for the Theory

The theory provides a foundational knowledge of core concepts essential for a nurse practitioner to explain what is required of them to do for patients and the reasons for their actions. NP articulate evidence that justifies the methodologies behind their practice.

Grand Theories

The structure of grand theories is at the next level, with more abstract compared to middle-range theories. Grand theories emphasize primarily on the concerned phenomenon to the disciplines like a human being as a unitary person, self-care deficits, adaptive systems, or health as increasing consciousness (Smith, 2019). Grand theories constitute relational statements and concepts. Assumptions are the relational statements on which the grand theories are developed, and they reflect their foundational philosophies. Philosophies are statements of enduring beliefs and values and can be practical guides for nurses’ conduct applying the theory and can be used to ascertain the compatibility of the theory with values, societal beliefs, professional organizational, and personal. Major metaparadigm concepts of nursing theories are nursing, health, environment, and person. Grand theories are focused on conceptual frameworks and models for defining practice in numerous circumstances and caring settings and examining phenomena depending on perspectives. Examples of grand nursing theories are general systems, transcultural nursing, self-care theory, and nursing process theory.

Middle-Range Theories

Middle-range theories are broad enough to be helpful in situations that are complex and relevant for empirical testing. Contrary to grand theories, middle-range theories have a narrow scope and provide an effective bridge amid the grand theories and explanation and description of a particular nursing phenomenon (Smith, 2019). These types of theory present propositions and concepts at a lower construct’s level and hold boundless likelihood for developing theory-based study and nursing practice methods. Middle-range theories can be derived from grand theories or specific paradigmatic standpoints. In nursing today, middle-range theories have presented the most current exciting publication. Nursing theory reports created at this level entail nursing practice approaches, theory testing through research, and implications for the development of instruments. Middle-range theories can be verified through testing and are less abstract. Some middle-range theories are the comfort theory, uncertainty of illness, and unpleasant symptoms theory.


Smith, M. C. (2019). Nursing theories and nursing practice. FA Davis.

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NursingBird. (2022, December 3). Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory. Retrieved from


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"Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory." NursingBird, 3 Dec. 2022,


NursingBird. (2022) 'Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory'. 3 December.


NursingBird. 2022. "Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory." December 3, 2022.

1. NursingBird. "Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory." December 3, 2022.


NursingBird. "Nursing Theory in Orem’s Self-Care Theory." December 3, 2022.