We have come together at this conference because of our work with one general theory of nursing. The perspective that I express is confined to this theory. It was developed by looking at selfcare deficit nursing theory with respect to its content, its structure, and the processes involved in its initial and continuing development. Nurses who do critiques of the theory identify it as a systems theory, a needs theory, or a philosophy of nursing. These identifications indicate lack of understanding of the theory as a theory. It is clear to me that self-care deficit nursing theory constituted from the theory of nursing system, the theory of self-care deficit, and the theory of self-care is a practice theory. I suggest that we should not hesitate to state the basis for this categorization. The results of my examination of the structure and the content of the theory and its process of development justify self-care deficit nursing theory as a practice theory.
Nursing as a profession remains in that stage of development where members must clarify for themselves, the public, and other professionals what nursing is, what nursing can be and should be, and how nursing is produced. Because of this, general theories that describe and explain nursing as a practice field are needed if nursing is to be moved to its stature as a
This paper was originally presented at the Seventh Annual Self-Care Deficit Theory Conference,
University of Missouri, in St. Louis, MO in November 1988.