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Neuman Systems Model and Evidence-Based Support


There are many theories in nursing that allow practitioners to develop versatile approaches to different problems and solve them creatively by means of targeting elements and aspects deemed the most important for the problems. The purpose of this paper is to overview one selected nursing theory and then to discuss it in relation to the chosen clinical problem – elderly care involving patient education and physical therapy or exercise employed in order to prevent falls.

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Theory Identification

The nursing theory selected for this paper is the Neuman Systems Model. This theory was created by Betty Neuman, an outstanding nursing practitioner, and theorist who also specialized in mental health and clinical psychology. The theory was first introduced and published in the 1970s. The Neuman Systems Model is focused on the provision of holistic care based on a flexible nursing perspective that relies on systems thinking. According to the perspective that underlies the Neuman Systems Model, patients are viewed as present in an ongoing interaction with numerous factors and forces that comprise their environments. As a result, all the health problems are seen as resulting from a combination of impacts that come from internal and external drivers and need to be addressed by means of introducing changes into the patient’s environment, as well as their inner perceptions of personal health and wellbeing.

The major concepts of the Neuman Systems Model are human beings, environment, wellness, illness, and nursing. A human being is recognized as a system that openly interacts with multiple stressors coming from its external and internal environments (“The Neuman Systems Model,” 2011). A human being is viewed as a changeable and living in a constant movement and development of needs. As a result, the satisfaction of these needs leads to or lack thereof leads to wellness and illness respectively. In turn, the concept of the environment represents the driving forces and impacts that interact with the human being producing various effects of positive and negative nature (“The Neuman Systems Model,” 2011). Finally, when it comes to nursing, according to the Neuman Systems Model, its main role is to help the systems of the patient and their environments to come to alignment and adjust to one another for the purpose of the satisfaction of the patient’s needs whose neglect has created the state of illness.

Evidence-based Research That Supports the Theory

In research using the Neuman Systems Model as the major theoretical framework, the authors usually employ the theory for the purpose of reviewing the environments in which the patients live and the series of factors that contribute to the development of their health problems. For example, Angosta, Ceria-Ulep, and Tse (2014) used the Neuman Systems Model for the purpose of developing a better understanding of the problem they researched – the high prevalence of coronary heart disease among Filipino Americans. This approach helped the researchers view the specificity of this problem for the population group as a result of the interaction of multiple environmental influences that boosted risk factors for coronary heart disease and put the Filipino community at risk. Also, Memmott, Marett, Bott, and Duke (2000) used the Neuman Systems Model as the basis for the formation of interdisciplinary teams. Such teams were designed to treat patients using the holistic approach and thus had to include the practitioners of different specializations.

Both groups of researchers provided evidence for the effectiveness and practical applicability of the Neuman Systems Model, as well as its flexibility and usefulness for patients coming from different environments. The work by Memmott et al. (2000) reflects how the theory was used at the onset of this century – as the basis for the formation of interdisciplinary teams. Today, apart from this use, the theory also helps nurses collect information about their patients that could potentially be interpreted as an explanation of the combination of factors that contribute to the current conditions of the patient.

The Predictions the Theory Makes about the Selected Problem

As it was mentioned in the introductory part of this paper, the problem selected for this review is the provision of sustainable elderly care involving patient education and physical theory or exercise as a way to prevent falls. The Neuman Systems Model has been used specifically for the provision of elderly care. As explained by Moore and Munro (1990) as various population groups age, they become more heterogeneous in regard to their needs and health problems; as a result, their internal and external environments begin to require new sets of adjustments. That is why the Neuman Systems Model is rather useful for the provision of elderly care that begins with a thorough exploration and analysis of a patient’s internal and external environments and factors that can contribute to the aggravation of health problems or their elimination.

In addition to the changing quality and quantity of needs that occur when people age, the Neuman Systems Model also predicts the need for education about the adjustments required for the older people to improve their quality of life and adjust to the new settings. In particular, Fawcett and Foust (2017) mentioned a concept of optimal aging where the older patients are educated about the new stressors they may face and the appropriate responses to them.

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In that way, the Neuman Systems Model provides a holistic approach to the processes that are involved in people’s aging and takes into consideration the needs and changing internal and external environments of older adults that may serve as stressors and disrupt the lives of the aging patients by adding to their confusion and stimulating unhealthy and harmful choices and behaviors.

Why the Proposed Change Project Will Alleviate the Selected Clinical Problem

Aging is a complicated process that in many cases comes along with multiple health problems, stressors, and confusion. The Neuman Systems Model is a nursing theory that offers a holistic perspective on the process of aging and allowing creating effective solutions that help the patients adjust to the changing internal and external environments and optimize their lifestyles in order to improve the quality of life. As proposed in the studies by Fawcett and Foust (2017) and Moore and Munro (1990), an aging individual requires education concerning their state of health and measures that need to be taken in order to adjust the mentality, as well as the external environments of the patients to their new sets of needs that came along with their age. The proposed change project is based on patient education that will serve as the basis of helping the learners understand their bodies and fulfill their own needs. Learning about the ways to cope with their health problems, as well as the factors that contribute to their development, the older adults will understand the importance of regular exercise and the need for physical therapy.


Angosta, A., Ceria-Ulep, C., & Tse, A. (2014). Care delivery for Filipino Americans using the Neuman Systems Model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 27(2), 142-148.

Fawcett, J., & Foust, J. (2017). Optimal aging: A Neuman Systems Model perspective. Nursing Science Quarterly, 30(3), 269-276.

Memmott, R. J., Marett, K. M., Bott, R. L., & Duke, L. (2000). Use of the Neuman Systems Model for interdisciplinary teams. Online Journal of Rural Nursing & Health Care, 1(2), 1-13.

Moore, S., & Munro, M. (1990). The Neuman System Model applied to the mental health nursing of older adults. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 15(3), 293-299.

The Neuman Systems Model. (2011). Web.

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