Throughout the development of Nursing as a field of specialization, there were numerous theories formulated by renowned nurse scientists to explain the nature of Nursing as a distinct science, and the relationship of nurses to various clienteles, may they be individuals, families, or groups. Among the nurse researchers who laid the foundation for contemporary nursing would be Virginia Avenel Hernderson. Henderson was a nurse theorist who has contributed significantly to nursing ideals and nursing practice. She has been called the "First Lady of Nursing and the First Truly International Nurse" because of her writings, research presentations and contacts with nurses that profoundly affected nursing and gave an impression on the recipients of care by nurses throughout the world.
The significance of a theory to Nursing as a profession as stated by Virginia Henderson:
"NURSING is rooted from the needs of humanity and is founded on the ideal of service. And that, “the nurse is temporarily the consciousness of the unconscious, the love of life for the suicidal, the leg of the amputee, the eyes of the newly blind, a means of locomotion for the infant, knowledge and confidence for the mother and the mouthpiece for those too weak or withdrawn to speak."
Virginia Henderson was famous for her Definition of Nursing which states that "The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible."
This statement still holds true. Nurses, especially those assigned in acute care - where most nurses play an active role, are concerned with taking care of patient's needs and assisting them with activities of daily living - activities that the clients would have been capable of doing had they not been sick or incapacitated. Nurses are also crucial instruments for dying patients to have peaceful death and in consoling loved ones when the inevitable happens.
However, it is also interesting to know that Henderson's Definition of Nursing is not only applicable in nursing practice but is also important in the nursing academe and realm of nursing research. Professors and clinical instructors use nursing theories, such as Henderson's, to structure their pedagogical approach while nurse researchers use theories as framework for their particular research study.
A.K.A.: First Lady of Nursing Born: November 30, 1897, in Kansas City, Missouri Died: March 16, 1996 at age 98 at the Connecticut Hospice, Branford. CT Father: Atty. Daniel B. Henderson Mother: Lucy Minor (Abbot) Henderson
“ The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge.”
Early education at home in Virginia with her aunts, her sister and an uncle, Charles Abbot, at his school for boys in the community Army School of Nursing, Washington, D.C.
Graduated in 1921 at Teachers College, Columbia University (Bachelor of Science degree completed in 1931 while Masters of Science degree in 1934)
Career in Nursing:
Henry Street Visiting Nurse Association, New York, New York (1921)
Norfolk Protestant Hospital, Norfolk, Virginia as an Instructor and Educational Director (1924-1929)
Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester, New York as a Supervisor and Clinical Instructor at the Outpatient Department (1930)
Teachers College, Columbia University, New York as an Instructor and Associate Professor (1934-1948)
Yale University School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut as a Research Associate (1953-1971) and as a Research Associate Emeritus (1971-1996)
Honors and Awards:
The honors bestowed on Henderson are numerous. To mention just a few, she held honorary degrees from thirteen universities; she was selected at the American Nurses Associations Hall of Fame and had the Sigma Theta Tau International Library named in her honor. She was honored by the Virginia Nurses Association in 1988 when the Virginia Historical Nurse Leadership Award was presented to her. In 2000, the Virginia Nurses Association recognized Henderson as one of fifty-one Pioneer Nurses in Virginia. She was also the recipient of the Virginia Historical Nurse Leader Award and was awarded the first Christianne Reimann Prize in June 1985 due to the transnational scope of her work. She received honorary doctorate degrees from the prestigious universities like University of Western Ontario, University of Rochester, Yale University, Rush University, Pace University, Catholic University of America, Old Dominion University, Boston College, Thomas Jefferson University, Emory University and many others. She was also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and a member of the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame.
Who can find a good natured Nurse? For her price is far above silver and gold. She seeks medicines and skills, and works willingly with others.
She gives of herself and considers her own desires last. A heartwarming smile is hers, and is made beautiful in her eyes.
She girds herself with honor and strengthens her ability with patience. She perceives that her work is good. Her candle does not go out by night. She lays her hands upon understanding.
She stretches out her hand to the poor; yet, she reaches forth hands to the needy. She is not afraid of sorrow, for her trust is in God. Pride and humility are her clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with comfort, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Her associates rise up and call her blessed; her patients also praise her kindness.
Many daughters have helped others, but you excel them all.
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain. But a Nurse that fears the Lord -- She shall be praised!
