The Virginia Henderson Nurse Need Theory Use

Subject: Nursing
Pages: 3
Words: 932
Reading time:
4 min
Study level: College

Changes in healthcare technology, skills and experience, patient requirements, and expectations have resulted in the overall healthcare system transformations in recent years. Increasing life expectancy and chronic illnesses, the advancement of surgery, the expansion of primary health care, and the gradual drop in hospital admissions have led to a shift in the nursing system’s pattern of need and demand. These changes, in particular, have resulted in the creation of novel ways of patient care as well as changes in the professional duties of nurses. Understanding existing nursing theories, such as Virginia Henderson’s nurse need theory, testing their relevance, and discovering their advantages and disadvantages in modern nursing practice is essential to provide patients with a better experience and meet the current nursing challenges.

The Virginia Henderson nurse needs theory is a model for determining the amount of care a patient need. Dr. Virginia discovered that individuals with similar health issues and treatments had varying levels of care demands. This prompted her to create this approach for assessing the amount of treatment each patient required to get the best possible health results. The idea is for nurses and other caregivers to collaborate with doctors and other healthcare professionals to deliver the finest care possible for each patient’s specific condition. The model identifies the distinct emphasis of nursing practice. The approach emphasizes the significance of enhancing the patient’s independence to speed up their recovery in the hospital. Henderson’s approach focuses on basic human needs and how nurses might satisfy them.

Overall, the theory appears to be accurate and valid as Henderson defines specific starting points for his nursing model that allow for a holistic approach to care. Nursing theories are often criticized for their limited clinical relevance, and there is a widely recognized gap between theory and practice (Mudd et al., 2020). Twenty-five of the 29 theories highlight the significance of the nurse-patient interaction, either directly or indirectly (Mudd et al., 2020). Henderson’s 14 nursing components, on the other hand, highlight the significance of focusing on the patient and so suggest, rather than expressly state, the importance of the nurse-patient interaction (Mudd et al., 2020). Six theories describe how the nurse should advocate on behalf of the patient – Peplau, Hall, Henderson, Orlando, Orem, and Halldorsdottir (Mudd et al., 2020). Henderson’s theory appears to be accurate because it provides these norms. The theory is based on 14 physiological components that are generally recognized as vital in the patient’s treatment process and widely used in various institutions and most clinical cases (Feo et al., 2018). For these reasons, the model may be considered valid and accurate.

The theory is generalizable and comprehensive. The 14 Fundamental Needs of humans formulated by this theory can be utilized in all medical situations, spanning age groups, genders, and cultures (Feo et al., 2018). In certain situations, minimal changes may be needed, but generally, the theory is universal. It may be utilized by a range of healthcare providers, albeit their priorities may change. Because needs theory is clearly defined, it may be found in many sectors of medicine and nursing. Some demands are quantifiable (feeding, drinking, bodily excretions), whereas others might be valued but not quantifiable (sleep, cleanliness, companionship, worship, and play). These ideas have practical applications and can be utilized to alter nursing.

Henderson’s nurse need theory is relatively common and has both strengths and weaknesses. The strengths include that the theory is widely used in nursing practice and is used by many professionals, making it ubiquitous (Feo et al., 2018). Furthermore, the 14 components theory is fundamental, rational, and relevant to individuals of all ages, to a wide range of settings, and is culturally neutral. One of Henderson’s theory’s weaknesses is the lack of a conceptual structure that connects the 14 elements (Feo et al., 2018). There is no conceptual connection between physiological and other human qualities and understanding of the comprehensive essence of the human being. The theory says that the nurse assists in peaceful dying, although there is a little description of what the nurse performs.

The theory is consistent with current nursing standards and interventions and can be applied to contemporary nursing practice. Meeting the 14 requirements of the patient can provide a good foundation for further increasing its efficacy in nursing care. Each of the 14 fundamental principles in nursing can serve as a foundation for research in modern nursing. The relevance of the theory is also confirmed in social and intercultural terms. The idea of culture comprises family and society, which can impact human wants. According to Henderson’s idea, a nurse may assist an individual in meeting these fundamental requirements (Feo et al., 2018). The notion of interaction-communication is used to develop a therapeutic relationship between a nurse and a patient, as well as friends and family. The nurse should be able to express thoughts and incorporate varied cultural values and beliefs into care planning.

Virginia Henderson’s theory has already made significant contributions to the discipline of nursing and may continue to do so in the future. Since Henderson’s goal was not to construct a theory of nursing but rather to describe the particular emphasis of nursing practice, she created a wide field for new research and theories based on this model, such as studying the relationship of the main components of the model, their modernization, as the needs of modern man are constantly changing. Based on the 14 elements, innovative methods can be created to increase patient autonomy using new technologies. Identifying additional needs and developing improved recommendations for their fulfillment can be a major step in the development of modern nursing.


Mudd, A., Feo, R., Conroy, T., & Kitson, A. (2020). Where and how does fundamental care fit within seminal nursing theories: A narrative review and synthesis of key nursing concepts. Journal of clinical nursing, 29(19-20), 3652-3666.

Feo, R., Kitson, A., & Conroy, T. (2018). How fundamental aspects of nursing care are defined in the literature: A scoping review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 27(11-12), 2189-2229.