• In this assignment, we are going to focus on theorist Margaret Newman, her background, social history, her theory, and the impact the theory had in the field of Nursing and its application in different settings. 

  • Margaret Newman was born in 1933 in Memphis Tennessee. She was raised in a Christian family since she was brought up in a Baptist Church where her mother had a job as a secretary (Endo, 2017).  It was through this Christian background that she joined the military service. 

  • During the missionary service, Newman realized that she could not only help people spiritually, but she also had to take care of their health status. It was at this time that she decided to pursue a nursing course, after being inspired by a nursing student, where she took the path herself to ensure that she would later help other people’s physical needs (Endo, 2017).  After receiving the news that her mother was ill, Newman returned home to discover that her mother was suffering from a chronic condition known as the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  At this point, she became the primary caregiver of her mother, after realizing that being diagnosed with a chronic condition does not mean that one remains unhealthy.  She was convinced that her mother would experience healthiness despite being diagnosed with the condition.  She was also able to formulate her mother's condition by confining her but not defining her with the condition (Macharia, 2015)

  • The experience motivated her to go back to school and study nursing so she could help others like her mother.  

  • In 1971 Newman received a doctorate from New York University. She also taught at the New York University up to 1977 and in the fall of 1977, she was able to accept the position of the profession in charge of graduate studies in nursing practice at the Penn state university (Macharia, 2015)

  • In 1984, she also began working as a nurse theorist with the University of Minnesota where she later retired from the teaching practice in 1996 (Macharia, 2015)

Social events and theorist background factors that influenced theory development

  • A trained and professional nurse, Newman was able to become a fellow with the American Academy of Nursing.  
  • Apart from this, she has been honored as an outstanding alumna with New York University and the University of Tennessee. 
  • During her time in practice she was also awarded the distinguished scholar in Nursing Award from the New York University, the Founders Award for the Excellence in Nursing research which was given in Theta Tau International. She was also given the E. Louise Grant Award for the Nursing excellence from the University of Minnesota. 

Theory Model / Components


  • Margaret Newman was known for coming up with the theory of health expanding consciousness. 
  • The theory was inspired by Roger’s theory of unitary human beings, which was based on the assumption of how people interact with their environment as the basis of the consciousness being, which is also a pattern that evolves from the relationship between an individual and the environment. 
  • The basic idea behind the theory of Expanding consciousness was as a result of an invitation Margaret was given to speak at a nursing conference back in 1978 (Pharris & Endo, 2007). Apart from Rogers the theory was also influence by Bentov’s concept regarding the evolution of consciousness, Bohm’s theory of Implicate, and Young's theory of process. 
  • Based on this theory of expanding consciousness each individual in each situation, regardless of how hopeless, or disorder it may look, is a part of the whole process to expand their consciousness.  
  • The process entails becoming more aware of the self, and finding more meaning to life, including reaching new connectedness and dimension with other people of the world. 
  • Based on her theory, there are six assumptions;
  • First is the idea that health is about conditions described illness or in medical language pathology. 
  • The individual pathological conditions are often viewed as the manifestation of the total pattern if the single patient. 
  • Also, the pattern of a particular patient which later manifests itself as a pathology will exist before the functional or structural change. 
  • When this pathology is by itself removed, it does not alter the pattern of the individual patient (Pharris & Endo, 2007).  
  • Meaning that if becoming ill is the one way the pattern of the individual will manifest itself, then it means it becomes the purpose of health for the individual. 
  • Thus, health is all about an expansion of consciousness.



Use of theory in nursing science and advanced nursing practice



  • The theory is an application to nursing science and advances nursing practice due to the fact it puts more emphasis on the continued form of care outside the clinical setting.  It looks at different activities that support the improvement of the health of the individual which can be carried out of the healthcare setting and care centers.   
  • The theory calls for the need to empower and support patients socially through home-based care as it can help in the reduction of the workload among the healthcare providers and reduced the economic burden of the healthcare centers in poor regions. 
  • There are various concepts in the theory that are intrinsic factors requiring nursing intervention like the concept of time and movement (Pharris & Endo, 2007).  Ambulation, motion range, breathing, and coughing being parameters that are used in nursing practice.  The theory can thus be very much applied among patients that are diagnosed with chronic conditions like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer among others. 
  • The theory is important since it is usually very depressing for a patient when they realize that they have been diagnosed with a chronic condition. This will impact in their family, and as individuals, they are going to face spiritual, emotional, and social stress which will affect their response to treatment, there will changes in lifestyle, home and their roles will be disrupted as well as being stigmatized (Endo, 2004)
  • The individual patients also face challenges through the changes in their self-image, own mortality, sexuality, and reproductive capacity.
  • Nurses must make use of this theory to help patients diagnosed with chronic conditions like cancer to know that they are still the same person each day and that they are precious and the life they live is for the present moment.  Nurses are required to use the theory in fighting stigma and apply the theory philosophy that being sick does not always mean one is unhealthy. 
  • Based on the theory, it is important to appreciate that one can be healthy and whole even after they have been diagnosed with a condition or with no condition. 
  • Health does not always mean the opposite of sickness but it will mean a manifestation of the two. 
  • In the past people would hide a chronic illness from their social circles after being diagnosed due to fear, however, the modern nursing practice has proven that they can help through assisting these patients to expand in their consciousness around their condition (Endo, 2004)


Concluding remarks


  • In conclusion, thus, the theory guides nurses to assist their patients towards a pattern of recognition and ensure they understand new possibilities for action and that there is still space for health.  The nurse should assist their patients and ensure they realize they have the power inside then to raise their consciousness level. 
  • Since the theory, people can now come out and disclose their health status, while elderly people in-home nursing care will also have a strong human connection between each other, their family, and their careers. 


  • The theory has also made it easier to administer drugs and establish a good nursing care plan, where the patient and the nurse collaborate to agree on the concepts towards their health. 


Endo, E. (2004). Nursing praxis within Margaret Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness. Nursing Science Quarterly, 17(2), 110-115.

Endo, E. (2017). Margaret Newman's theory of health as expanding consciousness and a nursing intervention from a unitary perspective. Asia-Pacific Journal of Oncology Nursing, 4(1), 50.

Macharia, K. S. (2015). Applying Margaret Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness to psychosocial nursing care of HIV infected patients in Kenya. American Journal of Nursing Science, 4(2), 6.

Pharris, M. D., & Endo, E. (2007). Flying free: The evolving nature of nursing practice guided by the theory of health as expanding consciousness. Nursing Science Quarterly, 20(2), 136-140.


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