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Comparison of Grand Theorists According to Types Identified by Meleis

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Nurses over the years have studied diligently various papers especially different theories that would affect and dictate how they will manage their clients. In order for one to be more familiar with these theories, I will compare 4 grand theorists as to types identified by Afaf Ibrahim Meleis. Dr. Meleis is a professor of Nursing and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and has published numerous scholarly papers and books that dealt with nursing theories. She has established four types or school of thoughts of theories: Needs, Interaction, Outcomes and Caring/Becoming. These four school of thoughts will be the basis of my comparison.

Comparison of Grand Theorist According to Types Identified by Meleis In these paper four grand theorists were selected and compared according to their educational background, philosophy of nursing, definition of nursing and goal or purpose of theory. Table 1 will show how each theorist differ from each other and as well as their similarities. Table 1.

Comparison of Grand Theorists According to Types Identified by Meleis:

Needs theorist
Interaction theorist
Outcome theorist
Caring/becoming theorist
Name of theorist
Dorothea Orem
Hildegard Peplau

Myra Levine
Jean Watson
Educational Background
>1931, Seton High School, Baltimore, Maryland (Dorothea Orem Collection, n.d.) >1934, Diploma, Providence Hospital School of Nursing
(Dorothea Orem Collection, n. d.) >1939, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Catholic University (Dorothea Orem Collection, n. d ) >1945, Masters of Science in Nursing Education (Dorothea Orem Collection, n.d.) >1931, Bachelor of Science in Nursing Pottstown, Pennsylvania School of Nursing(Wayne,2014) >1943, Bachelor of Science in Interpersonal Psychology, Bennington College, VT(Wayne,2014) >1947, Master’s and Doctoral degrees, Teachers College, Columbia University (Wayne,2014)

> 1944, Cook County School of Nursing(Myra Estrin Levine –Nursing Theorist, 2013) >1948, BS in Nursing, University of Chicago (Myra Estrin Levine –Nursing Theorist, 2013) >1962, MS in Nursing, Wayne State University (Myra Estrin Levine –Nursing Theorist, 2013 ) >1992, Honorary Doctorate, Loyola University(Myra Estrin Levine –Nursing Theorist, 2013) >1961,Lewis Gale School of Nursing(Jean Watson-Nursing Theorist,2013) >1964, BS in Nursing, University of Colorado in Boulder(Jean Watson-Nursing Theorist,2013) >1966, MS in Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing(Jean Watson-Nursing Theorist,2013) >1973, PhD in educational psychology and counseling(Jean Watson-Nursing Theorist,2013)

Philosophy of nursing
Dorothea Orem’s nursing theory is based upon the philosophy that “patients wish to care for themselves.” They can recover more quickly and holistically if they are allowed to perform their own self-care to the best of their ability (N207, n. d.) “Significant, therapeutic, interpersonal process.”

Every individual has a unique range of adaptive responses.
( Myra Estrin Levine –Nursing Theorist, 2013)
Existential philosophy and principles of equity in relationship(Jean Watson-Nursing Theorist,2013) Definition of nursing
Self-Care agency to meet individual’s need for self –care action in order to sustain life and health, recover from disease or injury, and cope with the effectsMeleis,2012) Therapeutic interpersonal, serial, goal oriented process; A health focused human relationship (Meleis,2012)

Patient advocacy, devotion to humanity and self-respect of patient, perception and support for personal and individualized needs, compassion, commitment and protection (Meleis, 2012)

Nursing is a human science consisting of knowledge, thought, values, philosophy, commitment and action with passion in human care transactions. (Meleis,2012)

Goals/purpose of theory
Eliminate deficit between self-care capabilities and demand(Meleis, 2012)
Develop personality, making illness an eventful experience; Forward movement of personality and other ongoing human processes in the direction of creative, constructive, productive personal community living(Meleis, 2012)

Conservation of energy and integrities (personal, structural, social) restoration of well-being and independent activity; Nursing is conservation of energy and integrities. (Meleis, 2012)
Mental and spiritual growth for human beings(nurses and clients) finding meaning in one’s own existence and experience (Meleis,2012)

Conclusion and Reflection
As seen in Table 1, it clearly shows that these theorists are the same in the educational background. All four of them continued to higher studies after finishing their bachelor’s degree. Although one would say that their primary goal would be towards providing the best care for clients, they all differ in their definition and philosophy of nursing as well as the purpose of their theory.

Dorothea Orem’s philosophy in nursing is consistent with my own personal
philosophy. Knowing your own capability and limits predicts almost always the final result. One must work towards their own skills and ability in order to achieve their own goals. Care for each patient must be individualize and personalize. I often observed that those patients who choose to pay more attention to their needs and perform their own tasks are more satisfied and frequently reach their targets faster.


Dorothea Orem Collection (n.d.). In Alan Chesney Medical Archives of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions online. Retrieved from
Dorothea Orem-Nursing Theorist (2013). In Nursing Theory online. Retrieved from http://nursing-theory.org/nursing-theorists/Dorothea-E-Orem.php Jean Watson-Nursing Theorist (2013). In Nursing Theory online. Retrieved from http://nursing-theory.org/nursing-theorists/Jean-Watson.php Meleis, A.I. (2012). Theoretical nursing: Development and progress. (5th ed.). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Myra Estrin Levine- Nursing Theorist (2013). In Nursing Theory online. Retrieved from http://nursing-theory.org/nursing-theorists/Myra-Estrine-Levine.php N207 (n.d.). In Dorothea Elizabeth and Her Philosophy of Self-Care online. Retrieved from http://n207grpfsuccessorsoforem.blogspot.com/p/introduction.html Wayne (2014). In Nurseslabs online.

Retrieved from http://nurseslabs.com/hildegard-peplau/

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