Biography of Dorothea Orem
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Dorothea Orem was born in Baltimore, Maryland and spent her early life there. After earning degrees from the Providence Hospital School of Nursing and Catholic University of America, where she earned a BS in Nursing Education and an MS in Nursing Education, she practiced nursing at Providence Hospital and St. John’s Hospital. In 1945 she began to focus her career on nursing education. She worked as the director of Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Detroit and served in various positions (including Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Dean of Nursing) at Catholic University of America.
Orem is best known for developing the Self-Care Deficit Nursing Theory and the General Theory of Nursing. Her 1971 paper Nursing: Concepts of Practice outlined her research on the importance of self-care and was followed by several papers that addressed specific areas of her theory. Her tireless work made her a hero of the nursing community, and she was asked to give lectures at numerous universities and hospitals. She also received awards and recognitions from such esteemed organizations as the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society and the National League for Nursing. The International Orem Society has continued developing effective concepts for nursing. Dorothea Orem passed away in 2007. The Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives holds a collection of Orem’s personal papers.