Virginia Henderson's Nursing Theory: The First Lady Of Nursing

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Nursing Theory Virginia Henderson: Definition of Nursing
Princess Oliver
Averett University


Theorist’s Background
Virginia Avenel Henderson (November 30, 1897 – March 19, 1996) was a nurse, theorist, and author. Henderson is also known as “The First Lady of Nursing,” “The Nightingale of Modern Nursing,” “Modern-Day Mother of Nursing,” and “The 20th century Florence Nightingale. Henderson received her early education at home in Virginia with her aunts, and uncle Charles Abbot, at his school for boys in the community Army School of Nursing at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C.
In 1921, she received her Diploma in Nursing from the Army School of Nursing at Walter Reed Hospital, Washington
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Virginia Henderson said in an interview “Nurses always think about how can they help this person to become independent of the nurse at the earliest possible time which can’t be standardized but individualized. The patient should never feel like they are forced to do something against their will or better judgement. One of the serious flaws in healthcare that the patient involvement is not optimized. When there is no hope of the patient living constructively or they don’t want to live any longer, when death is inevitable it is terribly important for the nurse to make sure that the patient has a good death.” She defined the patient as someone who needs nursing care, but did not limit nursing to illness care. Her theory presented the patient as a sum of parts with biopsychosocial needs and the mind and body are inseparable and interrelated. Henderson considers the biological, psychological, sociological, and spiritual…show more content…
Health Nurses need to emphasize preventative health, cure for diseases, and health promotion.

Virginia Henderson defined nursing as: “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.” (Vera,2014) Henderson states that “The nurse is the only twenty four hour worker. We are the only people that will say we stay with you. They are the people that will do for others what they will do for themselves. They have the strength, will, and knowledge. We are the patient’s alter ego. We should try to get in their skin and find out what they need. If the nurse is the best prepared person to help the patient and there is no doctor available, nurses diagnose and treat the patient.”

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