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 Martha Elizabeth Rogers


 Eldest of four children of Bruce Taylor Rogers and Lucy Mulholland Keener Rogers
 Born May 12, 1914 in Dallas, Texas. After birth, her family moved to Knoxville, Tennessee
 She began her college education at the University of Tennessee studying Science from
 Received her Nursing diploma from Knoxville General Hospital School of Nursing (1936)
 Received a Bachelor Degree of Science from George Peabody College in Nashville,
Tennessee (1937)
 Other degrees:
o MA in Public Health Nursing supervision from Teachers College, Columbia University,
New York (1945)
o Masters in Public Health, MPH (1952) and Doctor of Science, ScD (1954) both from
John Hopkins University in Baltimore with her dissertation entitled: “The association
of maternal and fetal factors with the development of behavior problems among
elementary school children.
 Rogers aspired to contribute to the social welfare in the Medical or Law field. However,
women in these positions were undesirable.
 Died at the age of 79 (1994)

Career and Appointments

 Worked as a Public Health Nursing at the Children’s Fund of Michigan

 Professor and head of nursing division at New York 1954-1975
 Edited nursing journal Nursing Science in 1963
 Professor Emerita in 1979
 Published 200 articles and 3 books
 American Nurses Association Hall of Fame inductee in 1996


 Man is a unified whole processing integrity and manifesting characteristics that are
more than and different from the sum of his parts.
 Man and environment are continuously exchanging matter and energy with one
 The life process evolves irreversibly and unidirectionally along the space-time
 Pattern and organization identify man and reflect his innovative wholeness
 Man is characterized by the capacity for abstraction and imagery, language and
thought, sensation, and emotion

In 1990, Rogers revised the term man to human being to coincide with the request for gender-
neutral language in the social science and nursing science.

 The unitary human being and the environment are the focus of nursing practice
 The Central Concepts of Roger’s Science of Unitary Human Beings
o Human-unitary human beings
o Health
o Nursing
o Environmental Field
o Openness
o Pandimensional
o Pattern

Table 9-1 Central Concepts of Rogers’ Science of Unitary Human Beings

Concept Definition
Human-unitary “Irreducible, indivisible, multidimensional energy fields
human beings identified by pattern and manifesting characteristics that
are specific to the whole and which cannot be predicted
from the knowledge of parts”
Health “Unitary human health signifies an irreducible human field
manifestation. It cannot be measured by the parameters of
Biology or physics or of the social sciences”
Nursing The study of unitary, irreducible, indivisible human and
environmental fields: people and their world”

Nursing is a learned profession that is both a science and an

Environmental Field “An irreducible, indivisible, pandimensional energy field
identified by pattern and integral with the human field”
Energy Field “The fundamental unit of living and the non-living. Field is a
unifying concept. Energy signifies the dynamic nature of the
field; a field is in continuous motion and is infinite”
Openness “Refers to qualities exhibited by open systems; human
beings and their environment are open systems.”
Pandimensional “A nonlinear domain without spatial or temporal attributes”
Pattern “The distinguishing characteristic of an energy field
perceived as a single wave”
 Other components of the model which were basis for her work were:
o Resonancy is continuous change from lower to higher frequency wave
patterns in human and environmental fields
o Helicy is continuous innovative, unpredictable, increasing diversity of
human and environmental field patterns.
o Integrality is continuous mutual human and environmental field

 The Science of Unitary and Irreducible Human Beings is fundamentally abstract; therefore,
specifically defined relationships differ from those in more linear theories.
 The major components of Roger’s model revolve around the building blocks (energy,
openness, pattern and pandimensionality) and the principles of homeodynamics
(resonancy, helicy, and integrity).
 These explain the interaction between unitary human beings and the environment


 Nurses applying Roger’s theory in practice

o Focus on the person’s wholeness
o Seek to promote symphonic interaction between the two energy fields (human
and environment) to strengthen the coherence and integrity of the person
o Coordinate the human field with the rhythmicties of the environmental field
o Direct and redirect patterns of interaction between the two energy fields to
promote maximum health potential
 EXAMPLE: Nurses’ use of noncontact therapeutic touch is based on the concept of human
energy fields. The qualities of the field vary from person to person and are affected by pain
and illness.

 Knowledge of the past is a necessary foundation for the present understanding of nursing
and for evolving the theories and principles that must guide nursing practice.

