Guided imagery as internally oriented self-care: A nursing case

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Self-Care, Dependent Care & Nursing






The self-care deficit theory of nursing (Orem, 2001) provides nurses with a framework to create nursing systems that incorporate internally oriented self-care actions such as guided imagery. Internal orientations include “action sequences to control oneself (thoughts, feelings, and orientation) and thereby regulate internal factors or one’s external orientations” (Orem, 2001, p. 269). Imagery, a multi-sensory representation of an experience that uses imagination to invoke visual, auditory, smell, taste, sense of movement, position, and touch perceptions (Solomon & Saylor, 1995), is one form of internally oriented self-care. After differentiating between the external and internal orientations of self-care and describing guided imagery, linkages between the action sequences of external and internal orientations and specific helping methods used by nurses are made. A nursing case illustrating the use of guided imagery by a school-aged child to reduce pain is presented. A nurse with developed nursing agency in the domain of imagery, through select helping methods, assesses the self-care agency of the child and assists him to learn guided imagery. This nursing system created by the nurse broadens the child’s repertoire of self-care, resulting in a reduction of pain intensity reported by the child.