Virginia Henderson's Definition of Nursing
In 1966 Virginia Henderson formulated a definition of the unique function of nursing. This definition was a major stepping-stone in the emergence of nursing as a discipline separate from medicine. Like Nightingale, Henderson described nursing in relation to the patient and the patient's environment. Unlike Nightingale, Henderson saw the nurse as concerned with both well and ill individuals, acknowledged that nurses interact with patients even when recovery may not be feasible, and mentioned the teaching and advocacy roles of the nurse.
Henderson conceptualized the nurse's role as assisting sick or well individuals to gain independence in meeting 14 fundamental needs:
Henderson has published many works and continues to be cited in current nursing literature. Her emphasis on the importance of nursing's independence from, and interdependence with, other health care disciplines is well recognized.
This page was last modified on 6/1/02