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Virginia A.

Henderson 1897-19961897 The first lady of nursing and the first truly international nurse BACKGROUND: y y y y y y y Born on Nov. 30, 1897 at Kansas City, Missouri Graduated from the Army School of Nursing, Washington, D.C. in 1921 Graduated her MA degree in nursing education at Teachers College, Columbia University First full time nursing instructor in Virginia (Norfolk Protestant School of Nursing) Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing Authored one of the most widely used definitions of nursing Proposed plan to create districts within the Graduate Nurses Association of Virginia (now Virginia Nurses Association)

OCCUPATION: y y y y Nurse Researcher Theorist Author

NURSING ACCORDING TO HENDERSON: y In 1966, Virginia Hendersons definition of the unique function of nursing was a major stepping stone in the emergence of nursing as a discipline separate from medicine. y y Like Nightingale, Henderson described nursing in relation to the client and the clients environment. Unlike Nightingale, Henderson saw the nurse as concerned with both healthy and ill individuals, acknowledged that nurses interact with the clients even when recovery may not be feasible, and mentioned the teaching and advocacy roles of the nurse. 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 recover (or to a peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will, or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible. She was one of the first nurses to point out that nursing does not consist or merely following physicians orders.

14 FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS OF HUMANS: y y Breathe normally. Eat and drink adequately.


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Eliminate body wastes. Move and maintain desirable postures. Sleep and rest. Select suitable clothes-dress and undress. Maintain body temperature within normal range by adjusting clothing and modifying environment Keep the body clean and well groomed and protect the integument Avoid dangers in the environment and avoid injuring others. Communicate with others in expressing emotions, needs, fears, or opinions. Worship according to ones faith. Work in such a way that there is a sense of accomplishment. Play or participate in various forms of recreation. Learn, discover, or satisfy the curiosity that leads to normal development and health and use the available health facilities. * The first 9 components are physiological. The tenth and fourteenth are psychological aspects of communicating and learning. The eleventh component is spiritual and moral. The twelfth and thirteenth components are sociologically oriented to occupation and recreation Henderson postulated that nurse functions in relation with the patient, physician and other members of the health team and each type relationship gives nurses specific responsibilities and roles.

The Nurse-Patient Relationship Henderson stated that there are three levels compromising the nurse-patient relationship: The nurse as a substitute for the patient. In times of illness, when the patient cannot function fully, the nurse serves as the substitute as to what the patient lacks such as knowledge, will, strength in order to make him complete, whole and independent once again. The nurse as a helper to the patient. In situations where the patient cannot meet his basic needs, the nurse serves as a helper to accomplish them. Since these needs are needed to achieve health the nurse focuses her attention in assisting the patient meet these needs so as to regain independence as quickly as possible. The nurse as a partner with the patient. As partners, the nurse and the patient formulate the care plan together. Both as an advocate and as a resource-person, the nurse can empower the patient to make effective decisions regarding his care plans. As the relationship goes on, the patient and the nurse see each other as partners whose interest are the same having the patient achieve health and independence. The Nurse-Physician Relationship


Henderson asserted that nurses function independently from physicians. Though the nurse and the patient, as partners, formulate the plan of care, it must be implemented in such a way that will promote the physicians prescribed therapeutic plan. She also insisted that nurses do not follow doctors orders; rather they follow in a philosophy which allows physicians to give orders to patients or other healthcare team members. Henderson also indicated that many nursing roles and responsibilities overlap with that those of the physicians. The Nurse as a Member of the Healthcare Team For a team to work together in harmony, every member must work interdependently. The nurse, as a member of the healthcare team, works and contributes in carrying out the total program of care. However, working interdependently, as Henderson indicated, does not include taking other members roles and responsibilities. WRITINGS: y y y y y y Basic Principles of Nursing Care Textbook of the Principles and Practice of Nursing Nursing Research A survey and Assessment The Nursing Studies Index The Nature of Nursing

RECOGNITIONS / HONORS: y y y y The International Council of Nurses presented her with the Christianne Reimann Prize in June 1985, aged 87 Honorary fellow of the UKs Royal College of Nursing Recipient of the Virginia Historical Nurse Leader Award Member of the American Nurses Association Hall of Fame

DEATH: y y y Henderson died on March 19, 1996 at the age of 98 She died at Connecticut Hospice She was interred in her familys plot in the churchyard of St. Stephens Church, forest, Bedford Country, Virginia.