Archives to Maintain Personal Papers of Dorothea Orem

By Lynn Schultz-Writsel

A grant from the Sarah E. Allison Foundation to the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing will make it possible for the university to maintain the personal papers of Dorothea Orem, a leader in nursing theory and research.

The grant will support the processing and maintenance of the collection that Dorothea Orem deposited in 2005 with the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives, the official School of Nursing archival repository. The collection will be made available for research following an in-depth processing and organization.

Orem, a native of Baltimore and currently a resident of Savannah, GA, is best known for her theories and the development of scientific knowledge in the field of nursing. She began her work in 1949 and created the self-care deficit theory of nursing, the theory that is today considered the basis for the advancement of both nursing knowledge and nursing as a profession.

The Sarah E. Allison Foundation of Jackson, MS, is a small private foundation established in 2000 to promote and support the development and formalization of the practical science of nursing based on Orem’s theories. Foundation founder Allison is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins Hospital (JHH) School of Nursing Class of 1953 and received her BS in nursing from Hopkins in 1959. She founded the JHH Center for Experimentation and Development in Nursing, the first organizational unit in a department of nursing devoted to the development of nursing practice based on a theoretical nursing framework; it was also the first to deliberatively use Orem’s conceptualizations about nursing as the basis for developing nursing practice in a variety of health care situations.

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