Martha Rogers Science of Unitary Human Beings

Susie Clabots, Kristi Eilers, Liz Hopewell, Sarah Kline, Robin Simmons

Diploma in nursing, 1936 Bachelor of Science degree, 1937 MSN from Teacher¶s College, 1945 Doctorate degree in science at John Hopkins University, 1954 Public Health Nurse Visiting Nurse Head of Nursing, NYU

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Evolutionary theory General systems theory Physics Adaptation More specifically, her love of science fiction and« Music (Meleis, 2007)

Central Questions
1. What is the focus of nursing? 2. What knowledge gives nursing an identity? 3. Who is the nursing client? 4. What is the relationship between man and environment? 5. What are the phenomena of concern in nursing? 6. What knowledge is needed to develop the science of nursing?

Four Basic Concepts (Meleis, 2007)
Energy fields 2. Openness 3. Pattern 4. Four-dimensionality

Energy Fields
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Qui i

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Fundamental unit of living and nonliving. Energy refers to dynamic nature, i.e., continuous motion or change. i ure. Infinite. Humans and environment do not HAVE energy fields. THEY ARE ENERGY FIELDS.

‡ ‡ ‡

Openness is a characteristic of both humans and environment. Transcend time and space. The energy fields of man and environment are integral with one another.

‡ ‡ ‡

Characteristics of an energy field perceived as a single wave (pg 235). Refers only to an energy field (man and environment). Changes continuously.

Energy fields (man and environment)

are not bound by time or space.  Also referred to as pandimensionality

Important Definitions
Unitary: Her theory is called the science of Unitary Human Beings. Unitary refers to being a whole which cannot be broken down into parts, or irreducible. Nursing: While the energy fields of man and environment are outside of time, nursing takes place along a space-time continuum (Meleis, 2007).

Essence of Theory
The energy field of the human being interacts with the energy field environment. (The human being and the environment cannot be understood in isolation of each other). Nursing Client: Human beings-environment energy fields relationship. Nursing therapeutics: ³Repatterning of man and environment for more effective fulfillment of life¶s capabilities´ (Meleis, 2007).

Environment Energy Field

Human Being Energy Field

Clinical Applications
Others have expanded on Rogers¶ theory.
Use of an assessment framework Living in the Relative Present Experiencing comfort from past/present Shared Communication Sense of Rhythm Connection to Environment Sense of Self-Identity

Clinical Applications (cont.)
Creation of Nursing Diagnoses Disturbed Energy Field
Nursing Interventions Therapeutic Touch Meditation/Imagery Light, Color and Music Therapy
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Martha¶s You Tube Video

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Evolution of Science of Unitary Human Beings
1970: Rogers describes principles of homeodynamics as: reciprocity, synchrony, helicy, and resonancy. Rogers identifies people as the central phenomenon of interest to nursing. Rogers describes characteristics of humans to be unified wholes, continually exchanging energy with the environment. 1986: Ference¶s Field Motion Test (Research) Barrett¶s Human Field Power Test (Research) Newman¶s Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness (Theory) 1992: Rogers¶ principles change to: integrality, helicy, and resonancy. Rogers modifies characteristics to be human and environmental energy fields, openness, pattern, and pandimensionality.

Evolution of Science of Unitary Human Beings
1997: Carboni¶s Rogerian Process of Inquiry (Research) Bultemeier¶s Photo-Disclosure Method (Research) 1998: Parse¶s Human Becoming Theory (Theory) Barrett¶s Health Patterning (Practice) 2005: Butcher¶s Unitary Field Pattern Portrait (Practice) Cowling¶s Unitary Appreciative Inquiry (Practice)

Nursing Theory Pioneer
Identified people and the world they live in as the core focus of nursing (Fawcett, 1995). Focus on patterns and repatterning. Introduced concept of energy to nursing theory (Meleis, 2007). Emphasized nursing as a unique empirical science. Advocated nursing-specific body of knowledge.

Scope of the Science of Unitary Human Beings
Relatable to ADLs and daily human needs (Meleis, 2007) Inspiration for environment-patient interactionist theories and practice methods. Therapeutic touch Barret¶s theory of power as ³knowing participation in change´ (Malinski, 2006) Zahourek¶s theory of intentionality (Malinski, 2006)

Increasing Popularity of Roger¶s Theory Nursing focus on holism Empowers the patient and the professional nurse as agents for change

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Conceptual Problems
³This is a theory whose complexity of the primitive concepts has undermined the clarity of the relationship between the concepts as well as the boundaries´ ± Meleis, p. 404.

