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Health As Expanding Consciousness

Margaret Newman

This page was last updated on November 14, 2011September 9, 2013td valign="top" class="bodyText">
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“Health is the expansion of consciousness.” - Newman, 1983

INTRODUCTION

  • The theory of health as expanding consciousness stems from Rogers' theory of unitary human beings. 

  • The theory of health as expanding consciousness was stimulated by concern for those for whom health as the absence of disease or disability is not possible, (Newman, 2010).

  • The theory has progressed to include the health of all persons regardless of the presence or absence of disease, (Newman, 2010).

  • The theory asserts that every person in every situation, no matter how disordered and hopeless it may seem, is part of the universal process of expanding consciousness – a process of becoming more of oneself, of finding greater meaning in life, and of reaching new dimensions of connectedness with other people and the world, (Newman, 2010).

BACHGROUND OF THE THEORIST

  • Born on October 10, 1933.
  • Bachelor’s degree - University of Tennessee in 1962
  • Master’s degree - University of California in 1964
  • Doctorate - New York University in 1971
  • She has worked in - University of Tennessee, New York University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Minnesotat, University of Minnesota
  • Link to her Biography

THEORY DEVELOPMENT

She was influenced by following theorists:

  • Martha Rogers
    • Martha Roger’s theory of Unitary Human Beings was the main basis of the development of her theory, Health as Expanding Consciousness
  • Itzhak  Bentov – The concept of evolution of consciousness
  • Arthur Young – The Theory of Process
  • David Bohm – The Theory of Implicate

ASSUMPTIONS

  1. Health encompasses conditions heretofore described as illness, or, in medical terms, pathology 
  2. These pathological conditions can be considered a manifestation of the total pattern of the individual
  3. The pattern of the individual that eventually manifests itself as pathology is primary and exists prior to structural or functional changes
  4. Removal of the pathology in itself will not change the pattern of the indivdual 
  5. If becoming ill is the only way an individual's pattern can manifest itself, then that is health for that person 
  6. Health is an expansion of consciousness. 

DESCRIPTION OF THE THEORY

  • “The theory of health as expanding consciousness (HEC) was stimulated by concern for those for whom health as the absence of disease or disability is not possible. Nurses often relate to such people: people facing the uncertainty, debilitation, loss and eventual death associated with chronic illness. The theory has progressed to include the health of all persons regardless of the presence or absence of disease. The theory asserts that every person in every situation, no matter how disordered and hopeless it may seem, is part of the universal process of expanding consciousness – a process of becoming more of oneself, of finding greater meaning in life, and of reaching new dimensions of connectedness with other people and the world” (Newman, 2010).

  • Humans are open to the whole energy system of the universe and constantly interacting with the energy. With this process of interaction humans are evolving their individual pattern of whole.

  • According to Newman understanding  the pattern is essential. The expanding consciousness is the pattern recognition.

  • The manifestation of disease depends on the pattern of individual so the pathology of the diseases exists before the symptoms appear so removal of disease symptoms does not change the individual structure.

  • Newman also redefines nursing according to  her nursing is the process of recognizing the individual in relation to environment and it is the process of understanding of consciousness.

  • The nurse helps to understand people to use the power within to develop the higher level of consciousness.

  • Thus it helps to realize the disease process, its recovery and prevention.

  • Newman also explains the interrelatedness of time, space and movement.

  • Time and space are the temporal pattern of the individual, both have complementary relationship.

  • Humans are constantly changing through time and space and it shows unique pattern of reality.

NURSING PARADIGMS

Health

  • “Health and illness are synthesized as health - the fusion on one state of being (disease) with its opposite (non-disease) results in what can be regarded as health”.

Nursing

  • Nursing is “caring in the human health experience”.
  • Nursing is seen as a partnership between the nurse and client, with both grow in the “sense of higher levels of consciousness”

Human

  • “The human is unitary, that is cannot be divided into parts, and is inseparable from the larger unitary field”
  • “Persons as individuals, and human beings as a species are identified by their patterns of consciousness”…
  • “The person does not possess consciousness-the person is consciousness”.
  • Persons are  “centers of consciousness” within an overall pattern of expanding consciousness” 

Environment

  • Environment is described as a “universe of open systems”

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

Strengths

  • Can be applied in any setting
  • “Generates caring interventions”
W eaknesses
  • Abstract
  • Multi-dimensional
  • Qualitative
  • Little discussion on environment

CRITIQUE

Clarity

  • Semantic clarity is evident in the definitions, descriptions, and dimensions of the concepts of the theory. 

