Margret Newman`s tTheory of Health as Expanding Consciousness

Theory of Newman 10

MargretNewman`stTheory of Health as Expanding Consciousness

AnalysisModel Theory Description, Analysis and Critique: Meleis (1985,2007),

MargretNewman`stheory of health as expanding consciousness originates from Rogers`theory of unitary human beings.&nbspThe theory has its stimulationfrom those whom health as the absence of disease or disability is notpossible.Thetheory of the expanding consciousness postulates that all humanbeings in any situation of disordered or hopelessness are part of aparticular process of expanding consciousness. This process entailsone becoming more self and finding a greater meaning of self-reachingnew high levels connectedness with other individuals and the world.This article presents the description, analysis and critique of theMargret Newman’s theory of expanding consciousness


Thetheory has a basisofthe assumptions that encompass health as a whole. First, health has adescriptionof illness as in being sick or pathologically sick and wellness orbeing free of disease(Brown,2011).In this, the pathological conditions have a consideration of thetotal manifestation patterns of an individual. Eventually, theprimary patterns of the individuals manifest itself as pathology andexist prior to structural and functional changes(Endo,2004).Despite this, elimination of the pathology does not alter the patternof the individual. This model also believes that fora healthy person,illness is the sole alternative for the manifestationof the person’spattern. Finally, this theory assumes that health is an expansion ofconsciousness. In this case, Newman explains consciousness as theinformational capacity of the whole revealed in the evolving patternof the whole(Endo,2004).

Inher theory, Newman clarifies consciousness as the state of beingsentient of something in oneself. She describes this as themanifestation of a sprouting pattern of collaboration between a beingand their environment(Vandemark,2006).&nbspThisincludesthe interconnectedness of affective and cognitive awareness and thetotality living system. Thedesignrefers to the information that represents the whole or it is binding.Patternidentifies the wholeof the person, which evolves over times and is unpredictable.&nbsp

Shedescribes the patternto encompass three dimensions: first is the movement-space-time. Thismeansinteractions by communication, self-awareness and perceiving realityvia the personalinner and life experiences by being objective or subjective(Brown,2011).Second is the rhythm-rudimentary to movement, rhythm is a joiningexperience. Finally, diversityis seen as part of the patterns.

Thetheory proposes that health does not imply lack of illness or aprocess to become healthy from being ill(Lamendola &amp Newman,1994).It also the expansion of consciousness resulting from thechoices made by the setting of patterns of behavior.

Thistheory isa stimulation of the concern for those it is impossible to achievethe absence of disease or disability to be health. Newman observedthe caregivers relate such people to those facing the debilitation,loss, uncertainty and eventual death resulting from the chronicillness(Endo,2004).Following its inception, the theory has undergone advancement toaccommodate health of all individuals regardless the absence orpresence of disease(Brown,2011).According tothistheory, individuals in every situation are part of a universallyexpanding consciousness regardless of their condition(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994).Throughthis process, the individuals seek to become more of oneself bydeveloping the ability to find greater meaning in life and eventuallyreaching new dimensions of connectedness with other individuals inthe world.

Humansas an open whole energy system of the universe are in constantinteraction with this energy. Through this process of interaction,people are evolving their individual pattern of beingwhole(Alligood,2011).Newman believes that understanding&nbspthe pattern is essential tounderstanding the human. Therefore, the pattern recognition isthrough the expanding consciousness. The pattern of individualdetermines the manifestation of the disease.Therefore, the pathology of the diseases exists even before thesymptoms appear. Hence, the person’s structure does not change by amere removal of disease symptoms(Endo,2004).

Basedon her theory, Newman redefines nursing. According to her,nursing isthe process that involves recognizing the individual concerningenvironment and the whole process of understanding of theconsciousness(Endo,2004).Based on this, the nurse as a caregiver helps to comprehend peopleand use the energy within them to develop the higher level ofconsciousness(Brown,2011).In other words, the nurse assists the patients or those whom theycare to understand the disease process,for instance, pathology, disease progression, disease recovery andprevention of disease.

Besides,Newman clarifies the interrelatedness of space, movement,and time. To her, space and time are individuals’ temporal patternboth have a correspondingrelationship(Brown,2011).People arecontinuouslychanging through time and space. Thisregularly showsthe uniquedesignof reality.


Thetheorist Margret Newman was a home economist. She felt the call fornursing some years before joining the nursingfield. At this time, she became a primary nurse for her mother,ailing from Lou Gehrig`s disease(Alligood,2011).Entering the nursing school later in Tennessee, she knew that nursingwas the right profession for her. She was a student of Martha Rogers,who they workedtogether.Martha Rodgers’ inspiration her work is evident throughout herwork. Her work is,therefore,a reflection of what she went through earlier. Most of the scholarsargue that the way her mother wastreatedinspired her to be a nurse in order to serve others.

Newmandevelops her model from Rogers’ theory of unitary humanbeings(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994).&nbspAccordingto Rogers, patterning of persons in the interfacewith the environment is aprimaryview of consciousness being a manifestation of an evolving pattern ofperson-environment interaction. She holds that health and illness aremanifestations of rhythmic fluctuations of the processof life(Endo,2004).Thisformsthe basis of viewing health and diseaseas a unitary process. Therefore, health is evolving and so is thepattern of consciousness.

