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The Orem's Nursing Theory

159). The three basic nursing systems include the following: (1) whole compensatory; (2) partly compensatory; and (3) supportive-educative (Mehta, 1993, pp. 182-185). These systems comprise an entire array of health care needs. For example, a wholly compensatory nursing system is required for unconscious patients; whereas a supportive-educational system is employed for patients able to learn to perform self-care (i.e., patients who only need assistance in "decision making, behavior control, and gaining knowledge of skills") (Mehta, 1993, pp. 182-185).

In general, patients should be allowed to move from one nursing system to another. For example, a patient with a hip fracture might require a wholly compensatory system immediately after surgery and a partly compensatory system during postoperative immobilization. Such a patient, once they were discharged from the hospital, would then need a supportive-educative nursing system during rehabilitation (Mehta, 1993, pp. 182-185).

The importance of nursing theory to nursing practice might be best illustrated by applying it to a typical patient. One such patient might consist of Mrs. L. M. A month ago, Mrs. L. M. became involved in an auto accident. The collision left her with a fractured right femur. The fracture occurs on the outside of the joint. After some time in the hospital, Mrs. L. M. was sent home with a partial body cast extending from the middle of her abdomen to the base of her leg and toe. The body cast also extends to the knee of her left leg.

Mrs. L. M. is a 28-year-old Caucasian female. Prior to the auto accident, she worked as an office clerk. She has two children--a 12-year-old son, D. M., and a 9-year-old daughter, B.M. Although Mrs. L. M. is divorced, she still maintains good communication with the children's father. Her ex-husband works as a local truck driver and is able to visit them weekly. Fortunately, Mrs. L. M.'s parents live near her hom...

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