•The belief in the existence of “vital force” or energy, the source of all life, among living organisms started since ancient times. From ancient Hindus’ “prana” and Chinese’s “qi” to Mesmer’s “animal magnetism” and Reichenbach’s “odic field”, this belief in the “vital force” or energy had been the foundation for alternative, holistic healing that are now widely practiced within the nursing community (Rosa 1994, Schieber 1997, Ulett 1997, Rosa 1998, Pryjmachuk 1998, as cited by Stenger, 1999).

What is Energy?
From a traditional view, energy is the capacity to do work while absence of it equates disability or illness. In contrast, the concept of energy from a unitary perspective considers energy as a phenomenon that is inherently dynamic and is subjected to change. It considers disease or illness as part of human potential actualization and death as another manifestation of energy instead of the end or the opposite of life (Todaro-Franceschi, 1999). Martha Rogers sees energy from a unitary perspective and proposed two energy fields that are the fundamental unit of the living and inanimate.

Martha Rogers sees a person and his/her environment as energy fields instead of as elements that possess the energy field. These energy fields are called the Human Energy Field (HEF) and the environmental field. According to her, the HEF is an "irreducible, indivisible, pandimensional energy field identified by pattern and manifesting characteristics that are specific to the whole and which cannot be predicted from knowledge of the parts" (1991). Her definition of HEF identifies one of the important concepts that she proposed – the wholeness of the human being. According to her, human being is regarded as a unified whole which is more than and different from the sum of the parts.

OPENNESS One of the critical characteristics of the energy fields are its openness. The HEF and the environmental field continuously and completely exchanges information. Human beings are inseparable from the environment. Hence, the two fields are integral with one another. PANDIMENSIONALITY Pandimensionality describes "a nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes" (Rogers as cited by MarrimerTomey, 1994), an "infinite domain without limit" (Rogers as cited by Meleis, 1991)

Every individual or field has its own unique characteristic or pattern integral with its own, unique environmental field. According to Martha Rogers, pattern is perceived as a single wave that gives identity to the field. In caring for different individuals or groups, one must consider the uniqueness of each in order to identify behaviours normal to him or her.

The Principles of Homeodynamics
"postulate a way of perceiving unitary man" (Rogers as cited by Marrimer-Tomey, 1994) and serves as "fundamental guides to the practice of nursing" ( Rogers , 1990).

            Human beings and the environment are in constant interaction with each other. Environment affects the individual as the individual affects the environment. Certain changes in one field will brought about a change on the other. This principle is also in line with Martha Roger’s concept of openness and provides basis for nurses in manipulating the environment for effecting change in client’s outcome.

Human and environmental field pattern is continuous yet diverse. As the environment changed, the field pattern of human beings also changed since both fields possessed the characteristic of openness. The changes in the field pattern may be either beneficial or not to the individual that is why nurses must take into consideration re-patterning of these fields to create positive outcome to the patient. Interaction between the two fields is not just the reason for the dynamic attribute of the field patterns. The dynamic characteristic of both fields may be inherent such that change may occur even without the influence of the other field. It just simply changes over time.

This principle asserts that human and environmental fields are identified by wave patterns that manifest continuous change from lower to higher frequencies.


• In the Science of Unitary Human Beings, the person and environment are the central focus of nursing. A person is a unitary, pandimensional and evolving energy field operating as an open system with infinite potentials defined by patterns perceived through manifestations as a single wave. Furthermore, the principle of integrality asserts that a person is in continuous mutual process with the energy field that is the environment. • Similar to the holistic views proliferating the nursing profession, Rogers view person as a whole entity with infinite aspects contributing to a single manifestation of being. However, Rogers deviates from the conservative concepts of holism by asserting that knowing these different aspects of person is insufficient to rationalize the whole of that person. A whole cannot be understood merely by be knowing the parts. Instead, the manifestations of each aspect of a person must be considered in the context of the whole.

• In order to provide effective nursing service to a person, a nurse must participate in the mutual process of that person and that person's environment in order to observe and apprehend the patterns that both fields manifest. It is for the betterment of the human being that nursing exists.

• Rogers considers the environment to be everything outside of the human field. This includes both the living (including other people) and non-living. It is defined as an irreducible, indivisible,pandimensional energy field identified by patten and manifesting characteristics different from those of the parts. Each environment field is specific and integral to a given human field. Both change continuously and creatively. • Human beings can only exist in an environment. A person, inevitably, draws energy from the environment (air, water, food, shelter, etc.). It is this relationship that strengthens the integrality of the environment field with the human field. It is also this integrality with the human field that qualifies environment as a focus of nursing.

• The mutual process between human field and environment field imply the importance of the environment to a person and the importance of a person to the environment. Similar to Florence Nightingale's assertions, Rogers advocate the manipulation of the environment to strengthen the integrity of the human field. • Moreover, Rogers recognizes the importance of environmental management to maintain habitability. By caring for the environment, human beings also care for themselves.

• Rogers implied that health is a pattern manifestation (a symphonic interaction) of the human-environment mutual process. Moreover, she seemingly equates health with the integrity of the human field that allows for the experience of the maximum potential of the human life process. • By omitting a standard definition of health, Rogers accommodates the diverse individual perceptions of health. Her notions of health emphasized on its value in the personal experience of the human life process. • The Science of Unitary Human Beings holds the experience of the human life process as the central phenomena of concern in Nursing. Health is implied as a contributor to the capacity of a person to maximize the experience of the human life process.

• Rogers stated that, “Professional practice in Nursing seeks to promote symphonic interaction between human and environment fields, to strengthen the integrity of the human field, and to direct and redirect patterning of the human and environment fields for the realization of maximum health potential.” • Nursing is a learned profession with a body of knowledge and a central focus unique to itself. It concerns human beings and their respective environments, with the purpose of promoting the integrity of the human field in order to experience the maximum potential of the human life process. In a universe that continuously evolve towards diversity and innovation, nursing is tasked with the responsibility to keep pace with such changes and must therefore continue to develop its body of knowledge.

• The art of nursing lie in the application of the science of nursing for human betterment. A key assertion in the Science of Unitary Human Beings is that people are unique and can only be understood as a whole being. Nursing must therefore be participatory in nature. It is essential that a nurse share in the human-environment mutual process to apprehend pattern manifestations and to acquire the knowledge required to render effective nursing service. • Rogers further assert that non-invasive modalities are the primary tools of nursing. Some of these modalities are therapeutic touch, music, humor and guided imagery. The Science of Unitary Human Beings, putting emphasis on the integrality of the human and environment fields in a pandimensional universe of open systems, offers a unifying abstraction where nursing stands independent of other fields of science. While other fields of science address a particular aspect of the person, nursing stands as a unifying element that helps rationalize the total human life experience.

Reference: • Todaro-Franceschi, V. (1999). The Enigma of Energy:  Where Science & Religion Converge, New York: Crossroad Publishing Co. • Meleis, Afaf. Theoretical Nursing: Development and Progress. Second edition. Philadelphia : J.B. Lippinocott Company. 1991 • Marriner-Tomey, Ann. Nursing Theorists and Their Work. Third edition. Missouri : Mosby. 1994

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