Virginia Avernal Henderson - Definition of Nursing

Henderson defined nursing in functional terms: "The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well, in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to a peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary strength, will or knowledge. And to do this in such a way as to help him gain independence as rapidly as possible." Tomey, A. M., & Alligood, M. R. (1998). Nursing theorists and their work (p. 102). Mosby.


Alexander, J. E., DeMeester, D. W., Lauer, T., Tomey, A. M., Neal, S. E., & Williams, S. (1998). Virginia Henderson: Definition of Nursing. In A. M. Tomey & M. R. Alligood (Eds.), Nursing theorists and their work (4th ed., pp. 99-111). Mosby.

Futton, J. S. (1987). Virginia Henderson: Theorist, prophet, poet (biography). Advances in Nursing Science, 10(1), 1-9.

Halloran, E. J. (Ed.). (1995). A Virginia Henderson reader: Excellence in nursing. Springer.

Halloran, E. J. (1996). Virginia Henderson and her timeless writings. Journal of Advanced Nursing23(1), 17-24. doi:10.1111/1365-2648.ep8550648

Halloran, E. J., & Thorson, M. J. (1996). Henderson's unique functions of nurses. In J. J. Fitzpatrick & A. L. Whall (Eds.), Conceptual models of nursing: Analysis and application (3rd ed., pp. 77-88). Appleton & Lange.

Hardy, M. E. (1978). Perspectives on nursing theory. Advances in Nursing Science, 1(1), 37-48.

Henderson, V. (1960). Basic principles of nursing care. International Council of Nurses.

Henderson, V. (1964). The nature of nursing. American Journal of Nursing, 64(8), 62-68.

Henderson, V. (1966). The nature of nursing: A definition and its implications for practice, research, and education. Macmillan.

Henderson, V. (1969). Excellence in nursing. American Journal of Nursing, 69(10), 2133-2137.

Henderson, V. (1969). ICN basic principles of nursing care. International Council of Nursing.

Henderson, V. (1973). On nursing care plans and their history. Nursing Outlook, 21(3), 378-379.

Henderson, V. (1977). We've "come along way," but what of the direction? Nursing Research, 26(3), 163-164.

Henderson, V. (1978). The concept of nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 3(2), 113-130. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.1978.tb00837.x

Henderson, V. (1990). Excellence in nursing 1969 [Classic article]. American Journal of Nursing, 90(4), 76-77.

Henderson, V. (1991). The nature of nursing--Reflections after 25 years. Macmillan.