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Posted by meldaresearch2019 on February 1st, 2019


         This research paper is about the Henderson’s Needs Theory and how it applies to solving the problem of nursing staff and nursing leadership turnover. The theory places emphasis on the need for a continuous scholarship to nursing education and nursing being a life-long commitment to sharing our nursing skills as a gift in enabling the attainment of the 14 human needs to clients.


         Amongst the most enduring and continuous nursing problems are the least Integration of concepts from theories into clinical practice and poor clinical observation. Though nursing theories have applications in various nursing institutions in America, the integration of these nursing theories into practice have been rare or minimal. Because nursing practice is within the guidelines of a theoretical context, students can use them to develop critical thinking, analytical thinking skills and most importantly shape their assumptions and values (Alligood, 2014).

         The application of nursing theories, particularly the needs-based theory by Henderson, can be of help to nurses in refining their professional identity and practice as being different from the medicine field. Henderson’s writings can greatly influence nursing programs and mediated through the International Council of Nurses has to be recognized. The Council recognizes the essence of Miss Virginia Henderson’s writings that refer to nursing as a metaphor. The theorist views nursing as helping all people both the well and sick through performances that contribute to the recovery and health of a patient. It also means enabling peaceful death. Thus, nursing is a unique contribution that helps individuals become independent of any assistance in the shortest time possible.

         Despite the recognition of Henderson’s writings by the International Council of Nurses, it has not been helpful in furthering nursing as it was the intention of the theorist. Analyzing the principles of the needs-based theory can help in solving the challenge of rapid turnover among the nursing professional staff and nurse managers. This challenge has led to appointing of nurse managers who are outside the nursing unit.


          The Needs Theory by Virginia Henderson is a middle range theory that is testable and contains a few variables and focuses on a limited scope. However, the theory has sufficient generality that is of great use to various clinical research questions. The theory indicates that all patients require assistances as part of the process of attaining independence. It identifies the basic human needs; fourteen of them that have to be the base of nursing care. Virginia Henderson is a Florence Nightingale of the 20th century. She was among the early advocates for nurse’s autonomy and nursing scholarship importance.

           During the last century, she wrote nursing fundamental textbooks used by nursing educators throughout the country in the last century. In her writing, she saw the great importance and emphasized on the nature of a primary healer. Henderson’s started her career in public health, and this had an impact on her definition of nursing. She advocated for the universal accessibility of health-care services. She also understood that nurses have a root in the communities they live and serve. According to her, nurses are at the forefront of healthcare reform. Henderson also believed that nurses have to take the very opportunity in advancing their profession and becoming leaders in the development of plans that will ensure the accessibility of healthcare services.

The problem with Nurse Leaders in the twenty-first century

               The American nursing unit is going through the challenge of rapid turnover both among the nursing staff and the nurse managers. Hospital all around the U.S. are experiencing a cycle of nurses shortage since the 1940s when there was the rise of graduate nurses demand growth at a steady pace. However, the latest shortage of nurses and nurse leaders is a steady pattern that is bound to become an impending crisis (Herman, Olivio & Gioia, 2013). Available data indicates that the shortage in nursing is far from over. The studies project that there will be a deficit of one million nurses by 2020 which is a rate that is dangerous below demand (Meleis, 2011).

             The arising shortage of nurses has its adverse outcomes, for instance, regarding the efforts of the profession in raising educational credentials. Others include having a negativeimpact on nursing care quality. It also leads to the undermining the efforts of improving employment terms and working conditions. The shortage also discourages potential nurses joining the nursing profession.

           To best consider the decisions in addressing the nursing shortage, there is a need for nurse leaders to understand the issues that surround the present situation. There is needed to take into consideration the issue of professional nursing theoretical perspective and knowledge to guide nurse’s decision–making and behavior. The current working force in America is not only aging but also most of them are leaving the profession in a dramatic manner. The nursing education in itself has gone through signifying changes with the aging of nursing professors. Associate professors of nursing on average are 52 years old, and the waiting retirement is highly acute at the doctoral level. Thus, the number of nursing faculty will not match up with the educational demands of the future. The nursing education places emphasizing on the work of theorists such as Nightingale, Orem, Newman, Roy and Riehl, Benner and Neumann. The education has, however, not been laid out as the base for nursing programs.

Application of theory concepts and principles

           Henderson in her Journal of Nursing describes her plans, passion and definition of nursing. She insists that nursing is a lifelong profession with no quitting. It is because of the profession’s unique contribution to the health of a client. She places emphasis on words such as individualized care, worldwide social activity and the interrelations between physical elements and psychosocial elements. The theory also talks about the principles of client rehabilitation and independence, nurse-patient relationship, and client coping. Henderson aimed at enabling nurses to be broadly educated to the university level and far beyond. The curricular emphasis should not be on medical diagnoses but human needs. Therefore, nursing is a profession committed to human needs, and it is a lifelong commitment similar to the continuous human need for healthcare services (Stewart, 2013).

