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Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain’s Adaptation Theory


The idea of adaptation is presented in many nursing theories and aims at describing the patients’ prospects of decision-making and self-managing various health problems. However, this concept was initiated by Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain (2005) in their modeling and role modeling theory.

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Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain’s Adaptation Theory

The fundamental purposes of this theory are creating a trusting relationship between nurses and patients, encouraging the patients’ control, promoting the customers’ positive disposition, ensuring and developing patients’ strengths, and establishing health-oriented objectives (Erickson et al., 2005). In modeling and role modeling theory, special prominence is given to adaptation. According to the theory’s authors, adaptation is a continuous interactive measure of management which incorporates stressors, tension, and the capability of organizing the resources (Erickson et al., 2005). The scholars proposed an assessment model of adaptive potential which allows to determine a person’s capacity of collecting the resources. Within this model, the following states are considered crucial: the state of deficiency, the state of activation, and the state of equilibrium (Erickson et al., 2005). The stress resources may be internal as well as external. Activation (or arousal) expresses anxiety and worry. Equilibrium is a comparatively fixed condition of balance and may be either adjusted or maladjusted. Adjustment is a positive state, while maladjustment is a negative one. In this condition, a patient manages the stress catalyst purely by means of consuming energy from other subsystems (Erickson et al., 2005). Deficiency (or impoverishment) is defined as a condition in which the patient’s resources are declined or exhausted.

Callista Roy’s Interpretation of Adaptation

One of the theorists who pay attention to the significance of adaptation covered during our course is Callista Roy (“Roy’s adaptation model,” 2012). This scholar considers adaptation a goal of nursing. Roy defines adaptation as a positive reaction to the changes in the environment (“Roy’s adaptation model,” 2012). The author identifies four adaptation systems: self-concept, physiologic demands, role behavior, and interrelation. According to Roy, adaptation is the process and result of the people’ application of conscious perception, self-consideration, and preferences with the aim of building interpersonal and environmental unification (“Roy’s adaptation model,” 2012).

Roy sees the basic goal of nursing in the promotion of adaptation for individual people and groups of individuals in the four adaptive modes delineated by her (“Roy’s adaptation model,” 2012). In this way, according to the scholar, nurses will strengthen people’s quality of life, their health, and dignified death. The nurses will reach this aim by evaluating the factors and behaviors which have an impact on patients’ adaptive capabilities and by trying to improve the interaction with the environmental factors (“Roy’s adaptation model,” 2012).

Different scholars suggest various models of adaptation, but their core assumption is common: this process helps to improve the patients’ health condition and aims at promoting their self-management abilities.

My Personal Transition Experience

The most crucial transition which I experienced in my life was entering a medical college. Although it had been a dream of my whole life, I had some difficulties while accommodation to college life and getting acquainted with a lot of people. Additionally, some subjects seemed too complicated at the beginning, and I started thinking that I might fail. However, soon I learned how to adapt to the new environment. I acquired new friends, and after spending some extra time on studying, I realized that I was quite capable of coping with it. The perceptions of my adaptation facilitated toward achieving a healthy transition.


The issues of transition and adaptation are rather crucial in nursing. These notions have been discussed by many scholars and professional nurses. Coping with adaptation and transition peculiarities delineates the nurses’ abilities to provide their patients with the best healthcare outcomes.

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Erickson, H., Tomlin, E. & Swain, M. (2005). Modeling and role-modeling: A theory and paradigm for nursing (8th ed.). Cedar Park, TX: EST Company.

Roy’s adaptation model (2012). Web.

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