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Human Becoming Theory

Dr. Rosemarie Rizzo Parse published her Man-Living-Health Theory in 1981. In 1992, she changed the name to the Human Becoming Theory that is also known as the Human Becoming School of Thought. Her work was influenced by the writings of European philosophers and especially by the American nurse theorist, Martha E. Rogers. It is different from all other nursing theories is that well-being is defined from the perspective of the patient.

The theory's framework is built around three recurring principles that are meaning, rhythmicity and transcendence. People generate meaning in their lives by creating their own realities with unique self-expression and living their values in a preferred way. Rhythmicity is present in everyone and people create their own patterns of relating to the environment. Transcendence means that people are constantly evolving and transforming themselves.

Nurses have the responsibility to help patients uncover meanings in their lives, harmonize rhythms and facilitate transcendence. Parse's research explores and illuminates the meaning of human experiences such as suffering, courage, hope, grieving and everyday life. Her theory addresses the principle of human dignity and the models of family structure, mentoring, leading-following and teaching-learning.


  • A human is a whole being who is different from and more than the sum of his or her parts.
  • The environment involves everything about a person and his or her experiences. It is unable to be separated from the person and is constantly evolving.
  • Health is the development of being and becoming and involves the fusion of values.
  • Nursing is an art and science that uses conceptual values to help people.

General Assumptions

  • Illimitability is infinite knowing and the exploration of the moment.
  • Paradoxes are rhythms that express truths.
  • Freedom is the right of patients to choose ways of living within their own situations.
  • Mystery is the ever changing, unpredictable nature of the universe.

Assumptions About Humankind

  • People coexist with the universe and form rhythmical patterns within the environment.
  • People freely choose meaning in their situations and therefore must accept the responsibility for their decisions.
  • Each person is a whole and is constantly creating patterns of relating to the environment.
  • People overcome problems on many levels.

Assumptions About Becoming

  • Becoming is the whole of the human, living and health.
  • Becoming is the process of rhythmically integrating the person and the environment.
  • Becoming is the person's pattern of setting value priorities.
  • Becoming is the process of overcoming problems.
  • Becoming is the emergence of the whole person.

Application in Nursing Practice

  • The theory transforms all levels of nursing
  • The Human Becoming Theory is different from the traditional nursing theory in that it does not try to fix problems.
  • Seeing health from the patient's perspective allows the nurse to be a patient advocate and help guide him or her to a desired outcome.
  • The relationship between the nurse and the patient fosters a change in health patterns.

Application in Research

  • The research furthers understanding of health, quality of life and the impact that nursing has on health.
  • Research expands the theory.
  • The research contributes to nursing knowledge about common experiences of living and adds to the quality of life.

Strengths of Theory

  • The theory separates nursing from other health care disciplines.
  • The theory provides guidelines for nursing practice and the care of patients.
  • The theory provides a basis for nursing education.
  • The theory provides research opportunities.
  • The framework of the theory provides opportunities with which to research other theories.

Weaknesses of Theory

  • It is difficult to compare research results with other studies because there is a lack of control groups and standardized tests.
  • The theory does not incorporate nursing diagnoses and processes.
  • The theory is too complex for the inexperienced nurse.
  • The theory does not apply to acute or emergency care.
Dr. Parse's theory is a new way of looking at the nursing role. It is an abstract and complex theory that offers an alternative to other theories in both nursing and other disciplines. To provide effective care, nurses must be fully invested in the Becoming School of Thought and provide informed guidance that allows patients to make their own decisions regarding health care. Ultimately, patients are seen as autonomous and free to define health for themselves.

Publications related to Human Becoming Theory

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