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Adaptation Model-Based Patient Education


A theoretical framework is vital for every profession because it describes relevant concepts and ensures an understanding of the most critical topics, providing a background for practice. A nursing theory, in this way, discusses those concepts and assumptions that explain phenomena and interrelationships between different aims. It also consists of definitions, models, and assumed statements. Nursing theories are developed in an either deductive or inductive way, which provides professionals with an opportunity to find out not only particular outcomes and consequences but also predictors and risks. In this way, control of practice can be maintained.

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Even though all nursing theories are focused on several main concepts, the most critical one is a person, because the very purpose of this sphere is to improve people’s well-being. To reach it, nursing professionals apply theories in practice, selecting those that meet their needs better than others and are aligned with their personal views and beliefs. Being discussed as a whole, nursing theories usually resort to one of the most generalized processes. They can deal with general systems, adaptation, and development.

Adaptation theory, for instance, discusses how people adjust to new things, conditions, and environments. This process is maintained on three levels. It focuses on a person’s self, society, and biochemical reactions. Roy’s adaptation model is the most prominent representative of nursing theories in this perspective. It emphasizes the nurse’s role as a driver for change that assists patients in adapting to their health condition (Punjani, 2013). This paper will provide evidence to prove the importance of this theory, discuss its peculiarities, and provide examples of application in practice.

Importance of Nursing Theory

Roy’s adaptation model is important for the nursing profession because it can serve as a guideline for nurses on how to work with those patients who face the necessity to adapt to alteration in their physiological needs and related concepts.

Nurses get acquainted with appropriate theoretical concepts during their education. However, it is vital to pay much attention to them in the framework of a master’s program, in particular. During this period of education, nursing students are already aware of the most basic information related to nursing theories. In addition to that, they start paying much attention to practice, which provides them with an opportunity to point out those areas they find to be the most challenging. Receiving a chance to realize how to work with patients and what goes wrong, they can try to align their actions with nursing theories to assist their clients.

The adaptation model, in this way, is extremely useful because it describes how to help patients during health and illness. It improves nurses’ performance in the role of patients’ advocates. Unlike other health professionals, they receive an opportunity to help patients cope with their everyday activities themselves. Nurses seem to be educators and coaches who assess their client’s situation, make a conclusion regarding the main issues, set goals for improvement, and implement an intervention that is based on a patient, his/her perceptions and views.

Nurses do not only evaluate their client’s condition and treat existing health problems. They do their best to ensure that a patient can live one’s life to the fullest, remaining as independent as possible, and accepting even adverse things instead of being frustrated and feeling like a burden (Zhang, 2013). However, it is complicated to point out the indicators of positive adaptation. Nurses develop their interventions based on their concerns but not the very nursing diagnosis, which evaluates results more complicated.

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Summary of Roy’s Adaptation Theory

The basis for Callista Roy’s adaptation model was developed when she was a student. Being challenged by another theorist, it soon was improved and turned into a nursing theory in 1968. The first application of this model was maintained two years later along with its literature debut. Finally, it was presented in 1977 to the whole nursing community.

Adaptation is the main concept of this theory as it is treated as the main purpose of nursing. Being properly maintained, it is seen as a positive response to environmental changes. What is more, it appears to be both the process and the outcome of human and environmental integration. In its focus is conscious awareness, self-reflection, and a possibility to make choices (Isbir & Mete, 2013).

In the framework of Roy’s theory, a patient is discussed as an adaptive system that interchanges with the environment. It is also one’s a health and environment, including family, community, and even the whole society. The environment deals with all conditions and influences that reach a person. It is an element that affects his/her development and behavior. In this framework, an alteration is a stimulus that leads to adaptive responses. Health turns into a process of achieving all possible potential and the outcome of the adaptation, while nursing is to improve the connection between a person and his/her environment with the purpose of adaptation promotion.

The adaptation model is vital for nurse practitioners that is why it should be used within the student’s selected master’s track. People who come to healthcare facilities face various issues related to the condition of their health. After the consultation with a physician, they are diagnosed with a particular illness and treated. In some cases, a client cannot improve his/her condition and has to learn to live in a new way. In other cases, enhancement is achievable, but temporary changes are needed, such as dieting or medication intake. Anyway, a patient faces a necessity to adapt to a new lifestyle. Lack of knowledge and unwillingness to quit habits makes it difficult for him/her to accept changes and follow them. That is why it is significant for nurses to interfere in this process and guide a patient through the process of adaptation so that he/she can live life to the fullest.

