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Introduction to this Rogerian Nursing Science Wiki
The Science of Unitary Human Beings: Theoretical Basis for Nursing
How to cite this work
About the Editor
Chapter 1 A Portrait of Martha E. Rogers
Chapter 2 The Aim of Nursing Science
Chapter 3 Rogerian Cosmology and Philosophy
Chapter 4 The Science of Unitary Human Beings Postulates
Chapter 5 The Science of Unitary Human Beings Principles
Chapter 6 Rogerian Theories
Chapter 7 Practice Methods
Chapter 8 Rogerian Research Methods
Chapter 9 Measurement Tools
Chapter 10 Design for the 21 Century
Visions The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science
Listening to Martha Rogers
News and Announcements
Wiki Praxis Page
Chapter 1 A Portrait of Martha E. Rogers
Table of Contents
1.2 Early Experiences
1.3 Pursuit of Education
1.4 Building a Scientific Discipline
1.5 Constructing a Science
1.6 Mentoring a Generation and Generations to Come
1.7 Endings and Beginnings
In Rosemarie Parse's (1994) tribute Martha Rogers in
Nursing Science Quarterly
, she wrote that although Martha moved on to another realm of the universe "her voice will not be silenced" (p.47). Her vision of nursing "energized the lives of nurses worldwide" and her "voice will echo through the ages" (p. 47). Nursing has endured in a significant way through her contributions to the discipline as she transformed nursing from a "prescience to a science" (Phillips, 1994, p. vi). This wiki-text is designed to assure that Martha Rogers' voice continues to be heard by explicating the
of her voice, message and vision. Rogers continues to have an immeasurable impact on the development of nursing as a scientific discipline. Dr. Martha Rogers, one of the most revered of 20th century nursing educators, who in 1954 became Professor and Head of the Division of Nursing at New York University and provided a generation of doctoral nursing candidates with a theoretical foundation for their profession.
Martha E. Rogers by Portraits by Portraits, Inc 1976.
Photograph taken by Howard K. Butcher in 2002 at New York University
and used with permission.
1.2 Early Experiences
Carl Jung (1952) wrote extensively about the nature of synchronicity which he described as a creative act, acausal parallelisms, and as unrelated events that have similar meanings. David Peat (1987) in his book "
Synchronicity: The bridge between matter and mind
" wrote that as acausal, meaningful, unique events involving some form of pattern, synchronicities in one's life are often associated with periods of transformation like births, deaths, falling in love, intense creative work, and even a change in profession. "It is as if this internal restructuring produces external resonances" that create a burst of energy that propagates outward into the universe (Peat, 1987, p. 27). Synchronicities are manifestations that introduce meaning and value in an essential way into nature.
The fact that both
and Martha Elizabeth Rogers share the same birth date, May 12, is one of the great synchronicities in nursing. Nightingale was born in 1820 and Rogers was born
years later in 1914, just four year after
Sharing the same birthday as Nightingale bursts forth dynamic and deep meaning.
According to Rogers' genealogy, her lineage can be traced Sir Geoffrey Luttrell who died in 1216. The Luttrells lived in Dunster Castle in Somerset, England.
was occupied by the Luttrells for over 600 years and was given to the UK National Trust in 1976. Rogers great-grandfather, James Luttrell, was a descendent of a James Luttrell who migrated to Maryland around 1667. Martha was named after her paternal grandmother, Martha Elizabeth Luttrell Rogers.
