Faye Glenn Abdellah was one of the most influential nursing theorist and public health scientist in nursing profession. She was born in March 13, 1919 in New York city, and she earned her nursing Bachelor of Science Degree in 1945, Master of Arts degree in 1947 and Doctor of Education in Teacher’s college Colombia University in 1947 and a Master of Arts Degree in Physiology (Nursingtheories.blogspot.com/2009). Abdellah stated I never wanted to be a medical Doctor because I could do all I wanted to do in Nursing, which is a caring profession. I believe this drove her into nursing research and led to her development of the Abdellah’s typology of 21 nursing problems. Abdellah described nursing as a service to individual, to families and therefore to the society. She acknowledged the influence of Henderson and expanded Henderson’s 14 needs into her own 21 problems that she believed would serve as a knowledge base for nursing.
In her nursing practice, she strongly believed and supported the idea that nursing research would be the key factor in helping nursing to advance and grow into a true respectable profession. It was through her research that what is now known and seen as nursing diagnosis was developed.
Abdellah stated that people have physical, emotional and sociological needs and that these needs are overt needs which consist largely of physical needs which are covert in nature such as emotional, social and interpersonal needs – which are often perceived incorrectly. Abdellah averred that – the patient is the justification for the existence of nursing. The individuals (families) are the recipients of nursing care and health or achieving it, is the purpose of nursing.
Abdellah defined man, health, environment/society and nursing. And of nursing she stated that “Nursing is a service to individuals, families and therefore to society. The goal of nursing according to her is the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual functioning of the client which pertains to holistic care.
Abdellah stated that nursing is based on an art and science that moulds the attitude, intellectual competences and technical skills of the individual nurse into the desire and ability to help people, sick or well, to cope with their health needs (George J. 2002). She went on to list 10 nursing services that the nurse must do. Abdellah averred that nursing care for the patient is doing something for the person/client/patient with goals of meeting needs or restoring self help ability or alleviating impairment. Her theories also specifically averred that the nurse needs knowledge on basic science and specific nursing skills, as well as knowledge skills in the communication psychology, sociology, growth and development and inter-personal relationships. She averred that for the nurse to be able to carry out the above 10 nurses services, the nurse must possess some 11 nursing skills.
Abdellah grouped nursing into 21 broad problem areas to guide care and promote use of nursing judgment and they include biological, psychological and social areas of individuals and families.
Abdellah classified nursing problems based on her idea that nursing is just for meeting the individuals/clients health needs. Her greatest effort was to differentiate nursing from medicine and disease orientation.
Abdellah’s theory - human need theory – which she developed for her practice was actually used in the promotion of the nurses image who she saw and said was kind, caring, intelligent, competent, provides service to the patient and well prepared technologically.
- Grace Orunmuyiwa