How to write a nursing essay on Dorothea Orem’s Theory Evaluation

How to write a nursing essay on Dorothea Orem’s Theory Evaluation

Fawcett’s Criteria

Nursing is a practical endeavor engaged in by persons with specialized theoretical knowledge to provide a framework for contemporary nursing practice. Dorothea Orem’s theory of self-care deficit is among the theories that guide standard nursing practice as well as nursing education. The theory focuses on the patient’s inability to perform self-care which leads to health-related problems. While Orem’s theory is widely used to guide nursing care delivery, it is important to justify its significance by assessing if there is an explicit reference to the philosophical, metaparadigmatic, and conceptual origins of nursing. The evaluation of the self-care theory can be done using Fawcett’s criteria that includes the aspects of significance, internal consistency, parsimony, testability, empirical adequacy, and pragmatic adequacy.

One of the crucial aspects of evaluation involves the classification of a theory according to its scope or significance (Fawcett & Desanto-Madeya, 2012). Orem’s theory is based on the individual actions involved in maintaining health. When self-care is effectively performed, it helps to maintain life, health, and well-being (Yip, 2021). This theory demonstrates the significance of ensuring patients perform self-care and guides nurses in assisting those that cannot meet their needs. The theory provides the structure for examining the actions and knowledge required to assist patients.

The second part of the evaluation focuses on internal consistency that involves both semantic and structural aspects. Orem’s theory meets internal consistency because its concepts and relationships can easily be applied in clinical contexts. For example, the theory identifies the universal requisites associated with maintaining the human structure and functioning integrity (Yip, 2021). Structurally, Orem’s theory is organized from simple to complex concepts. These concepts are interrelated without bringing contradictions in relational proposals. For instance, the theory identifies the universal requisites, occasions when self-care deficit interventions should be made, and the nursing system theory that describes how the patient’s needs should be met.

The testability criterion is considered the main feature of nursing theory’s usefulness. Orem’s theory demonstrates concepts that are observable in contemporary nursing practice with several studies supporting the usefulness of the theory. The theory is widely applied to guide nursing care in patients with chronic conditions like cancer and ALS that make it difficult for patients to perform self-care (Yip, 2021). Empirical adequacy is another aspect that can be used to evaluate Orem’s theory and it involves assessment of the degree of reliability of the theory. The theory of self-care deficit can be relied upon because it can be applied by beginning practitioners and advanced clinicians. Additionally, the theory is comprehensively based on nursing practice leading to the promotion and maintenance of health. Lastly, theory demonstrates pragmatic adequacy because it fully focuses on healthcare delivery to the patient. The nursing process can be used to adequately implement Orem’s theory during patient care and the view of health as dynamic makes it applicable across different patient conditions.

Nursing Concepts

Paradigm is a vital concept in the philosophy of science that has a far-reaching influence on contemporary empirical studies. The major concepts of Orem’s self-care deficit theory include nursing, humans, environment, and health alongside others like self-care and self-care agency. Orem’s theory defines humans/patients as men, women, and children cared for either singly or as social units (Yip, 2021). The human paradigm is the material object of nurses and others who provide care. The theory places a central focus on the patient with self-care deficit and allows the nurses to help the individuals to meet their needs. The second paradigm observed in the theory is nursing which represents an art through which specialized assistance is given to patients to meet self-care needs. In her theory, Orem explains the application of the nursing process to assess patients, formulate a diagnosis, implement care, and evaluate outcomes.

Another crucial concept of the theory is health which involves being structurally and functionally whole or sound. The theory also extends health to those surrounding the patient making the element of communication crucial during care delivery. The general purpose of providing self-care is to maintain the life, health, and well-being of the patient. The theory emphasizes factors like age, gender, developmental state, and patterns of living that can affect an individual’s health (Yip, 2021). Lastly, Orem defines the environment as the physical, chemical, and biological features surrounding the patient. During the provision of assistance, Orem stresses the importance of involving the family or community including consideration of cultural aspects of care.

Carper’s Fundamental Ways of Knowing

As proposed by Barbara carper, the fundamental ways of knowing to represent a typology that classifies sources from which professional knowledge can be derived. The patterns of knowing include empirical, personal, ethical, and aesthetic (Campbell et al., 2018). Orem’s theory incorporates the empirical aspect through the use of nursing science to inform nursing care. The description of the universal requisites like intake of air, water, and food is scientifically proven to be essential to all human beings. The personal aspect can be observed through the definition of nursing which involves assisting others in the provision and management of self-care. Regarding the ethical pattern of care, Orem’s theory explains that the nurse should act for and do good to others (Yip, 2021). It promotes the application of the ethical principles of beneficence and non-maleficence during care delivery. The aesthetic aspect involves being aware of the patient and their circumstances as individuals (Campbell et al., 2018). The theory incorporates this pattern through the nursing system aspect that requires the nurse to assess the patient’s condition to determine what type o care to give.


Campbell, T. D., Penz, K., Dietrich-Leurer, M., Juckes, K., & Rodger, K. (2018). Ways of knowing as a framework for developing reflective practice among nursing students. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship15(1), /j/ijnes.2018.15.issue-1/ijnes-2017-0043/ijnes-2017-0043.xml.

Fawcett, J., & Desanto-Madeya, S. (2012). Contemporary nursing knowledge: Analysis and evaluation of nursing models and theories. FA Davis.

Yip, J. Y. C. (2021). Theory-based advanced nursing practice: A practice update on the application of Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory. SAGE Open Nursing7, 23779608211011993.

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