What is the impact of Henderson’s need theory on approaches to patient care?

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Virginia Henderson’s “need theory” has impacted patient care because her concept helped produce a multidimensional approach within the medical field. A key part of Henderson’s theory is portraying the patient as a human with basic needs. A nurse has to consider the sundry fundamentals that compose a typical human life. To be an adequate nurse, they should focus on more than treating whatever injury or sickness ails their patient. Proper nursing requires the nurse to account for the various things that could help their patient heal and return to a meaningful existence.

In her book The Nature of Nursing, Henderson enumerates the essential needs of a patient. Her list includes things like breathing regularly, eating well, socializing with others, participating in purposeful recreational activities, and practicing the religion of their choice. For Henderson, all of these needs impact a patient’s well-being. A nurse’s job is to work with the patient so that their diverse needs can be satisfied, which will give them the best chance of staying healthy.

It’s possible to see Henderson’s impact in current theories like “patient empowerment” and “assisting with mobilization.” Similar to Henderson’s idea of nursing, these concepts stress a collaborative spirit and assign the patient an active role when it comes to their treatment.

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