The Nightingales were a well educated, highly distinguished family whose main residence purchased by Nightingale's father in 1825. Their majestic estate home was in the 4,000-acre
in near Romsey in the parish of Wellow, in Hampshire (Gill, 2004). The distance between Dunster Castle and Embley is about
Dunster Castle, nr Minehead, Somerset TA24 6SL
There are deep currents connecting Rogers to Nightingale. Like powerful waves rising from some deep undercurrent, both Nightingale and Rogers in similar ways did more to transform and propel nursing forward, both as a scientific discipline and as a profession, than anyone else. Rogers (1970) wrote that Nightingale "with unerring brilliance and deep human compassion . . . laid for nursing a foundation of far reaching significance" (p. x). In the 1992 Commemorative Edition of Nightingale's
Notes on Nursing: What it is, and What it is not,
Rogers contributed a chapter where she clearly links her work to Nightingale. Other than Nightingale, no other nurse theorist has placed as much emphasis on the environment than Rogers. Rogers saw human beings as being integral or inseparable from their environment. Although Nightingale never used the term
, she wrote about the importance of ventilation, air, sunlight, pure water, efficient drainage, warmth, diet, and quiet as elements that affect the health of those ill as well as those who are healthy. Both viewed health and illness, not as dichotomous conditions (Rogers, 1970, p. 125) but on the same continuum. For example, Nightingale viewed disease as a reparative process where the body strives for harmony while Rogers viewed both illness and well-being as manifestations of the same human-environmental mutual field process. Nightingale (1859) attempted to delineate the differences between what medicine does for a patient and what nursing does. She saw medicine as helping nature (the environment) to act and nursing as "putting the patient in the best position for nature to act upon him" (p. ). For Rogers, well-being is a symphonic mutual process of human and environmental fields. Both Nightingale and Rogers placed great emphasis on the uniqueness of nursing by stressing how nursing was distinct from medicine. Rogers often quoted Nightingale's warning that "nursing and medicine should not be mixed up, it spoils both" (1992, p. 61). Both advocated for the use of noninvasive healing modalities; pressed for changes in public policy, political health reform; and set high scientific standards. Neither ever married, rather they dedicated their lives to nursing. They were powerful advocates for nursing education. Like Nightingale, Rogers viewed nursing as a
profession. Nightingale felt "we should give the best training we could give any women of any class" (Nightingale, 1866) and launched the Nightingale training programs and schools for nurses. One hundred years later, Rogers called for an "educational revolution in nursing" that differentiated university education from vocational training that needed to be grounded in a systematized
body of theoretical knowledge and strongly advocated for graduate and doctoral education
Dossey (1999) used the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator based on Jung's descriptions of personality to analyze Nigthingale's letters, notes, and published works and discovered she was a INTJ (Introversion-Intuition-Thinking-Judging) personality type which is best described as being "original, visionary, private, independent, logical, critical, theoretical, systems-minded, firm, and demanding" (p. 427). In the many descriptions of Rogers personality, she most certainly manifested the many of the same personality characteristics as Nightingale. Numerous personal accounts of Rogers' personality have described her as being stimulating, challenging, idealistic, visionary, independent, family orientated, humorous, academic, blunt, frank, hospitable, provocative, brilliant, radiant, feisty, willful, gentle, warm, vibrant, intellectual, philosophical, outspoken, radical, charismatic, creative, courageous, prophetic, avant garde, outrageous, hard working, controversial, compassionate, generous, energetic, ethical, and yes, even as crazy as a bedbug (Alligood, 1979; Butcher, 1999; Cheema, 1994; Hektor, 1989; King, 1994; Malinski, 1994; Mathwig, 1994; Parse, 1989; Pepper, 1989; Phillips, 1994).
Martha E. Rogers in 1992 at the base of the Wright
Brothers Monument at Kill Devil Hills near Nags
Photo taken by Howard K. Butcher and used with permission.
In Gillian Gill's (2004) book "
Nightingales: The Extraordinary Upbring and Curious Life of Miss Florence Nightingale,"
Gill wrote that Florence was a remarkable student. She learned Latin with her father before she was eight and wrote letters to her parents in French and German by the age of 10. Her penmanship was remarkable and elegant and was writing beautiful cursive by the age of 10. Florence's father, WEN (William Edward Nightingale), took responsibility to educate his daughters and as teenagers Florence and her sister received an education "not only commensurate with their intelligence but comparable to that given to privileged young men in elite schools" (Gill, 2004, p. 119-120). Nightingale wrote "he taught me Latin and Greek and mathematics and whatever he knew himself. I had the most enormous desire of acquiring---for seven years of my life, I thought of little else but the cultivation of my intellect" (McDonald, 2001, Vol. 1. p. 90). In the Nightingale household, education was meant to train a person to think, to give a solid basis of fact, and to prepare for a professional life. WEN taught his daughters because he believed, rare for his time, that women too should be educated and he had the time. WEN "had an excellent mind and had received a superb education, first at a Dissenting academy, then at Edinburgh, and then at Cambridge. WEN was one of the founding members of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He expected the girls to work hard and taught them what he knew and then waited to see how they responded. He used a enlightened version of the standard school curriculum and was an engaged and loving teacher-father (Gill, 2004). Florence was a serious scholar. She studied Roman, French, German, Italian, and Turkish history as well as philosophy, ethics, grammar, composition, mathematics and the Bible (Dossey, 1999). She would awake early, between 4 AM and 6 AM to prepare for her daily lessons. She became fluent in Latin, Greek, French, German, and Italian.
