Neuman’s theory of “health as expanding consciousness” has been widely used by nurses and caregivers across the world. It is evident that Margaret Neuman is one of the greatest theorists who have contributed a lot to the field of nursing. Margaret developed the theory from the idea that “human health is the absence of pathogens, diseases, or disabilities”. According to Margaret, “it is usually impossible to eliminate all diseases and disabilities”. That being the case, Neuman believes that “all persons could be healthy regardless of the absence or presence of a disease”. The theory stipulates that all persons are part of a wider process aimed at expanding human consciousness regardless of their situations. The theory encourages people to become aware of their health and find a new meaning in their lives. This is eventually what helps them connect with the world and people around them.
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Margaret’s theory views health as “the ability to attain consciousness as a unitary being”. This means that individuals with disabilities or diseases can attain this kind of consciousness and health status. The theory disregards the notion that “health is the absence of disease”. According to the theory, it is impossible to have a “complete” absence of disease. The theory goes further to explain how human suffering and physical deterioration are common in the presence of a disease. A person suffering from a certain disease might be undergoing deterioration, the caregiver should always the person expand his/her consciousness. The process will make people conscious and subsequently make it easier for them to find greater meaning in their lives. The theory can help people connect with the outside world and people in their surroundings.
According to the theory, “suffering is a way of manifestation through which an individual’s paternalistic system is portrayed”. Pathological conditions and deterioration are essential because they manifest the “total pattern” of an individual. According to the theory, removing a disease (or suffering) from the body will not change the “total pattern” of the individuals. It is therefore evident that “human suffering or physical deterioration plays a huge role in the manifestation of people’s patterns”. This constitutes the health of such individuals. The theorist goes further to consider health as the expansion of human consciousness.
From the above description, it is notable that Martha Rogers influenced Margaret towards the development of her theory. Martha’s theory of “Unitary Beings” views humans as unitary elements. This explains why they are inseparable into different parts. Humans have unitary fields that form ‘open systems’ with the environment. The unitary system, according to Rogers, is what dictates human experiences and health. That being the case, nursing is a partnership between the client and the nurse. The partnership should promote new levels of human consciousness. It is agreeable that Rogers greatly influenced Neuman’s views on nursing. Neuman used the idea of “unitary beings” to come up with the theory “health as expanding human consciousness”.
Rogers considers human beings as part of the unitary system. Such individuals have dynamic fields that are facilitated by the environment. Both environmental and human fields are always exchanging their energies. According to the theory, human beings undergo different stages through which they exchange their energies with the environment. Such sequential stages begin from birth to death thus promoting the relationship. Rogers considers death as the “extreme condition” whereby the policy between the environment and the human system is unable to maintain the life process. In conclusion, Rogers’ theory of “Science of Unitary Beings” inspired Margaret Neuman to come up with her famous theory of “health as expanding consciousness”.