Compare & Contrast of Nursing Theeorists

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 11
Words: 2828
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: College


Nursing theories are innovative and original ideologies that explain the uniqueness and associations in the nursing discipline. While learning about these theories, I noticed that they had one common goal i.e. solving the questions and anonymity in the nursing practice. Myra Levine, Jean Watson, Martha Rogers, and Dorothea Orem are some of the nursing theorists whose thoughts have tremendously been credited. In as much as many theories were developed by various nursing theorists, there exist some similarities and differences in their ideological models.

Description of Myra Levine

As the firstborn in a family of three children, Levine spent a better part of her childhood in Illinois; where she was born. I learned that the theorist gained interest in nursing as a result of her dad’s poor health. Her nursing interest was further motivated by the fact that her father constantly needed nursing attention. After completing her studies at the cook county school of nursing, Levine proceeded to obtain a nursing degree from Chicago University. Consequently, she had a flourishing career and worked at several recognized institutions. In her professional journey, I noticed that she worked as a supervisor in the surgical field, as a personal nurse, and also as a bureaucrat. Later she pursued her master’s and was rewarded with several teaching jobs at numerous learning institutions.

In her model, I learned that developing a conservation theory was not Levine’s primary motive; but instead, she wanted to formulate an approach that would help her students internalize some of the nursing concepts. While reviewing nursing concepts, Levine developed her ideologies that led to the emergence of conservation theory.

I also discovered that Levine had her perspective of human beings i.e. by employing a holistic approach. Following her perception, she understood individuals in the perspective of their adaptability, and also in their regular association with the environment (Martsolf, 1998). In other words, Levine conceptualized individuals as an integrated whole whose characters are determined by the surrounding stimuli.

In her model, she explained that, for conservation to be realized adaptive behaviors that aim at improving the well functioning of humans must be employed. I noticed that she further proceeded to identify the adaptive responses as being social, molecular, psychological, physiologic, and emotional. She also noted that the responses were under the influence of certain factors such as historicity, specificity, and redundancy (Webb, 1993).

In her historicity definition, I learned her insinuation that adaptive responses are to a certain extent, associated with past genetic records. She argued that, since everyone has a genetic history, it is essential for nurses to consider a client’s genetic and personal history before administering therapy. I discovered that she also proceeded to define the factors that influence responses i.e. redundancy, historicity, and specificity. She referred to the term as “the fact that every human structure has its distinct stimulus-response routes”. Conclusively, I noted that she finalized her definition by expounding on the term redundancy. She explained it as the perception that if one route or pathway is incapable of adapting, then another pathway may come in and finish the task. However, Levine also argued that redundancy can be injurious if the former incapable responses are restored.

I noticed that Levine did not stop at this point; in fact, she went on to design rules of conservation that should be employed by nurses. Furthermore, I learned that each principle had discrete pathways and that they were swayed by specificity, redundancy, and historicity. From her theory, I discovered that she not only listed the principles but also expounded on them. Her listed principles were as follows: Preservation of human energy, preservation of human-structural integrity, preservation of social integrity, and preservation of individual integrity (Webb, 1993).

I learned that Levine further explained that nurses should preserve a client’s energy i.e. by ensuring they get enough rest. Additionally, she also noted that resting preserves energy, which can be essential in healing processes (Leach, 2010). In the preservation of structural integrity, I discovered that Levine advocated for therapies that minimize damages or scars. She also explained the preservation of individual integrity as maintaining a sense of self. She concluded her reasoning by expounding on preserving social integrity; whereby she explained the concept as creating a rapport with patients and preserving the aged. Conclusively, I discovered some other constituents that were summarized as follows: impressive health is the primary objective of the conservation; thriving adaptation advocates for conservation; fitness and illness are patterns that alter adaptability.

Description of Dorothea Orem’s theory

I also studied Dorothea Orem’s ideologies; a high-flying nurse who spent her childhood life in Maryland; the place where she was born. Besides pursuing a college diploma, Orem advanced her education that earned her several doctorate honors. I learned that Orem worked in many offices i.e. as a private nurse, as a bureaucrat, as a staff nurse, and also as a consultant. In pursuit of her career, Orem developed a nursing theory in the name of a self-care model. I also noticed that Orem engaged in several conferences in her vision of designing a nursing model.

While reading her theory, I learned that Orem dreamt of advancing nursing i.e. by recognizing it as a sovereign practice. Following this reason, many questions lingered in her mind with the quest of finding their solutions. As a result, Orem developed different ideologies and proceeded to publish them. While appreciating her theory, I discovered that Orem’s ideologies were based on her life encounters.

I appreciated the fact that Orem also defined some of her nursing concepts i.e. individuals, health, and nursing. Orem began by defining humans as a patient, self-care agents, individuals, and also as dependent-care agents (Sitzman & Eichelberger, 2010). In her explanations, I learned that she defined health as a term used to illustrate how human beings function i.e. in physiological and psycho-physiological. She further progressed to define nursing as a deliberate act of helping people of certain unhealthy circumstances. I also learned that she described the environment as a compilation of chemicals, socioeconomic, materials, and organic elements. Afterward, Orem designed her model that comprised of three central concepts that she extensively described i.e. nursing system, self-care, and finally the self-care deficit (Backscheider, 1974).