Her father had a passion for books and was rich enough to afford a scholar's library filled with not only the great classics, but modern poetry, fiction, philosophy, scientific monographs, and the best contemporary reviews that reported the latest findings in science, economics, public policy, and the newest fiction (Gill, 2004). Most importantly "Mr. Nightingale shared his books with his daughters" (Gill, 2004, p. 125) and Florence was deeply grateful and proud of the extraordinary gift from her father and wrote in 1847 to her sister "I assure you feel more and more everyday my gratitude to that father, who taught me all I ever knew, who gave me all the ideas I ever had, who taught me interest in nations as though they were personal existences, and showed me how to look upon all churches as but parts of the one great scheme, all opinions, political and religious, as but accidental developments of the one Parental Sap which comes up oats in one case and oranges in another. I do so feel, and gratefully acknowledge, the advantage of it now"( From
Florence Nightingale in Room: Letters Written by Florence Nightingale in Room in the Winter of 1847-1848,
Editor, Mary Keel (1981).
Four Generations, Left to right: Lucy K Rogers,
mother; Martha E. Rogers; Laura B. Keener, grandmother;
Lucy M. Brownlee, great-grandmother.
From V. M.
Malinski & E.A.M. Barrett (Eds.) (1994) Martha E. Rogers: Her
life and her work. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.
The parallels between Rogers and Nightingale are remarkable. The two major sources for descriptions of Rogers early life can be found in Malinski's (1994) chapter titled "A family of Strong-Willed Women" and Hektor's (1989) life history of Rogers. Both relied on first person accounts from Martha herself, as well as her sisters, nieces, and nephews. Martha E. Rogers was born on May 12, 1914 to Bruce Taylor Rogers and Lucy Mulholland Keener Rogers. Her father was in the insurance business. She was the oldest of four children, two sisters Laura Rogers Wilhite and Jane Rogers Coleman, and a brother, Sam (nicknamed Keener). Jane stated that Martha being the first child and grand daughter received "all the attention and adoration" from her nearby aunts, uncles, and maternal grandparents (Malinski, 1994, p. 5). She was born in Dallas, TX, but the family moved to Knoxville, TN before she was a year old into a "sprawling old home on Yale Avenue" (Rogers quoted in Hektor, 1989, p. 12).
Bruce T. Rogers (Father), Martha,
Lucy K. Rogers (Mother),
From E.A.M. Barrett & V.M. Malinski (1994). Martha E. Rogers 80 Years of Excellence. New York, NY:
Society of Rogerian Scholars, Inc., Press.
Rogers had a thirst for knowledge at an early age. She found Kindergarten to be "terribly exciting" (Rogers quoted in Hektor, 1989, p. 12) and had a love and passion for books that was fostered by her parents. Her father introduced her to the public library at the age of 3 where she loved story time (Reeder, 1994) "I liked to go off by myself with a book. By fourth grade, I had read every book in the school library. I used to go to the public library before I was 6. Even before I could read, I was well acquainted with the public library . . . Once I started reading I could check out eight books at a time---I went through the shelves, one after another. When I was in high school, my father was concern that I was 'skimming,' not really reading. So my father sat down to discuss the books I was reading I was reading with me and found I wasn't skimming" (Rogers, quoted in Hektor. 1989. p. 13). Her father would sit with her and ask her to tell him what she had learned (Reeder, 1994). Like Nightingale, Rogers explained that there were "always loads of books in our home and in my grandparents' homes . . . all kinds of books spilled all over . . . I knew the Greek alphabet by age 10. By the sixth grade, I read all 20 volumes of T
he Child's Book of Knowledge
and was into the
" (Rogers quoted in Hektor, 1989, p. 13). Martha's niece, Katherine Lundy stated "for most years of her adult life, she rose at 5:00 or 5:30 AM and read----her intention being to read at least five books a week (Lundy quoted in Malinski, 1994, p. 8). She loved to read anthropology, archaeology, cosmology, ethnography, astronomy, ethics, psychology, eastern philosophy, and aesthetics (Reeder, 1994). "She loved to read because it made her stop and think" (Reeder, 1994, p. 319). By her senior year she had completed all the high school math courses and was taking a college level algebra course where she was the only female in the class.
Martha E. Rogers in her Teens
from From E.A.M. Barrett &
V.M. Malinski (1994). Martha E. Rogers 80 Years of Excellence.
