This general theory of nursing, considered as a way of understanding and guiding nursing practice, has served and continues to serve as a nucleus for the development of the theoretically and clinically practical nursing sciences. The cumulative nursing insights of nurses using and developing the theory, and their reflections and judgments about their insights, constitute a well-defined system of nursing knowledge, subject throughout to checking and verification. Since 1 am a contemporary of these developments what I can recount about the initial and subsequent stages of theory development is autobiographical rather than historical. My experiences, my insights about the complex entity named nursing, my thoughts, and my reflections and judgments form the bases for my approach to the topic.
The presentation is in two parts. The first part identifies what I have named positions about nursing, mental points of view or ways of regarding nursing. The second part recounts events and circumstances in the development of the self-care deficit theory of nursing as the basis for development of systems of nursing knowledge. System is used in the sense of structured, interrelated knowledge components. The taking of positions about nursing and the development of the theory and its constituent elements overlap
This paper was originally prepared in August of 1988 for presentation at the University of Missouri-
Columbia Conference in St. Louis, November 1988.