Edudorm Facebook

Virginia Henderson’s Need Theory


            Nursing is profession which deals with the need of caring for the health of all individuals. This implies that one of the unique functions of a nurse entail assisting individuals, whether well or sick, to perform activities that improve their health. Moreover, the nurse should be in the position of performing various health care activities unaided using the required knowledge, strength, or will. Emphasis has to be based on the significance improving patients’ independence so as to ensure that there is no delay recovering process after hospitalization (Goudreau & Smolenski, 2014).  That will have to take into account the importance of enabling the patient to gain independence during the healing process.


            The purpose of the Virginia Henderson’s need theory is to provide detailed concepts regarding human being’s holistic nature. On the other hand, the purpose of the need theory is to highlight various nursing components that are ultimately based on human health requirements. For instance, the concept of this theory describes the role of a nurse as being supplementary, substitutive, and complementary, with the main objective of enabling an individual to become independent as much as possible (Stewart & DeNisco, 2015).

Concepts and definitions

The following are the main concepts contained in the need theory;

  1. a) Individual - According to Henderson, each person has fundamentals health requirements which demand professional aid to maintain better health and peaceful death or independence. This is to imply that when a person maintains a balance between emotional, sociological, physiological, and spiritual needs, he or she will be in the position of achieving wholeness (Stewart & DeNisco, 2015). The need theory, therefore, presents the patient as a group of parts with biosychosocial requirements and the mind and the body as whole are interrelated and inseparable.
  2. b) Environment – this refers to a location or settings that assists a person to learn survival patterns. It includes all external influences that have the potential of impacting individual life and development. Therefore, the need theory suggests that basic nursing healthcare should be directed towards providing proper conditions that can enable the patient to perform recommended healthcare activities unaided (Masters, 2018).
  3. c) Health – according to Henderson, this is the ability of a person to sustain life independently as it is explained by the various components regarding her model. Based on the theoretical components, nurses should be in the position of stressing the promotion of proper health, disease management, and prevention. It is evident that managing good health is something that has been challenging the majority of people (Stewart & DeNisco, 2015). Some of the factors that affects good health include cultural background, age, physical and emotional balance, and intellectual capabilities.
  4. d) Nursing- according to the need theory, nursing entail providing temporal health care services to a person who lacks the required knowledge, strength, and will to meet the strategies needed to maintain good health. These strategies assist as well as support an individual in conducting life activities and attain independence. Ideally, nursing personnel is anticipated to come up with clear clinical plans so as to be creative implementing individualized care. Nurses should be in the position of to solving problems through practicing individualized human care (Masters, 2018). From the nursing perspectives, the main role of a nurse is to understand the plight of the patient so as to be in the position of supplementing his or her knowledge, will, or strength according to the patient’s need.


            Taking into account the fact that all the 14 components have to be prioritized, it is evident that the relationships that exist amongst those components are obviously clear. This is to imply that it clearly explain the relationships that exists between various health care factors as well as the manner in which it end up influencing nursing care. For instance, although it is vital to assist a person who is in the dying process, the theory also provides a clear explanation regarding what the nursing personnel does in such a situation. What this implies is the fact that the relationship that exists between peaceful death and nursing role is a phenomenon that is vital in the contemporary healthcare (Goudreau & Smolenski, 2014).


            The need theory consist of fourteen concepts that should be taken into account when a person desires to maintain good health as well as live independently. The first nine tenets deals with the issues concern physiology. The tenth and the last one deals with matter related to psychological characteristics of learning and communicating. The eleventh one is concerned with ethical and spiritual matters. The twelfth as well as the thirteenth one deal with matters that are sociologically related to recreation and occupation.


            There are various assumptions concerning the applicability of this model. For instance, it is the responsibility of nurses to take care of the patients until they have gained the potential of taking care for themselves. What this implies that the desire of patients is to recuperate quickly and return to their normal life. The other postulation is that nurses are always willing to serve patients as because of that readiness; they dedicate themselves to taking care of the patients every time (Goudreau & Smolenski, 2014). Nurses should also be educated in both arts and sciences.

Critical reflection


            The continued application of the need theory ultimately reveals that it is one of the theories that have a huge inspiration as well as forming guiding nursing practices for decades now. In connection with that, the use of the middle-range theory demonstrates a wide breadth of its application diversity. Therefore, taking into account the criteria for middle-range theory, it is clear that the need theory can be well understood by any person regardless of age differences, education levels, and so on.


            What makes the need theory to be extensively applied in nursing it is due to the fact that there is a huge interrelation of the formulated concepts. It is evident that its simplicity is what makes the theory to be limited in its applications. What this implies is the fact that its success is something that largely relies on the extent to which the patients performs daily living activities independently Meleis (2018),


            The need theory ultimately indicates that the quality of care that a person receives is drastically impacted by the native capabilities and health care preparations made by the nurse rather that the amount of time devoted to offers such services. Taking into account the criteria for middle-range theory, it means that it can be applied to improving health of people of all ages and as well as managing different ailments (Smith & Liehr, 2014).


            The use of the need theory has ultimately proved to be easily accessed across various settings. The provision of clear conceptual definitions and guidelines makes it easier for nursing personnel to explain to the patient the prevailing medical care and expected outcomes. This, in return, makes the need theory to be a positive choice for implementing high quality nursing practices. Nevertheless, the description of the need theory together with its components is perceived to be a vital means of enabling nursing personnel and patients to reach the chosen goal (Smith & Liehr, 2014).


            According to Meleis (2018), the ideas contained in the need theory of can be largely accepted because they have the potential of improving health care. Henderson’s need theory displays or highlights the conceptual link that exists between physiological as well as other associated human characteristics. The need theory has been used by various institutions, therefore, proving to an exemplar clinical model.  Moreover, the continued application of the need theory transcends several health care systems and various health disciplines worldwide.


            As one of the middle-range theories, Virginia Henderson’s need theory aid in influencing the manner in which the concepts can be utilized in improving the health care outcomes. It is possible to utilize the need theory in various disciplines, for instance, education, medical researches hence making it a valuable tool for improving the health of people. The definitions of all the steps to be taken is the one the enables the nursing personnel to highlight the available curative procedure to the patient.















Goudreau, K. A., & Smolenski, M. C. (2014). Health policy and advanced practice nursing: Impact and implications. New York, NY: Springer.

In Masters, K. (2018). Role development in professional nursing practice. Burlington, Massachusetts : Jones & Bartlett Learning

In Smith, M. J., & In Liehr, P. R. (2014). Middle range theory for nursing. New York : Springer Publishing Company, LLC

In Stewart, J. G., & In DeNisco, S. M. (2015). Role development for the nurse practitioner. Burlington, MA : Jones & Bartlett Learning Press

Meleis, A. I. (2018). Theoretical nursing: development and progress (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Heath.




1462 Words  5 Pages
Get in Touch

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to inform us and we will gladly take care of it.

Email us at Discounts

Busy loading action
  Working. Please Wait...