New York, NY: Society of Rogerian Scholars, Inc., Press.
1.3 Pursuit of Education
When asked by Safier (1977) why she went into nursing Martha said "the reasons are generally complex---but I had a great missionary zeal when I was in high school. I wanted to do something that would, hopefully contribute to social welfare. I loved law and medicine. When I entered college, not being sure, I tossed a coin and it came out medicine. So I studied science--med for a couple of years. But women in medicine were not particularly desirable animals in those days, my parents thought it was rather inappropriate career for a female. The local hospital had a school of nursing, and a friend of mine had decided she would enter there in September, so I decided to go along. My parents weren't really any happier over that decision than they had between over medicine" (p. 319). She stated "perhaps I should have selected home economics like my two sisters" (quoued in Shfier, 1977, p. 319). From 1931 to 1933 Rogers took premed courses at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She states "I took zoology, genetics, embryology and many other course" (Hecktor, 1989). It is interesting to note that both Nightingale and Rogers defied their parents wishes to pursue their careers. Nightingale told no one in her family of her plans to nurse (Gill, 2004, p. 193). In 1845 Nightingale secretly made plans to train as a nurse in a public hospital, the Salisbury Infirmary, and then perhaps start a Protestant sisterhood dedicated to the care of the indigent sick (Gill, 2004, p. 190). When her parents and sister found out her plans to pursue her dreams of hospital nursing, they were in fact "horrified" (p. 195).
In September of 1933 Rogers transferred into Knoxville General Hospital's nursing program and was one of 25 students in her class. She described her training as at times as being miserable because the training was like the "Army, pre-Nightingale. You had to stand up for everyone; it really wasn't for me." (Hektor, 1989). She even spent a week at home, thinking of not returning to school but then noticed all the "tired people, working class people . . . so I went back" (Hektor, 1989). In a interview with Safier she said "I really couldn't come up with anything better so I went back" (p. 320). Reeder (1994) stated Rogers returned to school because she wanted to know why the poor working class people had no zest for life and because nursing held the promise to help people. She distinguished herself there by starting a library at the school of nursing. She states she enjoyed working with people and patients. According to her vitae, she graduated in 1with a diploma in 936, but her parents were still not happy that she did not have a degree, so Rogers entered college and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health Nursing from George Peabody College in Nashville in 1937. After she graduated she worked for the Children's Fund of Michigan for two years as public health nurse. She went to central Michigan "because I wanted to travel, see the world." The position was recommended by the Director of the program at Peabody College. Her work involved home visits, case finding giving vaccinations, planning and giving health teaching programs, and committee work. "I liked seeing people where they were in their home"( quoted in Hektor, 1989, p.15).
She decided in 1939 to return to school. "I liked going to school: I knew I didn't know enough." She sold her car to pay for tuition and entered a Masters degree program full-time at Columbia's Teacher's College in New York city Her father died of cancer two months before she started classes but "he insisted that I go ahead with my plan to return to school" (quoted in Hektor, 1989, p. 16). After two semesters, in 1940, Rogers accepted a position in Hartford, CT at the Visiting Nurse Association. She worked at the Association for five years, first as an Assistant Supervisor, then as the Assistant Education Director, and lastly as the acting Director of Education. At the same time she was completing her course work at Teacher's College and completed her degree requirements (Master of Arts) in 1945. Notably, Rogers stated about her work in Hartford "I thought nursing was a knowledgeable endeavor, and that nurses should be baccalaureate prepared and more. We exercised freedom and autonomy. We were responsible for our own acts. We were never accountable to other disciplines; that accountability would have jeopardized our autonomous position" (p. 16).
Rogers Family, cica 1945. Jane L. Coleman, Martha E. Rogers, Lucy K. Rogers,
(Mother) Keener (Brother) , Laura B. Whihte (sister)
from E.A.M. Barrett &
V.M. Malinski (1994). Martha E. Rogers 80 Years of Excellence.New York, NY: Society
of Rogerian Scholars, Inc., Press.
After completing her degree in 1945 she sent out a number of job inquiry letters, considered staying in Hartford, but settled on a position as the Executive Director at the Visiting Nurse Service in Phoenix, Arizona. She believed she may have been the first nurse in Arizona with a masters degree and for six years (1945-1951) she built up the Visiting Nursing Service in Phoenix. "I loved everything about those years" and in the last years of her life to returned to Arizona where she spent her last years.
