Planning Nursing Care:
Implementing Erik Erikson’s and Abraham Maslow’s Theories of Development
When planning care for a patient, a nurse must consider not only the physical needs of that patient, but the psychological needs as well. One major approach to nursing theory has been described as a “needs” approach. It relies on Abraham Maslow’s need hierarchy, as well as, the developmental theories of Erik Erikson. Needs-oriented theories emphasize the nurse’s role in helping the patient to meet his or her physiological and psychosocial needs.
These two famous psychologists developed theories of development that have been studied and followed for several years now and have been incorporated into medical and nursing care. These theories are excellent sources for nurses to use in developing care plans that will gratify the needs of most all patients.
Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development describes eight developmental stages through which a healthy developing human should pass from infancy to late adulthood.
Although all stages can be utilized in nursing, the first stage of Infancy, with its basic conflict of trust vs. mistrust, is the most essential of all stages. Erikson proposed this concept is present throughout an individual’s entire life, not just during infancy. In this stage, a person questions whether or not their environment is safe or not. The nurse must realize that even though the patient may expect care from her, they may not be fully trusting of her. Steps should be initiated on how to properly approach the patient, depending on their age, sex, social and medical background, and, of course diagnosis. Children, as well as, adults, develop a sense of trust when caregivers provide reliability, care, and affection. A lack of this will lead to mistrust. Without trust, a patient may not be receptive of care or they become noncompliant with the medical plan developed for them.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of motivation and...