In her explanation of self-care, I noted that she argued based on the following terms i.e. self-care agency, curative self-care, fundamental conditioning factors, and finally self-care. I understood her insinuation of self-care as the measures taken to maintain human well-being (Backscheider, 1974). She further noted that exceptional self-care transforms to a commendable body functioning with an incredible structural development.

I consider it is unquestionable that Orem met various people whether at a professional or personal level. This encounter played a crucial part in defining self-care agency. She described the term as the gained skills that enable a person to upkeep his or her self-care. Additionally, I noted that her explanation of self-care agency was profoundly influenced by “basic conditioning factors” i.e. a term composed of age, ecological factors, sex, healthcare system, resource availability, and living patterns.

Therapeutic self-care as a constituent of the model was expounded as the various necessities that individuals require to meet their self-care needs at different life periods. In addition to the definition, I learned that these requirements can adequately be met by imposing suitable measures. The measures that Dorothea advocated entailed having enough rest, taking an adequate diet, and so on. I further noted that, if her propositions are considered by an individual, one may display an impressive self-care consequently extending his or her life span.

Apart from her definitions and descriptions, I noticed that Orem proceeded to develop some crucial tips that were directed toward the maintenance of remarkable self-care. She expressed them in the following terms: drinking adequate water, eating the adequate foodstuff, and breathing fresh air; creating a balance between activities and breaks; striking a balance between communications and loneliness; finally, preventing peril. I learned that Orem’s struggles did not stop here; instead, she advanced to design tips for mitigating illness. She noted them as precise in following therapeutic recommendations; seeking healthcare advice when needed; handling the effects of therapy with ease, and so on.

I internalized Orem’s definition of self-care deficit as a person’s inability to maintain excellent self-care among children, and also as an individual. I discovered that Orem progressed to develop five critical approaches that would mitigate self-care deficit. She described them as follows: giving directions; acting for other persons; giving a hand to the physical and the mentally challenged; educating and providing a surrounding that supports personal development.

In her model, I discovered that she also made a vital contribution to nursing practice. Besides using her brilliance, I noticed that she also used her experiences to design the nursing system. Surprisingly, the nursing system did not target the nurses; but instead, it was directed towards the sustenance of outstanding healthcare. She summarized them as partially compensatory, supportive-educative, and wholly compensatory.

Analysis of Myra Levine theory

In analyzing Levine’s theory, I learned that her theory originated from the individual effort when she was trying to come up with an approach that would assist her students to master nursing concepts. Her theory concentrated on conservation on certain human responses i.e. psychological, emotional, molecular, physiological, and finally social. I learned that Levine proceeded to expound on the factors that influence these responses i.e. redundancy, specificity, and historicity. Levine also contributed to the nursing practices by proposing her conservation recommendations. I learned that Levine’s model aimed at promoting adaptive methods that would advance patients’ health. In addition, I discovered that the theory played a central role in advancing learning i.e. through researches, nursing practice, and nursing education or curriculum. Levine’s work has been credited by other scholars; for instance, Fitzpatrick, Whall, and Fawcett have praised Levine’s work in terms of clarity. In addition, her work has gained recognition on grounds that it has the potential for continual utilization in future studies and learning.

Analysis of Dorothea Orem’s theory

In the self-care model, I learned that Orem’s had the determination of differentiating nursing from medical discipline consequently making it an autonomous practice. Orem’s ideologies revolved around certain paradigms i.e. as part of system theory elaborated by Riehl and Roy’s, as development theory as explained by Fawcett, and finally as an interrelation design by Riehl-Sisca. As part of the information I retrieved, Orem’s definition of health as a condition of entirety, her formation of a person’s integrity, and her development of the nursing system were based on the system’s ideologies.

Considering paradigmatic origin, I discovered that Orem’s ideologies had some association with Henderson’s need ideas, and also a functional model of beland and his colleagues. I observed the connection as being the similarity of universal self-care needs in both Henderson and Orem’s models. However, I noted some dissimilarities in the individual ability to conduct personal self-care. I also realized that Orem’s model was formulated with some ideas of “moderate realism” behind it. She employed the philosophical ideologies behind the concept. This undoubtedly indicated that Orem borrowed some of her ideas from different disciplines (philosophy) consequently combining them to develop an impressive self-care model.

Something I noticed about Orem’s model is that it was interrelated; furthermore, it revolved around self-care. I also learned that, apart from borrowing information from other disciplines, Orem also used her life and professional experiences in designing her model. Some of the model’s contents and ideologies were partially contributed by other scholars; for instance, contributions by members of the nursing development concept group.

Orem’s explanations of self-care deficit had little to do with the entire health of individuals; but instead, it concentrated on human self-care deficit. I learned that her model targeted the advancement of individuals’ self-care as indicated in her therapeutic concepts. Additionally, her theory consisted of individual self-care needs and intervention propositions that were directed towards the maintenance of impressive self-care. I also discovered that her theory consisted of a strong self-care agency that made it capable of maintaining exceptional self-care. The theory also consisted of a nursing agency that included several tips, which aimed at progressing nursing practice.

