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Ida Jean Orlando

Ida Jean Orlando was an outstanding nursing theorist who developed the deliberative nursing process that changed the way that nurses interact with their patients. Her theory was presented in her 1961 book, The Dynamic Nurse-Patient Relationship: Function, Process and Principles. Reprinted in 1990 by the National League for Nurses, the book has been translated into more than 12 languages.

Early Life and Education

Ida Jean Orlando came from a humble background. Her parents, Nicholas and Antoinette Orlando, were Italian immigrants who followed the tradition of having an arranged marriage. Ida Jean was born on August 12, 1926, the fourth of six children. She was born in New Jersey, but the family later moved to Kings County, New York, where her father worked as a mechanic and her mother was a homemaker. She was raised during the depression and wanted to study nursing to better her life. However, her mother was opposed to her leaving home to go to school because in Italian culture at that time, a girl did not leave the family home until she was married. Ida Jean finally obtained her permission to leave home and started her nursing education at New York Medical College's Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital School of Nursing.

Nursing Career and Education

Orlando received her diploma in nursing in 1947 and started to work in obstetrics at Shore Road Hospital. She did not feel that the patients were receiving good care there and left to work at another hospital. While there, she studied at St. John's University, Brooklyn, New York, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in public health nursing in 1951. She entered public health nursing because she felt that it would give her more freedom to practice nursing in a way that relied less on protocol and more on the real needs of the patients. When she found that this was not true, she entered Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, and earned a Master of Arts degree in mental health nursing in 1954. She immediately secured a position at Yale University in the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing (PMH) department as an associate professor and director and stayed there until 1961.

While at Yale, Orlando was named the principal investigator of a research project called Integration of Mental Health Concepts in a Basic Nursing Curriculum. It was from this survey of over 2,000 nurse-patient interactions that Orlando's nursing process theory was born. She presented this theory in report form until a more complete version was published in 1961. On June 30, 1961, she married Robert J. Pelletier. She left Yale University that same year and in 1962, began working as a clinical nursing consultant at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts. She became the first psychiatric nurse in the United States to receive a research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The project was called Two Systems of Nursing in a Psychiatric Hospital. This grant permitted her to make a comprehensive study of the deliberative nursing process and teach the instructors, supervisors and nursing staff to use this process to understand the needs of patients. This was the first time in history that a nursing process was studied with a scientific approach. In 1972, Orlando published the results of this study in her book, The Discipline and Teaching of the Nursing Process and conducted many training programs to explain her theory. From 1972 to 1981, Orlando conducted more than 60 seminars throughout the United States and Canada to introduce and teach the nursing process theory. She also was a national and international consultant for the nursing process and a frequent lecturer. From McLean Hospital, Orlando went to Metropolitan State Hospital in Waltham, Massachusetts. That hospital had a completely different socioeconomic staff and patient population, and Orlando wanted to apply her theory to that type of institution. When the hospital closed, Orlando worked with the nearby Graebler Children's Unit, teaching their staff and assisting with its closing as well.

Later Years

After Orlando's retirement, she continued to be a mentor and consultant for former students and colleagues. She died on November 28, 2007 at the age of 81. Her husband died in 2012, and a joint memorial service was held for them on September 7, 2012, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Legacy of Ida Jean Orlando

Orlando's nursing process theory is very easy to understand, easy to use and focuses on the patient. It is clear enough to be used by the beginning nursing student and comprehensive enough for more advanced practitioners. It is one of the most effective theories in nursing and prioritizes the needs of the patient rather than protocol.

Videos and Publications related to Ida Jean Orlando

YouTube has some video clips of Ida Jean Orlando that give an insight into her down-to-earth personality and dedication to her work. They are well worth watching.

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