The Theory of Health as Expanding Human Consciousness. Margaret Newman's Contribution to Nursing Theory and Practice

Scientific Essay, 2016

8 Pages





Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness

Contributions of Newman to the field of nursing

Applications of the Theory to Nursing

Influence of Margaret on My Personal / Professional Life




A nursing theory is a name that refers to a body of knowledge that is utilized in supporting nursing. It is also a framework for knowledge that is organized and it describes various nursing phenomena at a specific and concrete level. It consists of sets of concepts, relationships, definitions, prepositions, and definitions that are borrowed from models of nursing. In this assignment, we are going focus on the theory of Margaret Newman, its impacts and influence in the current field of nursing and its applications in the various clinical setting. We will check the background of the nurse theorist and her contribution to the nursing field.


Margaret Newman is a nursing theorist who is recognized for the Theory of Health Expanding Human Consciousness. She was born in the year 1933 in Memphis Tennessee. She was raised in a Christian family because she was brought up in Baptist church where her mother was working as a secretary. Being brought in a Christian setting environment, it motivated her to join the missionary service later in her life. While in the mission, she realized that she was in no position to help people spiritually without taking care of them physically. She remembered that she had a nursing student roommate in her college, and she thought of taking that path for herself so that she could go back and help the people physical needs. She returned home after receiving news that her mother was ill. Her mother was suffering from chronic irreversible health condition which was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She decided to take care of her mother and become her primary care giver (Newman, 1990). It’s during that time that she realized that being diagnosed with a chronic disease does not make one unhealthy. She was so much convinced that her mother could still experience healthiness despite being diagnosed with the disease. She was able to formulate the condition of her mother as being confined rather than being defined by it.

She also discovered that during the entire hardship process of the disease of nursing her mother, she also started experiencing the same symptoms and alterations in movement, time, consciousness and space (Fawcett et al., 2012). She developed great connectedness towards her mother, and they knew each other a deeper and a better way than the earlier times. This is the experience that motivated her to go back to school and study nursing to help others like her mother. Expanding consciousness theory was introduced as a nursing theory in the late 1970s. This theory was developed through the study of its application cancer and cardiac disease between 1986 and 1997(Newman, 1990). The theory has evolved in the year 2010 to include the health of all people regardless of whether they have a disease or not (Newman, 1990; Fawcett., 2012).

Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness

The theory of health expanding consciousness came from Rogers’ theory of unitary human beings. The assumption of Rogers regarding the interaction of individuals with their environment is used as a basis of consciousness being a manifestation of patterns evolving from the environment-person relationship. Margaret defines consciousness as an informational capacity of the system (human being) that is, the system ability to interact with the surrounding (Fawcett et al., 2012). Consciousness includes both the cognitive and the effective awareness that is usually related to consciousness and the interconnectedness of the whole living system. The information pattern which is the consciousness system is the larger part that is not a divided pattern of an expanding world.

She claims that each individual in every situation, regardless of how hopeless or disordered it may seem, takes part in the process of expanding the consciousness universally which is a process of one becoming oneself and discovering greater life meanings, and reaching new dimensions of connectedness with other individuals and the universe.

Contributions of Newman to the field of nursing

She was a trained nurse who assisted patients to recover and maintain their health. She was a lecturer in Minnesota University, and she taught nursing students from diverse backgrounds, and since she is role models, many nursing students have borrowed from her. She was the first to come up with the theory of health as expanding consciousness which was officially introduced as a nursing theory in the 1970s (Alligood, 2013). Her theory is of great use in the modern nursing profession because nurses and patients are using it today. She applied her nursing theory to help give better care to her patients (Butts et al., 2013).


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The Theory of Health as Expanding Human Consciousness. Margaret Newman's Contribution to Nursing Theory and Practice
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Fain Ayiera (Author), 2016, The Theory of Health as Expanding Human Consciousness. Margaret Newman's Contribution to Nursing Theory and Practice, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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