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Martha E. Rodgers’ Theory of Unitary Human Beings

The nursing field consists of four basic concepts, referred to as metaparadigms. They are: person, health, environment, and nursing (Smith & Parker, 2015). The nurse’s central focus is to develop human well-being and promote access to health-care. This metaparadigms form a basis
for the advancement of the subject matter of nursing, through a number of theories, all aimed at developing the scope of nursing practice and health (Im & Ju Chang, 2012).

One particular nursing theory that encompasses the metaparadigm of nursing is the Theory of Unitary Human Beings, developed by Martha Rodgers. This theory views nursing as both an art and science
(Taylor & Lillis, 2001). The Rogers theory provides a way to view the unitary human being as integral to the universe (Smith & Parker, 2015). It seeks to explain the concept of nursing trough understanding
of people and the manifestations emerging from the mutual human-environmental field process (Smith & Parker, 2015).

Change of organization and pattern of both the environmental and
human fields is conveyed by waves. The results of the emerging field patterns are a series of events, which are observable. It is through the understanding of these patterns that we are able to clearly understand human experience better. This theory is backed by the eight basic concepts of: integrality, helicy, resonance, homeodynamic principles pan-dimensionality, pattern, openness and energy field.

The underlying premise of the Rogers’ Theory of Unitary Human Beings as it relates to nursing is presented by the three steps of assessment, voluntary mutual patterning and evaluation. The process of assessment goes in consistence with the total pattern of events at any given point in space and time (Smith & Parker, 2015). According to the theory, the practice of
the nurse should revolve around the simultaneous state of the patient and the immediate environment.

In understanding the mutual patterning of the environmental and human fields, nurses should take into consideration the concepts of knowledge sharing, patient empowerment, evaluation, repetition, identification of harmony and dissonance, validating the appraisal pattern with the patient as well as self-reflection of the patient. In preparing nurses to practice the Rogers theory, the main focus should be to develop a nursing curriculum that harmonizes personal beliefs with the professional standards.

The relationship between the nurse and the patient is guided by personal and professional ethics and standards (Alejandro, 2017).This is important in preserving a good image of the nursing profession. The nurse helps the patient to understand the difficulties they are facing. The nurse creates a friendly environment to work with the patient. It is important to understand the different phases of communication as the independence of the patient declines.

The uniqueness of the theory lies in its ability to contribute to the advancement of the nursing discipline, while explaining the general aspects of nursing practice, key elements for its development and knowledge. It is clear that the Unitarian theory contains all philosophies guiding the abstract view of human beings, human–environment interaction, and health and caring are reflected in each of the four concepts of metapadigm.


Alejandro, J. (2017). Lessons learned through nursing theory. Nursing, 47(2), 41-42. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/01.nurse.0000511808.68087.e3

Im, E. & Ju Chang, S. (2012). Current Trends in Nursing Theories, Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 44(2), 156-164. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01440.x

Smith, M. & Parker M. E (2015).Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice (Parker, Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice) 4th Edition, Pennsylvania: F.A. Davis Company

Taylor C. & Lillis C. (2001).The Art & Science of Nursing Care 4th Ed, Philadelphia: Lippincott Publishers.

1 thought on “Martha E. Rodgers’ Theory of Unitary Human Beings

Kayla April 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Dorothea Orem’s self-care deficit nursing theory (SCDNT) gives the nurse a structure in
which to look at circumstances. As new conditions are experienced, this theory gives a structure
for association, examination, and basic leadership. The article clearly discusses the functional
components of the nursing theory, providing direction on how nurses ought to interact with
different people within the healthcare system.

Orem’s theory helps the field of nursing by properly defining objectives, beliefs and values, and they offer assistance to characterize the special commitment of nursing in the care of patients. The success in specific parts of the nursing practice and the entire profession highly relies on the clarity of focus a nurse has in offering help.

I also concur with the sentiments that the use of Orem’s theory helps the nurse to carry
out the nursing practice systematically and with order (Warren, 2016). Looking at a nursing
situation; the nurse receives a patient who comes in and complains of back problem. The nurse
performs diagnosis and finds the problem to be emanating from the lumbar region.

The nurse together with the patient set goals to use pillow and other back support to minimize strain, use
non-pharmacological ways of reducing pain and analgesics. At the implementation stage, the
plans are carried out as agreed with the contribution of both the patient and the nurse. Finally,
patient is allowed to express how they feel after the process and the response is positive. In the
whole, all the functional components of the theory are well discussed.


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