Virginia Henderson’s need theory underlines the underlying theoretical principles that determine the correct performance of a nurse’s role in guiding a patient towards a speedy and comfortable recovery. According to the theory, the nurse should play either of three roles. One is the substitutive role where the nurse performs tasks for the patients. Second is the complementary role where a nurse performs tasks with the patients and last is the supplementary role where the nurse helps the patients perform tasks (Kramer & Chinn, 2011). The tasks that the patients perform are aimed at meeting their basic needs. Henderson divided patients’ needs into fourteen categories that can further be subdivided into physiological needs, psychological needs, spiritual needs and sociological needs.
According to this theory, the nurse should help the patient to achieve social needs such as participation in recreation activities and play as well as the gain accomplishment from the work that the patients perform. A good example of the social application of this theory is in guiding a pregnant woman through pregnancy and childbirth. In this situation, nurses prepare the pregnant woman for child labor where they introduce the pregnant woman to different choices that she may make during childbirth (Waller, 2013). Therefore, this becomes a form of training to prepare for the actual birth scenario. The pregnant woman is also taught to have pride ad a sense of accomplishment following childbirth as for many women; childbirth is the ultimate expression of womanhood. The aspect motivates the women rather than creating fear in them.
The theory also has political and economic influences. Politically, the theory can be modified to fit the political arena. The politicians role is to help their subjects attain their needs and, therefore, the same needs also apply. The politicians play the role of the nurse while their subjects play the role of the patients. Additionally, the theory has far-reaching economic implications. Defining nurses’ roles enables better service delivery to the patients and, therefore, the patients can recover faster. Subsequently, capital is saved in terms of the amount of money that the patients pay in hospital bills. The nurses also become more adept at their job therefore necessitating fewer nurses and saving on nurses’ salaries.
- Kramer M. K. & Chinn P. L., (2011). Integrated knowledge development in nursing. (8th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier-Mosby.USA
- Waller R., (2013). Utilizing Henderson’s Nursing Theory in Childbirth Education. International Journal of Childbirth Education. Volume 28 Number 2