Dorothea Orem first published her work on theory in Nursing: Concepts of Sciencein 1971.  It was revised and updated several times to incorporate the ongoing development of nursing science; the  last edition was published in 2001 (McEwen & Wills, 2011).  Orem’s Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory (SCDNT) is still relevant and in use today around the world in guiding practice  and patient outcomes, education, and research. The International Orem Society publishes a nursing journal titled Self-Care and Dependent-Care Nursing.

SCDNT congruence with current nursing standards, interventions or therapeutics and evidence of research support

A number of recent articles have been published using the framework and/or components of SCDNT with the following topics:
 ·   Application of the SCDNT to the care of children with special healthcare needs (Green,
 ·   Relationship between self-care agency, self-care practices and obesity (Burdette, 2012)
 ·   Nutrition self-care inventory; a pilot tool (Fleck, 2012)
 ·   Women’s self-care agency to manage urinary incontinence (Hines, 2007)

Evidence that the SCDNT has been used by nursing

 ·   Organization of RN-BSN curriculum based on Orem’s SCDNT (Davidson, 2012)
 ·   SCDNT ranked as the second most frequently utilized single-theory curriculum framework in baccalaureate nursing education (Berbiglia, 2011)

Social Relevance

The SCDNT is applicable to individuals, families, groups, and communities.  The theory applies to people of all ages.
 ·   Self-care agency is the ability of the person to engage in self-care (McEwen & Wills, 2011)
 ·   Dependent-care agency is the delivery of infant care, child care, or dependent adult care(McCullock Melnyk, 1983)


Berbiglia, V. A. (2011). The self-care deficit nursing theory as a curriculum conceptual
framework in baccalaureate education. Nursing Science Quarterly, 24(2), 137-145.

Burdette, L. (2012, Fall). Relationship between self-care agency, self-care practices and obesity among rural midlife women. Self-Care, Dependent-Care & Nursing, 19(1), 5-14.

Davidson, S. (2012, Fall). Challenging RN-BSN students to apply Orem's theory to practice.Self-Care, Dependent-Care & Nursing, 19(1), 15-19.

Fleck, L. (2012, Fall). The nutrition self care inventory. Self-Care, Dependent-Care &
Nursing, 19
(1), 26-34.

Green, R. (2012, Fall). Application of the self care deficit theory to the care of children with special healthcare needs in the school setting. Self-Care, Dependent-Care& Nursing, 19(1), 35-40.

Hines, S. (2007). Women's self-care agency to manageurinary incontinence. Advances in Nursing Science, 30(2), 175-188.

McCullock Melnyk, K. A. (1983, May/June). The process of theory analysis: An examination of the nursing theory of Dorothea E. Orem. Nursing Research, 32(3), 170-174.

McEwen, M., & Wills, E. M. (2011). Theoretical Basis for Nursing (3rd ed.).  Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Stickley, T., & Stacey, G. (2009). Caring: The essence of mental health nursing. In Callaghan,
P., Playle, J., & Cooper, L. (Eds.). Mental Health Nursing Skills (pp. 44-55). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.com/pdf/13/9780199534449.pdf

Villarruel, A. M., Bishop, T. L., Simpson, E. M., Jemmott, L. S., & Fawcett, J. (2001). Borrowed theories, shared theories, and the advancement of nursing knowledge. Nursing Science Quarterly, 14(2), 158-163. Retrieved from https://blackboard.sacredheart.edu/bbcswebdav/library/Library%20Content/Spring%202013/NU%20433/Villarruel%20-%20Borrowed%20theories%20shared%20theories%20and%20the%20advancement%20of%20nursing%20knowledge.pdf