Overly esoteric ³«one is also faced with the limitations of the existing English language in describing pandimensionality of a human being field and the influence of the tremendous acceleration of change on humanity.´ (Rogers, 1980a)

Vague definitions leading to debate even among Rogerian scholars. Example: the TT HEF (human energy field) vs. the Rogerian HEF.

Conceptual Problems (cont.)
Central Concepts (i.e. energy fields) have limited practical application.

Contraindications in the theory occur. Example: ³delineating the boundary of the human field´ with instruments (p. 113) but also states that the human field extends to infinity without boundaries.

Criticized as a ³closed system´ in which most studies are conducted and/or published within Rogerian scholar circles and publications.

The Science of Rogerian Nursing
Not only is nursing theory an articulation of phenomena and their relationships, but such articulation has to be communicated to colleagues in ways that make it possible to test, evaluate, interpret and use these articulations.´ (Meleis, p. 41) Rogers labeled her work as a ³science´, or conceptual model. ³She reinforced the idea that nursing is based on a science.´ (Meleis, p. 406) However, she was openly critical of evidence-based practice. References to quantum physics are apparent attempts to legitimize the concepts. Existing scientific methodology fails to capture the ³immeasurable´ components of the theory.

Research Studies«or Lack Thereof
³Nursing theorists also tend to avoid crucial experiments which could jeopardize the theory in the rare cases where the theory is coherent enough to permit testing; or, as noted for therapeutic touch, reinterpret the theory to make it possible to test.´ (Raskin) The research studies conducted tend to be qualitative and/or anecdotal in nature, with poorly defined or irreproducible outcomes. Infamous study published in JAMA (1998) cast serious doubts on efficacy of TT. Two meta-analyses and a systematic review relating to TT concluded that any conclusion of effects are qualified by a methodological concern ( Peters, 1999; Winstead-Fry &Kijek. 1999; Astin et al., 2000).

Final Resolution (?)
³Perhaps it is becoming clear that there are no answers, in the sense of last word or final resolutions, within the system. The world view underlying the Science of Unitary Human Beings, one of total openness and continuous change fosters ongoing inquiry´ (Malinski, 1986).

References (1)
Astin J.A., Harkness E. & Ernst E. (2000) The efficacy of µdistant healing¶: a systematic review of randomized trials. Annals of Internal Medicine, 132, 903±910. Fawcett, J. (1995). Analysis and evaluation of conceptual models of nursing (3rd ed.). F.A. Philadelphia, PA: Davis. Kenny, J. (2002). Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives for Advanced Nursing Practice (3rd ed.). Sudbury, Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Malinski, V.M. (1986). Explorations of Martha Rogers¶ Science of Unitary Human Beings. East Norwalk, CT: Prentice-Hall. Malinski, V. M., & Manhart Barrett, E. A. (1994). Martha E. Rogers: Her Life and Her Work. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company. Manhart Barret, E. (2000). The Theoretical Matrix for a Rogerian Nursing Practice. Theoria: Journal of Nursing Theory. Manhart Barrett, E. (1990) Visions of Rogers¶ Science-Based Nursing. New York, NY: National League for Nursing. Meleis, A. I (2007). Theoretical Nursing: Development & Progress. (4th Ed)., Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Williams.

References (2)
O¶Mathúna, p. A critical evaluation of the theory and practice of therapeutic touch. Blackwell Science Ltd 2002 Nursing Philosophy, 3, pp. 163±176. Raskin, Jef. "Rogerian Nursing Theory: A Humbug in the Halls of Higher Learning", Skeptical Inquirer 24;5 September/October 2000 pp 30-36. (, accessed 9/25/08) Rogers, Martha E. 1970. An Introduction to the Theoretical Basis of Nursing. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company. Rosa, L., E. Rosa, L. Sarner and S. Barrett. 1998. "A Close Look at Therapeutic Touch". JAMA 1 April: 1005-1010.

Winstead-Fry P. & Kijek J. (1999) An integrative review and metaanalysis of therapeutic touch research. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 5, 58±67.
Wright, B.W. (2007) . The evolution of Rogers¶ Science of Unitary Human Beings: 21st century reflections. Nursing Science Quarterly. 20(1), 64-67.

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