Skip to main content
Get your Wikispaces Classroom now:
the easiest way to manage your class.
Pages and Files
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 and Co-Editors
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
Editor, Howard Karl Butcher, RN; PhD, PMHCNS-BC
Table of Contents
1.1 Origins: Up North
1.2 In the Epicenter of Nursing Theory
1.3. Going Down South: Doctoral Studies
List of my Rogerian Publications
1.1 Origins: Up North
My introduction to Rogerian Science started so subtlety. The summer before I started the Masters of Science in Nursing program at the University of Toronto, I walked into my advisers office (Barbara Johnson) and asked her "To get a bit of a head start before classes start, are there any books you recommend I start reading?" She pulled Rogers "
An Introduction to the Theoretical Basis of Nursing"
off the shelf and said "I would recommend you start with this one." I read the book during my breaks as a Staff nurse in the ICU at Wellesley Hospital. I don't claim I understood much, but as I read it, I knew it was changing my way of thinking about nursing. Because I had studied and had a BS degree in Biology before I entered nursing school, I has a highly mechanistic and reductionistic understanding about the nature of human beings. Rogers challenged my whole way of thinking.
Sure enough, when classes started, one of the required course that fall was on nursing theory development. We all were assigned to read not only Rogers, but Orem King, and Roy's original texts. I was assigned to present an overview of King's Theory of Goal Attainment in 11 minutes. Nora Parker (who became my thesis chair) and Kay Arpin (a committee member) co-taught the course and timed to make sure we did not go a second over the 11 minutes. What was thrilling, was the student who presented Rogers. That was the moment I was hooked and wanted to learn more about the Science of Unitary Man, as it was titled at the time. As I started to working on my thesis topic, I decided that I wanted to use her model as the conceptual framework. No student in the program before me, that I am aware of, had used a nursing conceptual framework in their thesis. In fact, we were explicitly told that we needed to use a "mid-level theory" like the health belief model, Lazarus, or Moos stress and coping models. But, from the reading I was doing, I became convinced that to develop nursing knowledge, then out research had to be grounded in our our
heoretical models. I recall having intense discussions with Dr, Parker, Dr. Arpin, as well as other faculty members, debating whether or not we should be relying borrowed theories if we were to build
science. I suppose I was a bit of a odd student in the sense I never just accepted what I was being told. Rather, I was off buying books on nursing theory by Fawcett, Chinn and Kramer, Meleis, and Barnum Stevens (all who published their first books on theory development while I was in the Masters program), taking them back to the faculty and saying "see, look at this, this is what we need to be reading, this is what should be guiding our research."
Knowing my interest in nursing theory and Rogers, Jacqueline Chapman, RN; PhD (fourth form the left) who was on faculty at the University of Toronto and taught my masters research course, suggested in 1985 that I attend a nursing theory conference that was being held in March in Edmonton, Alberta, She did her PhD at NYU in the early 1970s, and knew Martha well. Jacqueline knew I was struggling to figure out how to use the SUHB for my masters thesis. So, she encouraged me to go to the conference saying, "Martha will be there. I'll introduce her to you and you can tell her about your research." The picture above was taken after we all ate lunch at Jaspers. The person on my right is Dr, Isabel MacRae, also an NYU PhD graduate and faculty mmber at the University of Toronto who became my thesis "appraiser." In addition to having a thesis committee of 4 members, at the defense there was an outside reviewer who was the appraiser.
