Type: Management
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Margaret Newman was born on October 10, 1933 in MemphisTennessee. In 1954, she earned her first Bachelors degree in Home Economics and English from BaylorUniversity in Waco, Texas. In 1962 she received her Bachelors degree in Nursing from the University of Tennessee, Memphis. In 1964 she received her Masters Degree of Medical-Surgical Nursing and Teaching at the University of California in San Francisco. In 1971 she completed her Doctorate of Nursing Science and Rehabilitation at New YorkUniversity. She has published three books, and several journal articles. She has served on several editorial review panels and is currently a member of the advisory board of Advances in Nursing Science.

Margaret Newman is one of the nursing theorists whose qualitative theories and methods have extended the scientific base for the field. Her theory defines health as an expansion of consciousness and nursing as an integrative force that focuses on the wholeness of the person.

Theory’s Definition of Elements of Nursing

  • Persons/Clients:  Newman uses the terms client, individual, patient, person and human being interchangeably for the same entity. Her definition of client includes family and the community. Individuals according to her are unique due to their patterns of consciousness by having centers of consciousness within their overall pattern of expanding their consciousness. Every person is different and each individual’s patterns should be recognized as sequential over time.
  • Health/Well Being: Health is the main focus for Newman’s theory of expanding consciousness. It is regarded as an individual’s ability to recognize his own patterns of health and non disease leads to improved health. Health is an outcome of the person’s interaction with their environment and since disease is also a part of the environment; hence it becomes part of person-environment interaction. Health is a combination of disease and non-disease, which are each reflections of the larger whole and according to Newman, becoming ill does not diminish wholeness, but simply alters it.
  • Environments: The pattern of person-environment interactions shapes health. Environment is in unison with human beings having no boundaries.
  • Nursing: According to Newman nurses help clients get in touch with the meaning of life by identifying their health patterns. Nurses also help clients identify different patterns of interactions. A nurse achieves this by working with the client, and not doing for the client. The nurse works together with the client through critical choice points, when change takes place

Theory’s Definition of Relationship Between Elements of Nursing

Newman does not focus on illness of a person in her theory but her focus is on the person. Her idea for treatment of a person is to help him identify the changing patterns of health in his life to take him to a higher level of consciousness. Newman states that there are 9 patterns of interactions that guide a nurse in making holistic observations of person-environment behavior taking him from nursing to health and recovery:

1. Choosing                2. Communicating        3. Exchanging

4. Feeling                   5. Knowing                  6. Moving

7. Perceiving               8. Relating                   9. Valuing

Nurses who form relationships with their clients can help them identify problematic patterns, move to a choice point, then to a higher level of consciousness, resulting in a reduction in problematic patterns of behavior.

Assess – The nurse helps the client to identify that current life patterns are not healthy and he must relate to the environment in a different way.

Plan – While keeping in view the client’s choice, the nurse helps him identify the resources available in the environment for better health pattern. The nurse may assist the patient in choosing the health pattern suitable for him but not decide for the patient herself.

Implement – The client implements the new strategies to regain new health patterns in his life and changes start taking place.

Evaluate – The nurse examines the changed health pattern over time to ensure smooth transition between illness and health.

Research Studies Directed

Margaret Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness is directed towards all persons regardless of their age and gender as it treats the person as a whole having problems with their health patterns. Extensive researches have been performed in her theory, and many books have been written that link the HEC theory to real life examples for implementation in health car units, so that patient and nurse can work together to change the health patterns of patients through consciousness.

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