            Thus, the principles that Henderson emphasizes on her theory is the need for nursing scholarship and this concept that not exist without the nursing’s elite. Therefore, the main question is what should be done to encourage scholarship at the master’s, doctoral and baccalaureate levels? The nursing scholarship is a lifetime commitment that involves disseminating the nursing gifts to patients, educators, colleagues, society and peers. A nurse scholar has to have the following aspects;

A.)  Be committed to a long academic study that contributes to the mastering of knowledge in nursing. B.) nurses should have investigative skills that lead to original research. c.) has to be dedicated to nursing knowledge dissemination via publishing activities and teaching both within and out of the nursing discipline. D.) have the ability to analyze and think creatively through connections. It involves scholarship originality and Integration. E.) should show a commitment toward nursing knowledge application within the context of the international human needs.

              The needs-based nursing theory popularity shows that the biomedical values are alive and well in nursing practice. Though the influences of the theory are identifiable, they should not just be the only values for nurse’s aspirations. Nurses handy apply the needs-based nursing theory but use the grand theories of nursing by Orem, Newman, Benner, and Nightingale.        

                According to the needs-based nursing theory by Henderson, caring is a moral ideal that involves the formation of a therapeutic relationship. This idea has to influences the thinking of nurses concerning their work’s philosophical underpinnings. The notion of caring is through the needs-based nursing theory. The main element in this theory is that nursing is practical sciences in which caring, competence, and connection from the central concepts. The theory symbolizes the main metaphors in a caring relationship in referring to communication openness and a bridge to this communication. The other metaphor is the connectedness experience of being away showing a lack of or negative communication leading to a detachment experience. It means that nursing scholarship should be the central element that guide nurses in their commitment to the field. The lack of nurse’s turnover will also mean having the power to negotiate for proper working terms and attracting new nurses to join the profession. They have a duty of proving the 14 fundamental human needs since they have the gift of knowledge. They will disseminate their knowledge in fulfilling the following basic human needs proposed by Henderson.

1. Rest and sleep

  1. Maintain or move to desirable postures,

3. Body waste elimination

4. Normal breathing

5. Maintaining a normal body temperature

6. Dress in suitable clothes

7. Avoid injuries to others and dangers in the environment

8. Keep a well groomed and clean body

9. Communicate with others in expressing one's fear, needs and emotions.

10. Follow one’s faith in worshiping

11. Participate or play in various recreational activities

12. Satisfy curiosity, discover and learn that leads to normal health and development

13. Work to attain a sense of accomplishment

14. Drink and eat adequately.

            Thus, nurse’s skills ensure that they accomplish all the human needs of their clients. They need to recognize that a person is an independent and complete being with sociological, spiritual and biological components. Their function as nurses is to assist the sick, and well towards independence through a caring recovery process. When a patient is confident with a specific nurse, it will have a positive impact on the overall well-being of the patient. Thus, nurse’s staff and nurse leaders have a higher duty of being available to their patients needs as much as possible. They handle restoring the patient back to health in fulfilling all the 14 basic needs independently. They support the patient in recovering in a peaceful environment with the absence of dangerous chemicals (Kathleen, 2014).


             The Needs-Theory by Henderson is applicable in solving the present day shortage of American nurses. This theory calls upon nurses and nursing leaders to show commitment to the long-term scholarship of this profession. The theorist advocated for the need of personal commitment towards the improvement of nursing knowledge, and the dissemination of this knowledge. It means that the curriculum of nursing has to sensitize nurses on the progress of their learning. In her career in the public health, Henderson she supported the establishment of the baccalaureate level for nurses and the use of the library for the purpose of the research. It means that this theory calls for the development of nurse’s responsibility in validating their practice, identifying problems and improving their caring methods. The nurses have the responsibility or reassuring the care effectiveness. It shows that illness as a concept comes about from lacking to fulfill the fourteen human needs.


Alligood, M. R. (2014). Nursing theorists and their work, (8th Ed.).Maryland Heights, (MO): Mosby Elsevier, USA. Doi 9781284041408

Herman, R, Olivio, t., & Gioia, J (2013). Impending Crisis, many jobs few people. Winchester, Virginia, Oakhill pres. Doi 1605478555

Kathleen M. (2014) Nursing Theories: a Framework for Professional Practice. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 1. Doi 284041409,
Meleis, A (2011). Theoretical Nursing: Development and Progress. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, p 98. Doi 1605472115,

Octaviano, E.F. & Balita, C.E. (2008). Theoretical Foundations of Nursing: The Philippine
Perspective. Philippines: Ultimate Learning Series. Doi 9781605472119

Stewart. J (2013) The Role Development for the Nurse Practitioner. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, Doi 9781605478555

Sherry Roberts is the author of this paper. A senior editor at MeldaResearch.Com in College Essay Writing Service if you need a similar paper you can place your order from cheap essay help online.

Also See: Human Needs, Needs Based, Nursing Theories, Nursing Theory, Theory, Nursing, Nurses

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