Simplicity 

  • The deeper meaning of the theory of health as expending consciousness is complex.
  • The theory as a whole must be understood, nut just the isolated concepts. 

Generality

  • The theory has been applied in several different cultures
  • It is applicable across the spectrum of nursing care situations.

Empirical Precision 

  • Quantitative methods are inadequate in capturing the dynamic, changing nature of this theory.

Derivable Consequences

  • Newman's theory provides an evolving guide for all health-related disciplines.

CONCLUSION

Newman's theory can be conceptualized as

  • A grand theory of nursing
  • Humans can not be divided into parts
  • Health is central to the theory  and is seen “and is seen as a process of developing awareness of self and the environment”
  • “Consciousness is a manifestation of an evolving pattern of person-environment interaction”

PUBLICATIONS & REFERENCES

  1. Newman, M. A. (1972). Nursing's theoretical evolution. Nursing Outlook, 20(5), 449-453.
  2. Newman, M.A. (1979). Theory development in nursing. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.
  3. Newman, M. A. (1982). Time as an index of expanding consciousness with age. Nursing Research, 31(5), 290-293.
  4. Newman, M. A. (1984). Nursing diagnosis: Looking at the whole. American Journal of Nursing, 84(12), 1496-1499.
  5. Newman, M.A. (1986). Health as Expanding Consciousness. St. Louis: Mosby.
  6. Newman, M. A. (1987). Aging as increasing complexity. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 13(9), 16-18.
  7. Newman, M.A. (1990). Newman's theory of health as praxis. Nursing Science Quarterly, 3(1), 37-41
  8. Newman, M. A. (1990). Toward an integrative model of professional practice. Journal of Professional Nursing, 6(3), 167-173.
  9. Newman, M. A., Lamb, G. S., & Michaels, C. (1991). Nurse case management: The coming together of theory and practice. Nursing & Health Care, 12(8), 404-408.
  10. Newman, M. A., Sime, A. M., & Corcoran-Perry, S. A. (1991). The focus of the discipline of nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 14(1), 1-6.
  11. Newman, M. A. (1992). Prevailing paradigms in nursing. Nursing Outlook, 40(1), 10-14.
  12. Newman, M. A. (1994). Health expanding consciousness (2nd ed.). New York: National League for Nursing.
  13. Newman, M.A. (1994). Theory for nursing practice. Nursing Science Quarterly, 7(4), 153-157.
  14. Newman, M. A. (1995). A developing discipline: Selected works of Margaret Newman.New York: National League for Nursing.
  15. Newman, M. A. (1997). Experiencing the whole. Advances in Nursing Science, 20(1), 34-39.
  16. Newman, M. A. (1997). Evolution of the theory of health as expanding consciousness.Nursing Science Quarterly, 10(1), 22-25.
  17. Newman, M. A. (1999). The rhythm of relating in a paradigm of wholeness. Image:Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 31(3), 227-230.
  18. Newman, M. A. (2002). Caring in the human health experience. International Journal for Human Caring. 6(2), 8-12.
  19. Newman, M. A. (2002). The pattern that connects. Advances in Nursing Science, 24(3), 1-7.
  20. Newman, M. A. (2003). A world of no boundaries. Advances in Nursing Science, 26(4), 240-245.
  21. Newman, M. A. (2008).  It's about time. Nursing Science Quarterly, 21(3). 225-227. 
  22. Newman, M. A. (2008). Transforming Presence/ The Difference That Nursing Makes.  Philadelphia: F. A. Davis. 
  23. Newman, M. (2010). Health as expanding consciousness. Retrieved on November 13, 2010, from health as expanding consciousness: http://www.healthasexpandingconsciousness.org/home/
 

 

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