Date of Defense




First Advisor

Dr. Mary Ann Stark

Second Advisor

Teri Davis

Third Advisor

Dr. Debra Lindstrom Hazel


Self-care has been defined in numerous ways in the nursing literature (Lachman, 1996). From a holistic perspective, Burkhardt and Nagai-Jacobson (2001) describe self care as nurturing body, mind, emotions and spirit as a whole and attending to what is needed for re-establishing harmony or balance. Orem (1991), a well known scholar, nursing theorist and writer defines self care as "the practice of activities that individuals personally initiate and perform on their own behalf in maintaining life, health, and well being" (as cited in Lachman, p.2). According to Orem, self-care agency refers to the individual's ability to engage in self care, including actual physical ability, motivation, energy and decision-making ability. Self-care agency is defined as "the complex acquired ability to meet one's continuing requirements for care" (as cited in Dodd &Dibble, 1993, p. 895). Nursing agency refers to a nurse's ability to know and help others in meeting their self-care demands. This requires knowledge, ability to take action for change, decision-making capabilities and teaching abilities on the part of the nurse (Lipson &Steiger, 1996). In Orem's general theory of nursing, self care is explained as a human regulatory function in which individuals must be capable of managing themselves in their environments. Orem's self-care theory is a comprehensive model which has been used extensively in research and focuses on assisting an individual to improve care of the self through participating in healthy behaviors (Fitzpatrick & Whall, 2005).

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only