What Are Our Basic Needs ?

We are evolving and our BASIC needs are evolving. Yes, our basic needs.

How can that be? I think of basic needs as being our physical needs.


Yet, if you are participating in running, walking in nature, yoga, mindfulness or meditation practices, Reiki, healing touch, vegetarianism ….

You are already responding to your evolving basic needs

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs no longer strictly applies. Kind of like the food pyramid that was reorganized in recent years.


Our basic needs are not restricted to the biophysical in the traditional sense of basic needs that we all learned in school.

Our society is evolving and peoples’ Basic needs are evolving in the direction of nursing’s domain.

Nurses care for patients’ BASIC needs.

Our society is increasingly focusing on wellness. Wellness consciousness is the recognition that health is not just absence of disease and illness; it involves the whole person’s unity of mind-body-spirit.

Patients are bringing their holistic values, needs and expectations

into their healthcare encounters.


These evolving wellness and holistic needs are in nursing’s domain.

Jean Watson provided examples of these evolving human basic needs:

  • Need for work-purpose
  • Need for achievement – self-efficacy, self-esteem
  • Need for affiliation – love, family, belonging
  • Need for knowledge
  • Need for beauty – aesthetics
  • Need for self-expression; creativity
  • Need for play and relaxation
  • Need for self-actualization that is spiritually meaningful
  • Need to connect with that which is greater than self – surrender to the higher self.

Watson, 2008, p146

How are we to address these kinds of patient needs ?

We know that when we touch patient’s physical bodies, we are touching their minds and spirits as well.

By being aware and listening to what patients choose to communicate when we touch and when we talk … we have an opportunity to see within the patient and to create the space where they can DWELL in those thoughts, memories, questions, wonder….

Allow time to stop in those moments.  That’s one way we can address those needs.

DWELL in Those Moments

Watson J. Nursing – The Philosophy and Science of Caring, Revised Edition. Boulder: University Press of Colorado; 2008.

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