Newmansupports her theory from many other theorists. First is Bohm’stheory of reality as undivided wholeness(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994)..Thissupportsthe view that health and illness as a unitary process. Newman usesthis perspective to consider a disease as a manifestation of thetotality of the underlying pattern rather than a separate entity.Thisisbecause illness or wellness refers to different viewpoints of a muchlarger reality whose separation from the whole isfragmentary(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994)..

Theunitary phenomenon extends to the life of expanding consciousness.Linking this theory to that of Bentov that explores consciousness asthe informational capacity of the system seen in the quality ofinteraction of the humansystem(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994).Giventhat, human systemfluctuates orderly, the occurrence of a disruptive event like adisease, makes the system to move randomly and disorderly until itfinds a new direction of a higher level of organization.Therefore, aperson moves through phases of consciousness that involve loss offreedom in the development of self-identity until that person reachesa turning point when the old system will not work anymore(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994)..This leavesthe task of the body to identify the new system to move to that formthe new conscious levels that are higher than the rather.

Theparadigm shift in this theory,therefore,is on the perception of the patients. For one to perceive health asthe pattern of the totality, they need to view disease notas a different entity but as amanifestation of the evolving pattern of person-environmentinteraction. Thismeansthat there should be a shift from treatment of mere symptoms to theidentificationof patterns from which to view a disease as disruption(Vandemark,2006).Therefore,they should be considereda part of the self-organizing process that will lead to higherconsciousness.Besides, the shift from seeingthe nursing role as meeting the problems caused by these diseasesrather enabling them be in touch with their patterns of expandingconsciousness.

Thisisa grand theory in nursing for various reasons. It emphasizes the needof not to divide people into parts but rather treat them as awhole(Brown,2011).Inthis theory, the healthof the individuals is central. This theory has a demonstration of aprocess of a creating awareness of the individual self and theperson`s environment. As Newman states, consciousness is amanifestationof an evolving pattern of person-environment interaction(Brown,2011).Thismakesthis theory beneficial, as its application is universal in anysetting. Besides, it generates a caring intervention. However, it hasthe setbacks based on the abstract, qualitative andmulti-dimensionality(Alligood,2011).Besides, this model discusses very little inthe environment.


MargretNewman’s theory is very useful to nursing today in the managementof chronically ill patients. For this patients,one can learn that each day is important and that the time ofan individual’s life iscontainedin the present. This model is essentialin fighting the stigma associated with such chronicillness(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994).For this individual having a disease does not make a person unhealthy. The experience ofhealth and wholenessis in the midstof having a chronic and progressive disease(Yamashita&amp Tall, 1998).

Besides,this approachemphasizes the need for nurses to identify creative ways to givepatient care(Brown,2011 Endo, 2004 Lamendola &amp Newman, 1994).Thisshouldholistically encompass the totality of a person,not just a body part or system (Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994).They should emphasize this at every opportunity. Thisisbecause health is not the opposite of illness, but health and diseaseare both manifestations of a greater whole.

Thetheory of healthas expanding consciousness appliesto the nursing today given the increased emphasis on continued carebased on outpatient. Even if in this case help can be given from offwithout the hospital this method requires increased empowerment andsocial support(Lamendola&amp Newman, 1994)

Inher theory, Newman shows the necessity of associating practice withtheory. She points out in her theory the need for the caregivers toembrace a new vision of health(Endo, 2004). The care given needslinkage with a concept of health, which encompasses and goes outsidedisease context(Endo, 2004). Although this model can be challengingand abstract to grasp, it has one main strength. It addresses thepatient and their choices experiences and state of healthas a whole(Endo,2004)

Newman’stheory of health as expanding consciousness demonstrates semanticclarity. In the model, the terms have aprecisedefinition as used. Besides, there are vivid descriptions of conceptsto full dimensions(Smith,2011).There is content simplicity as the deeper meaning of the theory isclear. Owing to the complexity of the theory,the theorist isolates concepts that ensure that the nurses comprehendnot only the term but also thetheory (Brown,2011).Even though the application of the theoryhas not beentodifferent cultures,it has application in different care situations(Yamashita&amp Tall, 1998).Finally, concerning empirical precision, the quantitative methodsdemonstrates to be inadequate in capturing the changing and dynamic,nature of this theory(Brown,2011).Despite this, this theory qualifies both the operationalized andtraditional scientific mode test. ThismakesNewman’s theory provide an evolving direction for all healthdisciplines(Alligood,2011).

Indeed,this theory fitsthe nursing of today. Isolating parts of the individualis no longer necessary and both the people in today’s world need toembrace this idea. It is hard to provide care to a humanbeing in their separate individual entity. Therefore, nursing peoplewhether they are sick or health forms the basis of care anywhere inthe world. Thismakesthis theory applicable tonursing care.


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Lamendola,F. P., &amp Newman, M. A. (1994). The paradox of HIV/AIDS asexpanding consciousness.ANS. Advances inNursing Science, 16(3),13–21.

Smith,M. C. (2011). An integrative review of research related to MargaretNewman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness.NursingScience Quarterly, 24(3),256–272. doi:10.1177/0894318411409421

Vandemark,L. M. (2006). Awareness of self and expanding consciousness: usingnursing theories to prepare nurse-therapists.Issuesin Mental Health Nursing, 27(6),605–615. doi:10.1080/01612840600642885

Yamashita,M., &amp Tall, F. D. (1998). A commentary on Newman’s theory ofhealth as expanding consciousness. ANS.Advances in Nursing Science, 21(1),65–75. doi:10.1177/0894318411409437