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). St. Louis, MO: 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). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.

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

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. (Ed.). (1995). A Virginia Henderson reader: Excellence in nursing. New York, NY: Springer.

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). Stamford, CT: 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. Geneva, Switzerland: 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. New York, NY: Macmillan.

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

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

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. New York, NY: Macmillan.