Abdellah Nursing Theory Explained


Faye Abdellah develop what she called the “21 Nursing Problems Theory.” Her theory suggested that nurses could help with the diagnosis process through their job duties. At the time, the Abdellah nursing theory was thought to be progressive because it suggested nurses take on a role in patient care that wasn’t part of their official duties.

The 21 “problems” of the theory aren’t actually problems. Ten of then are steps that nurses can use to identify the health concerns of a patient. The other 11 items are specific nursing skills that must be used to make a proper diagnosis.

What Are the 10 Steps to Identify a Health Concern?

1. Nurses must first get to know the patient before a determination of their health can be obtained.

2. Data from the patient must be properly sorted and categorized so significant data points can be identified.

3. Generalizations can be made from the available data based on the past experiences of the nurse.

4. A therapeutic plan must be identified to assist the patient.

5. The generalizations being made must be tested with the patient. Additional generalizations may be required based on the findings.

6. Validate the conclusions being made by the nurse about patient health.

7. Observe the patient over time to identify any changes to their behavior that may alter the therapeutic plan that was implemented.

8. Include the patient’s family in the therapeutic plan and have them be actively involved in patient care.

9. Identify how other nurses feel about the patient and any problems that may have been observed.

10. Develop a long-term, comprehensive nursing plan.

What Are the 11 Nursing Skills That Are Required?

1. Nurses must be able to observe the health status of a patient.

2. They must be able to communicate that status to others.

3. Previous knowledge and experience must be applied to the process.

4. Nurses must be able to teach patients and their families about their health status.

5. Organizational skills help to plan and prioritize care plans.

6. Nurses must be able to know how to use resource materials.

7. Nurses must be able to use personnel materials.

8. There must be problem-solving experience.

9. Nurses must be able to direct the work of others to support the patient.

10. Nurses must know how to initiate self-care.

11. Nursing procedures must be implemented.

What Are These 21 Key Points the Foundation of the Abdellah Nursing Theory?

The goal of nursing is to provide care to patients by offering physical comfort, a hygienic environment, and encouraging safe exercise to optimize activity. In doing so, nurses can promote safety, prevent the spread of infections, and correct health conditions that may affect body mechanics.

There are specific actions that nurses can take to focus on these 21 key points, but every action must be based on what the patient’s needs happen to be. A nurse might work with oxygen equipment to ensure that a patient receives enough to maintain their health. They might also provide a saline solution to maintain a patient’s electrolyte balance.

Nurses could even look at positive or negative facial expressions to understand how a patient is feeling and adjust their approach accordingly.

By keeping the focus on these 21 points, Abdellah allows nurses to develop therapeutic plans by focusing on the developmental, emotional, and physical needs of the patient. That ensures all aspects of the patient’s wellbeing can be addressed. In return, each patient who is treated through this theory has an improved chance of recovering because the nursing process is more focused on individualized care.

Is Individualized Care Also Restorative Care?

In the Abdellah nursing theory, every patient is assumed to have emotional physical, and sociological needs which must be met. Nursing meets those needs by taking a patient-centered approach. Instead of attempting to define what “good” or “bad” health happens to be, Abdellah seeks to restore the patient to their previous health.

That includes a healthy state of mind in addition to a healthy body. In that regard, individualized care within this nursing theory becomes restorative care.

By applying the key points of this theory to each patient, every nurse can assess their patients to determine what their current needs happen to be. That allows a nurse to create a therapeutic plan which can address the future needs of the patient. When both are working cohesively with one another, the best chance for a recovery can be found.