Application of Adaptation Theory to Nursing Practice

In her theory, Roy presupposed that a nurse practitioner is supposed to be a driving force that helps clients to adapt to new things, environments, and conditions. Thus, a professional is not supposed to implement any changes him/herself. The purpose is to assist a patient and make him/her the main executor of all actions maintained in response to changes. A nurse practitioner promotes this process and ensures that a client does not lose the right track. He/she does not educate a person directly but provides recommendations considering the further steps so that a patient has an opportunity to reject them and is not forced to conduct those actions he/she consider to be inappropriate. Still, if a nurse believes them to be critical, he/she should try to provide enough rationale and evidence to make a person change this belief.

The adaptation model can be used as a guide for nursing professionals. It allows them to assess the level of adaptation, identify issues, examine influences made on them, and develop a plan to promote adaptation. For example, this adaptation model can be used to help those patients who need to adjust to chronic renal disease and hemodialysis treatment that is associated with it. In this case, the nursing theory is used as a basis for patient education. Nursing professionals pay attention to the response of both regulators and cognate subsystems of the coping process. Based on their research, Afrasiabifar, Karimi, and Hassani (2013) claim that Roy’s model allows to “improve illness perception, support self-care behaviors and help acquire skills to deal with the chronic nature of renal disease” (p. 568).

Nursing education enhances physiological adaptation, as patients obtain disease-related information and explanation of why it is critical to adhere to medicines. The focus is made on empowering and self-care so that clients get to know how they can remain independent and avoid becoming a burden to their families. Effective support and cooperation with families turn out to be extremely important. Researchers reveal that adaptation theory allows to reduce suicidal cases and avoid social isolation. Effective support provided by nursing professionals is advantageous in physiologic and self-concept modes. Reported outcomes of groups who were educated based on adaptation theory are better than those revealed by patients who received a usual education.

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Another example of successful implementation of Roy’s model is presented by Causevic and Ramsak (2014). Professionals used an adaptation model to help patients who have cancer, as this illness affects their well-being, ability to maintain routine actions, and independence. The researchers focus on patients’ physical and psychological conditions and investigate how nurses can benefit their clients even though they are not likely to get better. They concluded that “by providing psychosocial support and information nurses can improve the quality of life and help the chronically ill patients and their families to cope with the changed daily life patterns and management of pain” (Causevic & Ramsak, 2014, p.1). In this way, the discussed nursing theory provides professionals with an opportunity to alter clients’ perceptions of their health condition and give them the strength to live their lives to the maximum potential instead of yielding to frustration.


Thus, it can be concluded that Roy’s adaptation model is one of the most vital nursing theories. In its framework, professionals pay more attention to patients’ condition and do their best not to treat but to support them regardless of the disease severity. Nurses support their clients promoting adaptation to any change that is needed to enhance their well-being. They provide health education and counseling to make patients realize all peculiarities of their condition and then provide recommendations for them to adapt to alterations and live their lives to the fullest in a new way. The adaptation model is based on stimuli and responses to them. That is why it requires the maintenance of assessment of the client’s condition and identification of expected goals.

Due to this assignment, I managed to deepen my knowledge of nursing theory and its application in practice. I realized that nursing professionals should not only focus on nursing diagnosis when treating a client but also think of some concerns related to his/her condition. What is more, I realized the importance of a facilitator’s role. Even when professionals do not implement changes themselves, they can assist their patients in this process, providing them with an opportunity to cope with all difficulties caused by their health issues.


Afrasiabifar, A., Karimi, Z., & Hassani, P. (2013). Roy’s adaptation model-based patient education for promoting the adaptation of hemodialysis patients. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 15(7), 566-572.

Causevic, M., & Ramsak, J. (2014). Application of Roy’s adaptation model in cancer patient with chronic pain. Obzornik Zdravstvene Nege, 48(1), 40-49.

Isbir, G., & Mete, S. (2013). Experiences with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy in Turkish women based on Roy adaptation model: A Content Analysis. Asian Nursing Research, 7(4), 175-181.

Punjani, N. (2013). Comparison and contrast of Orem’s self-care theory and Roy’s adaptation model. i-Manager’s Journal on Nursing, 3(1), 1-5.

Zhang, W. (2013). Older adults making end of life decisions: An application of Roy’s adaptation model. Journal of Aging Research, 2013, 1-8.

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