[Roger’s Science of Unitary Human Beings

 Described nursing as: “A humanistic science dedicated to compassionate concern for
maintaining and promoting health, preventing illness, and caring for and rehabilitating the
sick and disabled.”
Martha E. Rogers' Theory of Unitary Human Beings views nursing as both a science and an
art. The uniqueness of nursing, like any other science, is in the phenomenon central to its focus.
The purpose of nurses is to promote health and well-being for all persons wherever they are. The
development of Rogers' abstract system was strongly influenced by an early grounding in arts, as
well as a background in science and interest in space. The science of unitary human beings
began as a synthesis of ideas and facts.

The nursing theory provides a way to view the unitary human being, who is integral with
the universe. The unitary human being and his or her environment are one. Nursing focuses on
people and the manifestations that emerge from the mutual human-environmental field process.
A change of pattern and organization of the human and environmental fields is transmitted by
waves. The manifestations of the field patterning that emerge are observable events. By
identifying the pattern, there can be a better understanding of human experience.

There are eight concepts in Rogers' nursing theory: energy field, openness, pattern, pan-
dimensionality, homeodynamic principles, resonance, helicy, and integrality.

The energy field is the fundamental unit of both the living and the non-living. It provides a way to
view people and the environment as irreducible wholes. The energy fields continuously vary in
intensity, density, and extent. There are no boundaries that stop energy flow between the human
and environmental fields, which is the openness in Rogers' theory.

Rogers defines pattern as the distinguishing characteristic of an energy field seen as a single wave.
It is an abstraction, and gives identity to the field. Pan-dimensionality is defined as "non-linear
domain without spatial or temporal attributes." The parameters that humans use in language to
describe events are arbitrary, and the present is relative; there is no temporal ordering of lives.

Homeodynamic principles postulate a way of viewing unitary human beings. The three principles
of homeodynamics are resonancy, helicy, and integrality. Resonancy is an ordered arrangement
of rhythm characterizing both the human and environmental fields that undergo continuous
dynamic metamorphosis in the human environmental process. Helicy describes the
unpredictable, nonlinear evolution of energy fields as seen in non-repeating rhythmicities, and
postulates an ordering of the human evolutionary emergency. Integrality covers the mutual,
continuous relationship of the human and environmental fields. Changes occur by the continuous
repatterning of the human and environmental fields by resonance waves. The fields are
integrated into each other, but are also unique.

In Rogers' Theory of Unitary Human Beings, a person is defined as an indivisible, pan-dimensional

energy field identified by pattern, and manifesting characteristics specific to the whole, and that
can't be predicted from knowledge of the parts. A person is also a unified whole, having its own
distinct characteristics that can't be viewed by looking at, describing, or summarizing the parts.
Rogers also explains that people have the capacity to participate in the process of change. The
environment is an "irreducible, pan-dimensional energy field identified by pattern and integral with
the human field." The two fields coexist and are integral to each other.

Rogers defines health as an expression of the life process. It is the characteristics and behavior
coming from the mutual, simultaneous interaction of the human and environmental fields, and
health and illness are part of the same continuum. The multiple events occurring during the life
process show the extent to which a person is achieving his or her maximum health potential. The
events vary in their expressions from greatest health to those conditions that are incompatible with
the maintaining life process.

The nursing theory states that nursing encompasses two dimensions: nursing as art and nursing as
science. From the science perspective, nursing is an organized body of knowledge specific to
nursing, and arrived at by scientific research and logical analysis. The art of nursing is the creative
use of science to better people, and the creative use of its knowledge is the art of its practice.
Rogers claims that nursing exists to serve people, and the safe practice of nursing depends on the
nature and amount of scientific nursing knowledge the nurse brings to his or her practice.

The nursing process has three steps in Rogers' Theory of Unitary Human Beings: assessment,
voluntary mutual patterning, and evaluation.

The areas of assessment are: the total pattern of events at any given point in space-time,
simultaneous states of the patient and his or her environment, rhythms of the life process,
supplementary data, categorical disease entities, subsystem pathology, and pattern appraisal.
The assessment should be a comprehensive assessment of the human and environmental fields.

Mutual patterning of the human and environmental fields includes:

sharing knowledge

offering choices

empowering the patient

fostering patterning


repeat pattern appraisal, which includes nutrition, work/leisure activities, wake/sleep cycles,
relationships, pain, and fear/hopes

identify dissonance and harmony

validate appraisal with the patient

self-reflection for the patient

To prepare nurses to practice Rogers' model, the focus of nursing curriculum should be the
transmission of the body of knowledge, teaching and practicing therapeutic touch, and
conducting regular in-service education. Emphasis should be on developing self-awareness as a
part of the patient's environmental energy field, as well as the dynamic role of the nurse pattern
manifestation on the patient. There should also be an emphasis on laboratory study in a variety of
settings, and the importance of the use of media in education.