When we had lunch, they arranged the table so I would be sitting next to Martha so I could talk with her. When I told her I was using Lazarus' stress and coping model with her definitions she looked at me in a serious way and gently said "Howard, you need to get off the fence. You can't mix ideas from two different world views. You either need to go with Lazarus or the Science of Unitary Human Beings." Well, I had no idea what she was talking about, but when I returned to Toronto, I read everything I could get a hold of. I read many of the major works she referenced in her 1970 book (Nightingale, Teilhard de Chardin, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bentov, Bateson, Berman, Fred Allan Wolf, Briggs & Peat, Gribbin, Bertalanffy, Alfred North Whitehead, Bertrand Russell, and Polanyi), so I could try to understand the origin of her "new world view. I read dozens of books describing the "New Physics," (Bohm, Capra, Sheldrake, Lovelock, Zukav, Ferguson, Prigogine, Talbot, and Rudy Rucker's
The 4th Dimension: Toward a Higher Geometry of Higher Reality
), and sent away for 6 dissertations from Dissertation Abstracts International, including ones by Ference and Janet Macrae ,which became key to the conceptualization of guided imagery as well as the design for my thesis. I attended the Second Rogerian conference later that year in June, where I was able to listen to a number of research presentations based on the SUHB and I talked with as many Rogerian Scholars as I could about my study, including Helen Ference, Violet Malinski, Elizabeth Barrett, John Phillips, and Sarah Gueldner, all who became my mentors. It was at this conference I heard Betty Ludomirski-Kalmanson present her dissertation research on the relationship of blue and red light frequencies with human field motion. The following September, Betty joined the faculty at the University of Toronto. Although she was not on my thesis committee, we spent many hours together as she mentored me the interpretation of my findings and writing of my thesis. NYU was pretty much my second home. If I was not there at a conference or some Rogerian event, I was with someone who graduated from there. This was true throughout my Masters and PhD studies. Three years later in 1988, I presented my Masters thesis findings at a general session at the Third Rogerian Conference at New York University.
By the way, the women on the end on the right is Bonnie Davidison, a fellow student in the Masters program. In the
Martha E. Rogers 80 Years of Excellence
book edited by Barrett and Malinski (1994), Jacqueline tells a story about a student on a plane going to the conference in Alberta who had a conversation about the SUHB with another student that was overhead by secretary. At one point said the secretary asked "What planet do you two come from?" The Bonnie in this picture was that student!!
This picture was taken by Jacqueline S. Chapman, RN; PhD who was on faculty at the University of Toronto. She taught the masters level research course. It was Jacqueline who introduced to Martha. She did her PhD at NYU in the early 1970s, so knew Martha well. During the 1980s, three times Martha came up to to stay at Jacqueline's cottage at Lake Simcoe, just north of Toronto. On this occasion in 1986, Jacqueline invited me up to spend some time with Martha. I had just completed my Masters degree. My masters thesis "
Repatterning of Time Experience and Human Field Motion During the Experience of Pleasant Guided Imagery: An Experimental Investigation within the Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings.
" I had Dr. Chapman take this picture as I gave a copy of my thesis to Dr. Rogers, I later learned she passed it around to a number of faculty and PhD students at NYU. It was also Jacqueline who first mentioned the name
to me. She kept saying while I was a student in the masters program that I needed to meet him because our interests were similar. At the time, Richard was at Case Western Reserve University. I finally got a change to meet Richard in 1987 at the Sigma Theta Tau International Conference in San Francisco. It was there I told him, after only talking for 30 minutes, that I wanted do my doctoral studies under his guidance. Three years later, I started the PhD program at the University of South Carolina and Richard Cowling was my adviser, Dissertation Chair. Richard and I continue to be close friends. In 1990, he was the Best Man at my wedding.
In 1988, Martha called me up at home and asked me if I could co-present with her in a four hour pre-conference workshop. The Nursing Theory Congress Conferences in Toronto were huge events in the mid 1980s drawing 400 to 600 nurses. The picture above is a me meeting with Martha the afternoon before our pre-conference. Presenting with her was an a wonderful and amazing experience. I presented my research and she presented an in-depth overview of the theory. The highlight was when Martha demonstrated the application of her approach to practice by interviewing a simulated (actress) patient who was diagnosed with end-stage cancer. Martha pulled up a chair and interviewed the patient in front of some 50 nurses in attendance. I recorded the entire 4 hours of our workshop and one of my dreams is to convert the tapes to MP 3 files and upload them onto this site so everyone can hear Martha interview the client and present the SUHB.
The picture above is of Martha and me during a break at that workshop. Notice the tape recorder. When Martha called me up and I told her there was going to be simulated patient that she or me needed to interview a "patient" to demonstrate the model, I asked her what approach we were going to use. There was no SUHB practice model at the time. She disagreed with the nine patterns of the "unitary man" assessment framework developed by the NANDA nursing theory conference group. The 1979 Whelton article was considered out of date because it was based on the nursing process and the 1984 Madrid and Winstead-Fry was the only other practice article I knew of at the time, but it was not as well developed as it needed to be to guide an interview. So, when I asked Martha what "assessment framework" are we going to use she said "I think we will just use a Carl Rogers non-directive interview approach." Well, after she said that, the next day I went out and bought and read every Carl Rogers book I could find.
