Dorothea Orem

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Dorothea Elizabeth Orem (July 15, 1914 – June 22, 2007), born in Baltimore, Maryland, was a nursing theorist and creator of the self-care deficit nursing theory, also known as the Orem model of nursing.


Orem received a nursing diploma from Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, DC. She also attended Catholic University of America, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education in 1939 and a Master of Science in Nursing Education in 1945.

Orem has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from Georgetown University, Incarnate Word College and Illinois Wesleyan University.[1]

Self-care deficit nursing theory[edit]

Orem's nursing theory states self-care as a human need, and nurses design interventions to provide or manage self-care actions for persons to recover or maintain health.[2]

Nursing diagnosis[edit]

Orem was a member of the group of nurse theorists who presented Patterns of Unitary Man (Humans), the initial framework for nursing diagnosis, to the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association in 1982.[3]


  • 1980: Alumni Achievement Award for Nursing Theory, Catholic University of America[1]


Orem died on June 22, 2007 in Savannah, Georgia, where she had spent the last 25 years of her life as a consultant and author. She was 92.[4]


  1. ^ a b Hartweg, Donna (1991). Dorothea Orem: Self-Care Deficit Theory. Notes on Nursing Theories 4. Sage Publications. p. 1. ISBN 0803942990. 
  2. ^ Taylor, Carol R.; Lillis, Carol; LeMone, Priscilla; Lynn, Pamela (2011). Fundamentals of Nursing. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-7817-9383-4. 
  3. ^ "NANDA-I History". Retrieved June 17, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Obituary: Dorothea Elizabeth Orem", Savannah Morning News, June 24, 2007, retrieved June 17, 2012 

External links[edit]