A Nursing Theory by Myrna D. Santos, MSN, RN                                        Since 2004                        

Taking Care of Our Self

The Theory of Self-Preservation

(A Conceptual Nursing Model)


Self-preservation is a state of balance between the id (self) system and all the forces internal and external which are in state of continuous interaction.


It is a group of process and mechanisms of adaptation to the threat (predisposing/potential and actual threats) in the environment surrounding the id (self) with the ultimate goal of achieving growth and development, control, integrity, dignity and general sense of well being.



  • The id (self) has innate instinct or desire for survival.
  • The id has natural love for himself.
  • Self-preservation is a reaction to a specific threat to the id.
  • Self-preservation is a protective mechanism against a predisposing, actual or potential threat.
  • Self-preservation is attained through physio-physical, emotional, mental or psychological reactions to a threat.
  • Care and love are necessities for human survival.
  • We must be able to love and care for ourselves before we can love and care for others.                                             

Living The Paradigms

  • Self as the center of a unit/being
  • Self has 3 domains: I , ME,WE,US
  • Self as the totality of innate instincts and higher faculties
  • Self in constant state of becoming
  • Self as equal to the sum of its parts, cohesive in space, continuous in time
  • All conditions, forces, circumstances and influences affecting the self
  • Inherent/native threat
  • External/alien threat
  • Constantly changing
  • State of well being in varying degrees
  • Wellness as effective reaction to the threat
  • Wellness and Illness can co-exist within the Self
  • Illness as manifestation of a disturbed self
  • Illness as failed reaction to the threat
  • As an acquired, learned profession
  • Objective/subjective actions to provide safe environment for the self
  • Supportive role
  • Protective role
  • Chief goal: understanding the self as the central structure of wellness and self-preservation.


People have innate self-preservation instincts.

Environments dictate level of needs.

Health depends on needs being met.

Nursing has tools to assist in attaining necessities

The Nurse as the Provider of Health and the Transformer of Change


"The self-image is the face of the mind. By healing the self-image the mind is healed. As our experts are still confused about the mind; we can make the mind emotionally healthy by making the self-image emotionally healthy. (As clear and pure ego-free)
The world is suffering from a very real fundamental flaw of emotionally challenged minds on such a vast scale. In other words the world is suffering from emotionally challenged self-identities/self-images. It is the self-identity that determines one’s grip on reality: the key to an emotionally healthy life. From relationships to happiness and depression, to student failures and drug addictions, from crime to class divides; it is all determined by the emotional health of the self-image. All the man-made ills of society stem from emotionally challenged self-images."

Sajid Khan
"How to Become Wise"


Nursing:The Applied Art and Science in Community Health

Inter-Cultural & Inter-Generational Approach
Arts & Culture at the Dragon Gallery New York: "There's More to Art"
Group Expressions of Culture & Creativity
Relating to Communities

Review of Literature on Self Care


Caring for Ourselves So We Can Care for Others