It is equated with independence or ability to perform activities without any aid in the 14 fundamental or basic human needs.
Nurses need to stress promotion of health, prevention of illness and its cure.
Necessary strength, will, and knowledge is important in achieving health.
Health is basic to human functioning.
Health promotion is more important than care of the sick.
“It is the quality of health rather than life itself, that margin of mental physical vigor that allows a person to work most effectively and to reach his highest potential level of satisfaction in life”
-Henderson and Nite, 1978
It encompasses all external conditions and influences that affect life and development.
Society wants and expects nurses to act for individuals who are unable to function independently; in return, the nurse expects the society to contribute to nursing education.
The environment may also include individuals in relation to families and the settings in which an individual learns unique pattern for living.
There are seven essentials that must be present in the environment which include light, temperature, air movement, atmospheric pressure, appropriate disposal of waste, minimal quantities of injurious chemicals, and cleanliness of any surfaces coming in contact with individual.
The environment can act positively or negatively upon the patient.
It can an also be altered in such a way to support a patient.
Definition of Nursing states that, "the unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible." Henderson emphasized the art of nursing and identified 14 basic human needs of patients which comprises the components of nursing care core.
Henderson wrote her definition of nursing before the development of theoretical nursing. She described nursing roles in relation to patient needs instead of creating a general theory of nursing. The nurse's goal is to make the patient "complete" ,"“whole", or "independent." In turn, the nurse collaborates with the physician's therapeutic plan. He/she provides individualized care. and utilizes nursing research as a source of standards for rendering care to clients.
Henderson's work is widely used by nurses in different nations because of its practicality and realistic application in nursing practice. The nursing assessment, diagnosis, plan and evaluation parallels the doctors' general decision-making processes.
"I say that the nurse does for others what they would do for themselves if they had the strength, the will, and the knowledge. But I go on to say that the nurse makes the patient independent of him or her as soon as possible."
Blais et al. (2002). Professional nursing practice: Concepts and perspectives (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
D’Antonio et al. (eds.). (2007). Nurse’s work: Issues across time and place. New York: Springer Publishing.
Cora Anonuevo et al. Theoretical Foundations of Nursing.UP Open University
If you must get sick, a Nurse is the nicest thing that can happen to you.
Nurse come in all sizes, shapes, colors and ages. Efficiently cheerful, they will rustle past you many times a day.
When Hercules cleaned the Augean Stables, he set a standard which the Nurse surpasses each day. Buoyed by an immense sympathy for mankind and undismayed by experiences with particular members of that, at times, cantankerous race, they perform miracles of devotion with effortless cheer.
When you rub your Alladin's Lamp (or sound your buzzer) your little Genie appears. Perhaps they have been summoned needlessly a dozen times already. But they are cheerfully ready to soothe you, to help you down your medicine, to smooth down your bed, to answer your fears.
The Nurse is the Doctor's guard against forgetfulness, his questioning conscience, at times his challenge, and at all times his skilled right arm.
Their charming cap (well, use to be anyway) perches undisturbed through the roughest day. They have no self for themselves. Their all is for their patients. If they are short with one patient, it is because they are pressing to return to the one whose need is greater.
The Big Show (life itself) must go on. This is the Nurse's creed, their battle, their drive. They will fight to the end with every trick, every knowledge, ever passion.
At the end of the day, the Nurse returns home, physically weary, but with their inner light glowing brightly, for they have richly earned the peace within themselves.
If you must get sick, you are mighty lucky to have a Nurse happen to you.
We, GROUP A: U.P.O.U. Masters of Arts in Nursing AY: 2009-2010, are the new batch of nurses who considers ourselves apprentices for higher learning in the nursing profession. As part of an evolving discipline, we desire to improve our nursing skills to promote optimum outcomes in our own practice.Therefore, we seek the guidance of a university that can help us achieve our aim. Though we know that advance learning in the face of the demands in our current work is one big challenge, we also acknowledge that this undertaking will enhance our capacity to be flexible and to achieve greater wisdom. We are willing to be trained by masters in the realms of the nursing profession and be enriched by our own experience as we apply the theoretical knowledge in practice.For that reason we salute all of the nurses who like us, chose a challenging path yet fulfilling for our own personal and professional growth and for the people that we will serve. Blog site designed by: I.K.N. Bautista