"I didn't know enough . . . I had to many questions" so she returned to school in 1945. (Hecktor, 1989, 18). She decided to enter the top public health program in the US, John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Maryland in 1951. There were few Master in Public Health (MPH) at the time. She finished the degree in a year (1952), her second masters degree, and right on into their doctoral program, earning a doctor of science degree (ScD) . The program had the same requirements as the PhD, and she completed a wide range of course work including studies in biology and statistics. She commented on the fun she had being engaged in "all kinds of interdisciplinary discussions." She engaged in full-time studies and felt being a full-time student allowed her to engage more deeply in her studies and interactions with others. While a doctoral student, she did spend a year as a visiting lecturer at Catholic University on Washington, DC. She completed her studies in 1954 and the title of her dissertation was "
The association of maternal and fetal factors with the development of behavior problems among elementary school children
." By graduating in 1954 from John Hopkins University, Rogers among a very select group by becoming one of the few nurses at that time to hold a doctoral degree.
1.4 Building a Scientific Discipline
The first nursing doctorate was established in 1924 at Teachers College, Columbia University. Nurses were awarded the EdD degree in this program that focused on preparation of teachers of nursing and the needs of nursing leaders. New York University offered the first nursing PhD in 1934. In the 1950s, the University of Pittsburgh's nursing PhD program emphasized the importance of clinical research to the advancement of nursing's body of knowledge and the profession of nursing with their PhD program in Maternal and Child Nursing. Boston University's nursing doctoral model, the doctor of nursing science (DNSc), was unique in that their degree was the first to focus on the nurse as a professional practitioner in the role of providing nursing care. Some nursing leaders quickly adopted this as the minimal degree for entry into practice, as they did not feel that the traditional 4-year baccalaureate degree adequately prepared nurses for practice at the bedside. By the 1950s, nursing had created 3 unique models for doctoral education. This was the beginning of the controversy surrounding nursing doctoral degrees that continues today.
Martha Rogers was appointed Professor and Head of the Division of Nursing at New York University right after graduating from Hopkins. Rogers was encouraged to accept the position by Ruth Freeman, who six years later would write the Forward for Rogers(1961) first book "
Educational Revolution in Nursing
." Freeman, considered among the most outstanding leaders in public health nursing, wrote that Rogers in this "provocative book . . . evolves a conceptualization of the kind of education needed to realize the potential of nursing for human betterment" and "explores the meaning and nature of nursing and its relation to the broad sweep of human values and knowledge" (p. v). Freeman earned her Ed.D. in 1951 from New York University and was on the faculty at the School of Hygiene and Public Health at Hopkins at the time Martha was completing her doctoral studies.
When Rogers arrived at NYU, Vera Fry was the previous Division Head and Joan Hoexter stated that all of the nursing faculty left except her left.
1.5 Constructing a Science
1.6 Mentoring a Generation and Generations to Come
Endings and Beginnings
High in the heavens, in the northern night sky, one can easily distinguish the pattern of stars that form the constellation Ursa Major. Ursa Major, or “The Great Bear,” is unmistakably visible because the well-known “Big Dipper” forms the bear’s tail section. Ursa Major, the third largest constellation, is also distinctive because seven bright, second magnitude and third magnitude stars form the Big Dipper (Kerrod, 1993).
In addition, the nearby constellation Ursa Minor (Lesser Bear) includes the North Star (Polaris) (Croswell, 2001). The North Star marks the celestial North Pole. Therefore, it does not move in the sky; rather all stars rotate around the North Star. The North Star is a great beacon of light giving direction to lost navigators and lost souls. In Ursa Major, there is also a star (RA 9h 33m 56s D 48° 9') named after Martha E. Rogers. This star is an enduring symbol of the luminous glow of her life and contribution to nursing serving as a beacon illuminating all the nursing is and aspires to be.
Link to Martha E. Rogers' Place of Rest:
The following Poem by anonymous was published "In Memoriam" Martha E. Rogers (1914-1994) in the Summer 1994 issue of
Nursing Science Quarterly.
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the the diamond glints on snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there; I did not die.
Portrait Sculpture by Hamil 1989
A Section of the
Stained Glass Window of Martha E. Rogers.
Photograph taken by Howard K. Butcher (1990) and used
Photograph taken by Howard K. Butcher (1989)
and used with permission.
Hologram of Martha E. Rogers (Portrait by Ana Maria Nicholson, 1992)
Photograph taken by Howard K. Butcher and used with permission.
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