Please Help! Info about Dorothea Orem

  1. Does anyone know where I can find biographical information about Dorothea Orem? I have plenty of information about her theory, more than I really care to know, but I can't find much info about her. Any place online that would have information about who she was, where she came from, where she earned her degree, etc. Please help!! I've been searching for quite a while, but I just don't know where to look anymore. Everything I find is about her theory.
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    About emtbubba

    Joined: Sep '07; Posts: 9; Likes: 2
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  3. by   Daytonite
    Did you try looking in a Who's Who or an Encyclopedia?
  4. by   llg
    Your school library should have a theory textbook called, Nursing Theorists and Their Work (edicted by Ann Tomey and Martha Alligood). It's a very standard text. That book includes a lot of biographical information. Many other theory textbooks also include biographical information on the theorists discussed.

    I suggest you go to a health sciences library -- either at your school or at a local hospital and see what textbooks on theory that they have. Of course you could buy a book, but you should be able to find one to check out and/or Xerox at a good library.

    Also ... here's a website that might have something for you:

    A textbook that I use refers to that web site as the "self-caredeficit theory home page."
    Last edit by llg on Nov 26, '07
  5. by   prmenrs
    That link didn't work for me, llg.
  6. by   emtbubba
    Thanks for your help everyone. I guess I eventually found some info on my own then, but still appreciate your help. Maybe this thread will be helpful to someone else in the future (hopefully). I found some info at the website for Orem's Self Care Deficit Nursing Theory which is at If there's one thing that I don't understand it is this: Why would someone spend this amount of time and effort designing something like this? It just seems like there was so much time, effort, and inteligence wasted here.
    This is my theory: I am coming into nursing from an EMS background, and when there is a very sick or badly injured patient in front of me there is no time to mess around with this stuff, and there is no nurse theorist in the world whose theories I am going to knowingly apply to the treatment/care of my patient. All of their time and effort will fly out the window during the "Golden Hour" as far as I'm concerned. A patient with an emergency needs to be treated NOW, and I don't have time to waste figuring out this stuff. It's all about keeping that patient alive and as well as possible. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm already getting a bad impression of nursing if theorizing is what it's all about. I want to treat trauma patients as a flight nurse and PHRN.
    So why do we study this stuff in college? Wouldn't our time be more wisely spent studying things like fine tuning assessment techniques, treatments, case studies, and sciences like pharmacology, and more biology and chemistry?
    Thoughts anyone?
    Last edit by emtbubba on Nov 29, '07
  7. by   llg
    One reason you study theory in college is to teach you how to think about nursing -- so that in an emergency situation, you don't have to stop and figure anything theoretical out. You already know it and incorporate the key points into your thinking (and action ) automatically.

    Another reason you study theory in college is that college should teach you more than just how to be a technician. Studying theory and research exposes you to the academic side of the profession. Perhaps you will choose to avoid most academic work in your career -- but some people are needed to do the academic work that needs to be done. Academic work requires a philosophical and theoretical base and it's important that nurses continue to develop ours. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is necessary work. If your going to get a Bachelor's Degree (in any field, not just nursing), you should expect to spend at least a portion of your time studying the theories and philosophies of that field.

    Finally, I teach a theory course in a BSN completion program. The students in that class come from all different specialties within nursing -- and all have found ways to incorporate theory into their practice. As one student just told me tonight, each week as we study a different theorist, she finds herself applying the concepts from that theory all week at work. Different nursing theories look at nursing from a different angle. Being familiar with several theories gives the nurse a variety of different ways to look at his/her patients -- different tools to use -- different colors on the palette used to create the art of nursing practice -- however you want to look at it. If you can only look at nursing through one lens, your vision is limited.
  8. by   emtbubba
    Well, that's similar to what a few people are trying to tell me, but I guess it just isn't sinking in. A lot of what most of these theorists say, and the people who critique their work, is so abstract and full of "good sounding words" and elaborate jabber-jaw stuff that I miss the basic idea of what they are trying to communicate. I can study the theories of theology, psychology, philosophy, physical sciences, and a whole lot of other subjects, and they all make a lot more sense, (in fact, I discovered that I quite enjoy studying philosophy) but these nurse theorists are just way out there in la-la land somewhere. I'm not trying to be overly sarcastic here, but I must be honest, I really don't get the point most of the time. I think if I were to develop nursing theories, I could do it in a lot simpler language and get to the point already in far fewer words.

    llg: I do appreciate your perspective from a teaching position, so maybe you could help me understand this all a little better. I've had others try to tell me that nursing is more than "just" a "technical" position, just as you are saying. I understand that, and I know we are supposed to be professsionals, but that is no cause to be condescending, superscilious, or down-right snooty to those who are technicians in their respective fields. I hold a great appreciation for those various technicians as valuable colleagues and try to recognize their individual expertise. I do not look down on them and do not consider them unprofessional. While we are being taught as nursing students to be professionals, I'm afraid that ingranes into some students' minds that they are "above" their technical partners, but I am seeing first-hand that there are plenty of technicians out there who could run circles around certain nurses in select areas, even professional areas. We are being taught about how nurses are professionals, but I am convinced that professionals are only professionals after they have mastered all the technical skills necessary for their profession, plus have also learned how to apply research to our practice, and all that other stuff that makes us autonomous. I'm not sure what it's like in other schools of nursing across the country, but I get the impression that we are spending too much time in the abstract, theoretical, and hypothetical, and not enough time in the concrete, realistic, and hands on. In EMT class our curriculum was designed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and all of the domains of Bloom's Taxonomy were used extensively as a teaching style. I have to say that even though the teaching was at a technical level, it was the best and most well rounded training I ever got, and the class was taught mostly by a female Pre-Hospital Registered Nurse (PHRN here in PA) and a male Paramedic. We were taught to use the cognitive and affective domains as critical thinking while in the process of performing and perfecting psychomoter functions, and I walked away from that training with a better understanding of what I wanted and needed to know more than any other fire training, high school education, or otherwise since or before.

    So, I'm a junior right now. Does some of this stuff fall into place a little better during senior year for your students? Right now I feel like I'm missing out several of those aspects or domains of learning in a college education that I am paying dearly for.
    Last edit by emtbubba on Dec 2, '07