1.2 In the Epicenter of Nursing Theory
The 1980s was the decade of nursing theory, and no where was that more evident that in Toronto. Just as I was finishing my MScN, hospitals all over Toronto were in the process of implementing nursing theory to guide nursing practice. Mt. Sinai was implementing
Roy's Adaptation Model
, and across the street Toronto general was implementing Orem's Self-care Deficit Theory. Down the road a bit, St Michael’s Hospital was implementing King's Theory of Goal Attainment. Much of this activity was beginning because there was some thought that the RNAO, who were in the process of revising the Standards of Nursing Practice, planned to revise Standard 1 from "a nurse needs to ground their practice on theory" to "a nurse needs to ground their practice on a
theory." So, practice and educational settings were implementing nursing theory in anticipation of this change. Ultimately, resistance to the change lead to the change not being in the final draft. Nevertheless, most hospitals continued implementing nursing theory throughout the 1980s. Since Toronto was such a hotbed of nursing theory activity, all of the nursing theorists made frequent visits to the area hosting conferences and workshops. Of particular note, Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (now Ryerson University) School of Nursing hosted three huge "Nursing Theory Congress" conferences that were each attended by hundreds of nurses. All the theorists would attend and present. Being a nursing theory "zealot," I attended and presented at each of these conferences. At these conferences I was able to spend more time with Martha Rogers as well as Imogene King, Dorothea Orem, Betty Newman, and Sister Callista Roy. I also attended a series of nursing conferences that Rosemarie Parse hosted through her "Discovery International" organization. It was at the Discovery International conferences that I heard and met more with Roy, King, Orem, and Rogers as well as Virgina Henderson, Hidegard Peplau, Margret Newman, Jean Watson, and Madeleine Leininger. One of the great treasures I have, is that all of these nursing theorists autographed my copies of their books. So, I have a complete collection of autographed books by all the nursing theorists, including Nightingale's autograph in a copy of
Notes on Nursing
. How I got that is a long story I might tell sometime later.
When I graduated with my MScN in 1986, I accepted a position as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (the first one) at The Mississauga Hospital, just west of Toronto. They were in the process of implementing Orem's model. I was the CNS (50%) on the inpatient psychiatric unit and assisted in the implementation process. The other 50% of my role as as the CNS on the Consultation Liaison Team. It was a challenge being the first CNS in the hospital and I longed to be the other CNSs, so after abut a year and a half, I accepted a position at Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital where I was with a group of CNSs who I knew well including
, is is a well known Peplau scholar. I spend my post Masters' life as a CNS continuing to learn more about, not only Rogers SUHB, but all nursing theories. Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital, although it had long and strong ties over the years to Peplau who had actually traveled there and had done workshops with the staff, based their philosophy of nursing in "theoretical pluralism," meaning that all nurses were encouraged to practice from
nursing conceptual framework of their choice. So, different nurses a selected model that fit with their personal beliefs. Thus, as a CNS, if I was to be a resource to the staff, I needed to be fluent in multiple nursing models. It was during my time at Hamilton that my passion for teaching was reignited and I knew I wanted to learn more. I was already thinking about PhD studies from the time I was in my masters program by meeting all these PhD students at theory conferences, listening to Rogerian scholars present their dissertation research, and meeting Richard Cowling in November 1987. Changes in my personal life also were leading me to think the time was right to start my PhD studies. By the time I was beginning to look seriously into PhD program, Dr. Cowling had left Case Western Reserve for the University of South Carolina. In the spring 1988, I made a visit there, presented at one of their research conferences, and knew the University of South Carolina is where I wanted and needed to be.
1.3. Going Down South: Doctoral Studies
Making the decision to study at the University South Carolina was an obvious choice. First, I wanted to study under Richard Cowling. Secondly. I wanted be where there was not just one faculty member grounded in the Science of Unitary Human Beings, but a core group that I learn from and support me in my dissertation research. If there was ever a place where I could major in the Unitary Science in the 1990s, South Carolina was THE place. In addition to Richard Cowling,
(another well known Rogerian scholar from the NYU era) was at South Carolina;
(a Wayne State University graduate who had published some Rogerian based articles); and
, a well known scholar in Therapeutic Touch and a NYU PhD graduate were all on faculty. Before I even applied, I knew who I wanted on my committee. Sadly, at the end of my first year, Martha Alligood accepted a position at the University of Tennessee and Janet at the University of Colorado, but Richard was my dissertation chair and Pam Clarke a committee member.
