A Nursing Theory by Myrna D. Santos                                                        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 ,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