Arguments for or against Myra Levine’s theory

In assessing Levine’s theory, I noticed that her ideologies had comprehensible explanations thus upholding clarity. Arguing from Whall and Fitzpatrick’s point of view, I learned that they credited Levine’s work of being unswerving i.e. either internally or externally. I also identified the contribution of Fawcett in recognition of Levine’s ideologies. Fawcett noted that part of Levine’s work was rationally harmonious. Additionally, in as much as Levine’s ideologies had a variety of concepts, I noticed that she comprehensively expounded them thus enhancing clarity. I also noted that Levine’s work was essential, in the sense that it could improve patients’ unhealthy conditions i.e. if exploited by the nurses. I learned that Levine’s model is constantly utilized in the nursing discipline, and also in research initiatives. Additionally, I also noted that the spiritual, philosophical, and moral bit of the theory has posed vast concerns because of their complexity in understanding. Another limitation of Levine’s theory is that it dwells on only the sick, and does not provide any health recommendation for medically stabled persons (Leach, 2010).

Arguments for or against Orem’s theory

In Orem’s theory, I noticed that she invited ideas via conferences, used other disciplinary thoughts, and also spent years researching the theory; therefore, based on these facts, her theory was credited and proved reliable. This made the theory be used in numerous researches, curriculums, and studying processes. I also noticed that Orem’s model had concepts that were accurately defined and explicated. Moreover, she explained her model using a much simpler language alongside congruent concepts. In addition to her uncomplicated explanation, I further discovered that Orem used simpler concepts such as self-care deficit, nursing system, and self-care.

In as much as Orem’s theory had its positive aspects, it also had its critiques. I discovered that Orem’s theory had its complex bit despite being praised for its simplicity. For instance, the term self-care has been described using a variety of configurations. Concepts such as self-care deficit, universal self-care, and self-care premise can puzzle an individual thus complicating the theory’s understanding. I also understood that Orem’s nursing system was based on three specified concepts; therefore, implicating rigidity in her system. Orem’s theory was also criticized by the fact that it failed to consider patients’ emotional necessities.

Comparing and contrasting the theories

I discovered one common aspect about these two theories i.e. they both developed when the theorists were at the peak of their flourishing careers. In both theories i.e. Orem’s and Levine’s, I discovered that they had a list of concepts and ideologies. Moreover, the concepts were extensively expounded to influence clarity in their works. Besides targeting a similar objective of enhancing human health, I discovered that both theorists pointed out their recommendations. For example, Orem advocated for adequate food, water, and enough rest for the attainment of incredible health; whereas, Levine proposed certain guiding principles for the nurses to employ on patients. Even though tactics differ, the objective is the same, since the main point is to improve human health.

As per other scholars’ points of view, I discovered their insinuation as being that both theories were unsophisticated and had clear explanations. I also noticed that both theories played a significant role in advancing education, researches, and also the nursing practice. This is implicated in the argument that both ideologies have been considered and incorporated in numerous researches, studying activities, and nursing curriculum.

Even though both theories had a common goal, I recognized a considerable difference in the approaches implicated in each theory. Orem emphasized self-care as the way forward in the advancement of human health; while, on the other hand, Levine stressed conservation. Additionally, I detected a difference in the development of the two theories. Orem’s ideologies resulted from a directed intention of forming a model. She engaged panels of scholars in various conferences that assisted her in designing the self-care model. On the other hand, Levine’s theory developed from the unintentional act of forming one. In reality, her objective was not to formulate a theory; instead, she intended to devise learning structures that would help her students understand nursing concepts. I also learned some significant differences in the reflection of the theories. Orem’s ideologies reflected the ideas in system theory; whereas, Levine’s theory had spiritual reflection. Contrary to Levine’s theory, I learned that Orem’s ideologies had philosophical origins with influence from Henderson, Fawcett, and Roy.


Many nursing theorists such as Orem and Levine have made significant contributions to nursing practice to advance the discipline. However, I noted that their theories and models have some considerable similarities and differences. Origin of the concepts, sources of information, and definitions are part of the various elements that had some significant association i.e. in terms of similarity and dissimilarity. Finally, I consider it essential to note that both theories i.e. Levine’s and Orem’s play a significant role in advancing the nursing education curriculum, and also researches.


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Backscheider, E. J. (1974), self-care requirements, self-care capabilities, and nursing system in the diabetic nurse management clinic. Journal of AJPH. 64(12), 1139-1146.

Leach, J. M. (2010). Wound management: using Levine’s Conservation Model to guide practice. HMP communication, LLC. Web.

Martsolf, S. D (1998). The concept of spirituality in nursing theories: differing world view and extent of focus. Journal of advanced nursing. 27, 294-303.

Sitzman, K. & Eichelberger, L. W. (2010). Understanding the Work of Nurse Theorists: a creative beginning. Ontario: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Webb, H. (1993). Holistic care following a palliative Hartmann’s care. British journal of nursing 2(2), 128-132.