Nursing: Human Becoming Theory by Rosemarie Parse

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse is the author of the theory of human becoming that aims to guide nurses and make them focus on patient living quality. Human experience is characterized by the presence of reverence and betrayal, awe and shame, respect and pride (Parse, 2016). The task is not to make a right choice but to save human qualities despite the existing pain, ethical controversies, and challenges (Kim, Han, & Kim, 2015). The chosen theory helps develop an understanding of the quality of life through the prism of each person’s attitude. It evolved over time, developing from a nursing theory to the school of thought and then to the paradigm (Bournes, Bunkers, & Mitchell, 2018). It helps to place nursing somewhere between human sciences and natural sciences. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the main aspects of humanbecoming in nursing and investigate how helpful the ideas of Parse can be in modern nursing practice.

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According to the chosen theory, the presence of a human in this world is defined as a personal issue. It means that people are free to choose their own meanings, the ways of thinking, and the methods of acting. According to Parse (2015), the human universe remains an unpredictable and constantly changing factor that determines the quality of nursing and health care. People cannot stop thinking about their needs and choose available options. I believe that this theory is a unique approach to understanding nursing in today’s life. However, regarding a variety of people and their cultural or social diversity, this theory is not as easy for utilization in actual practice as it seems to be. Many complicated terms and multiple concepts make this theory hard to apply. It may be effective for learning purposes and the creation of guidelines from the theoretical point of new. However, in practice, nurses may understand the need to assist patients in interaction with the environment, but not realize what steps should be taken.

For example, there is a situation when a patient is afraid to agree on surgery and use general anesthesia because of her father who died several years ago because of poorly chosen anesthesia. A nurse can use one of the principles taken from the paradigm and explain the idea of contranscending with possibilities (Bournes et al., 2018; Lins et al., 2013). The nurse should underline that people have a tendency to change and unfold in life. They can choose and consider their own ways. The task of the nurse is not to make the patient accept surgery but to help this person look at the situation from another perspective, regarding its natural science and human science perspectives. When a person is pushed to do something, positive results can hardly be achieved. Sharing personal experience, underlying options, and discussing the progress are the priorities that should be established.

In general, the theory of human becoming provokes doubtful feelings and attitudes. Due to its complex nature and multiple principles, an ordinary nurse is not able to understand its essence from the beginning. Some time and research may be required to get an idea of how to benefit from this theory. However, as soon as the basic rules and paradigms are clarified, new approaches to cooperation between nurses and patients may be identified. A person may just need some space to make a final decision, and Parse’s theory aims at giving this space to all patients regardless of their age, gender, and ethnicity.


Bournes, D. A., Bunkers, S. S., & Mitchell, G. J. (2018). Rosemarie Rizzo Parse: Humabecoming. In M. R. Alligood (Ed.), Nursing theorists and their work (9th ed.) (pp. 375-397). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.

Kim, K., Han, Y., & Kim, J. S. (2015). Korean nurses’ ethical dilemmas, professional values and professional quality of life. Nursing Ethics, 22(4), 467-478.

Lins, G. A. I., Armendaris, M. K., Pinho, D. L. M., Kamada, I., Jesus, C. A. C. D., & Reis, P. E. D. D. (2013). Theory of human becoming in nursing ecology: Applying Meleis´s evaluation method. Texto & Contexto-Enfermagem, 22(4), 1179-1186.

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Parse, R. R. (2015). Rosemarie Rizzo Parse’s humanbecoming paradigm. In M. C. Smith & M. E. Parker (Eds.), Nursing theories and nursing practice (4th ed.) (pp. 263-278). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.

Parse, R. R. (2016). Humanbecoming hermeneutic sciencing: Reverence, awe, betrayal, and shame in the lives of others. Nursing Science Quarterly, 29(2), 128-135.

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