Dr. Rosemarie Rizzo Parse
was a visiting professor for one year and I took a great course she taught one summer called Creative Sciencing;
came one year as a consultant; and I was able to take a 5 credit elective course taught by
Sarah Hall Gueldner
and Martha E. Rogers called "The Rogerian Conceptual System." This was the course that was offered by Sarah though the Medical College of Georgia that was held a Nags Head, North Carolina. Pictures of folks wearing purple "Serenity" teeshirts and pictures of Martha at the
Wright Brothers Monument
(see chapter 1) were all taken during that 2 week intensive course. Being there with Martha and Sarah and another 20 or so students the summer of 1992 was an amazing experience as well the last time I was with Martha Rogers. She was able to look over a draft of my dissertation proposal and the Unitary Field Pattern Portrait research methodology I developed and I felt I had her endorsement of what I was doing. I really can't imagine a better program of study for one interested in learning about the Science of Unitary Human Beings than the one I put together for my doctoral studies.
In addition, I was blessed by having Gail Mitchell and William Cody (both were already Parse Scholars) as classmates. We pretty much hung out together before class, at lunch, and after class (exchanging ideas and being supports for one another). I had this grandiose vision that South Carolina was going to become the next NYU in terms of being the place for the study of Rogerian Science, but once all three of us graduated and Richard moved on to Virgina Commonwealth University as their Associate Dean, the dream never materialized. I had known Gail from the University of Toronto. She was in the MScN program, one year behind me, and it was wonderful to see her again. I remember walking along College street near the University of Toronto, and I was trying to explain how nicely the SUHB could serve as a conceptual framework for her thesis tpoic, at the time, which was validation therapy. Shortly after that (or maybe just before our conversation) she discovered Parse's Theory of Human Becoming. At the University of South Carolina, Dr. Parse was able to serve on both Gail and Bill's dissertation committees.
The presence of Gail, Bill, and Dr. Parse led to my need to develop a Rogerian research methodology. As Gail and Bill were developing their dissertation proposals, they had a methodology all laid out for them. Parse developed a research method that flowed directly from her ontology, epistemology, and theory. Bill expanded Parse's method to work with families and the use of videotapes. I, on the other hand, felt stuck. There was no Rogerian research method. In my course work with Richard and Dr. Parse, I was convinced that Rogerian research methods needed to be derived from her ontology and epistemology. At the time, there was not a clear description of either Rogers ontology or epistemology. So, my initial work was to explicate the Rogerian ontology and epistemology, use it to develop criteria for Rogerian inquiry that flow from the ontology and epistemology, and then develop the processes of a method that flowed from the Criteria of Rogerian Inquiry. That work lead to the development of the Unitary Field Pattern Portrait research method, which I used and tested in my dissertation as a means to create a unitary field pattern portrait of dispiritedness in later life. I started the program in the Fall of 1990, left for Seattle and took a faculty position at Pacific Lutheran University in the fall of 1993, and defended my dissertation the following Spring in 1994.
On March 13th, 1994, in the evening out in Seattle, I was sitting at my computer working on the final draft of my dissertation when the phone rang. On the other end was Elizabeth Barrett who informed me of Martha's passing. After we talked, I sat there in stunned silence thinking about the loss. And then I created the"Dedication" page for the dissertation and wrote these words: "To the inspiring memory of Martha E. Rogers, RN; ScD, FAAN who passed through this world today March 13, 1994."
Her inspiration has led directly to this work, this wiki site, as well as the the 20 journal articles and 9 book chapters I have published on the Science of Unitary Human Beings. I teach the SUHB in a number of courses so students can learn about her vision for nursing. What guides my Rogerian scholarship is the need to extend the system by deriving research and practice models; and extend the system upward by explicating the Rogerian cosmology and philosophy. I strive to be true to Rogers original vision by always going back to her texts and articles to support my writings so that my work remains consistent with the Rogers' postulates and principles. I am also driven to continue to read as much as I can about new advances in the biological sciences, philosophy, cosmology, and physics which remarkably increasingly resonate with and lend support to the vision of nursing that Martha unleashed.
My last picture with Martha Rogers
in 1992 at the base of the Wright
Brothers Monument at Kill Devil Hills near Nags
Photo from Howard K. Butcher and used with permission.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"