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Science of Unitary Human Beings

Dr. Martha Roger's lifelong study of science and the arts and her comprehensive experience in public health nursing prompted her to develop the Science of Unitary Human Beings. Rather than calling her model a theory, Rogers preferred to call it a framework for knowledge. She continued working on it and adding to its body of knowledge until the end of her life.

In 1986, Rogers founded the Society of Rogerian Scholars to promote and advance her model. It is open to international membership and publishes Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Science. It subscribes to the Nightingale thought that nursing should be distinct from medicine. Its philosophy embraces the belief that nursing is responsible for developing a body of scientific knowledge that is specific to nursing and for the creative use of this knowledge in the art of nursing practice. The Society provides an organized structure for advancing the system and exchanging knowledge and ideas. It strives to advance nursing as an autonomous science. Its philosophy states that nursing's number one priority is the nurturing of human beings.

The Science of Unitary Human Beings provides the framework for the way nurses view human beings and the interactions between humans and the environment. Nurses are responsible for analyzing the framework, implementing and testing the theories and contributing to its development. The way that nurses use the knowledge gained from the framework to benefit society is as important as the knowledge itself. They are responsible for communicating with others in the profession and reporting findings to nursing literature.

The nursing theory is complex and abstract. For complete understanding, it requires careful study. It considers the human being and his or her environment as one. The focus of nursing is on the changes that occur from the human-environmental field process. These changes can be observed and by identifying the pattern, the human experience can be better understood.


  • The energy field is the basic unit of both the human and the environment and provides a way to view both as irreducible wholes. The energy is constantly changing in strength, density and range.
  • Openness is the energy flow between humans and the environment and has no boundaries.
  • The pattern of the energy field is a single wave and gives it an identity.
  • Pan-dimensionality has no space or time limitations. Parameters are arbitrary as used in human language.
  • Homeodynamic principles provide a way to observe human beings. The three principles are resonancy, helicy and integrality. Resonancy refers to the orderly arrangement of rhythm that affects both the human and environmental energy fields that undergo changes in the human-environmental process. Helicy is the unpredictable changes in the energy fields that precipitate a human evolutionary emergency. Integrality describes the relationship between the human and environmental energy fields. Their fields are integrated but also unique.
These concepts can be difficult to understand in a practical way but when they are defined as part of the nursing process, they become easier to apply.

The theory describes people as integrated wholes with unique characteristics that cannot be predicted by looking at the parts. They have the ability to take part in the process of change. The environment is an energy field that coexists with the human field. Health and illness are part of the same process. The many events that occur in people's life processes determine if they are attaining their health potentials. The results of the events vary from excellent health to health that is incompatible with life.

Rogers describes nursing as both a science and an art. Scientific research and analysis provides nursing with an organized body of knowledge specific to nursing practice. The art of nursing is the creative use of scientific principles in the practice of nursing. Preparing nurses to practice Roger's model consists of teaching the body of nursing knowledge and having continuing in-service education and laboratory studies. Attention should be given to developing awareness of the patient's energy field and the effect that nurse patterning has on the patient. The model recommends noninvasive methods of nursing including therapeutic touch, music, light, meditation, guided imagery, humor and color. The interventions are meant to balance the rhythm between the human and environmental fields and help the patients move toward health. It is crucial to look at the patient as a whole person and address the importance of the environment.


  • The purpose of nursing is to serve people.
  • Nursing has a direct responsibility to society.
  • Scientific knowledge is necessary for the safe practice of nursing.
  • Patients need nurses who are knowledgeable.

Nursing Process

  • The assessment is a comprehensive evaluation of the human and environmental fields.
  • Voluntary mutual patterning includes sharing knowledge with the patient and offering choices. It identifies agreements and differences and empowers the patient.
  • Evaluation assesses the result of the nursing process.
Rogers was always interested in science and the concept of space. In later years, she developed additional theories that embraced these interests. The theory of paranormal phenomena focuses on understanding therapeutic touch, telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition. The theory of accelerating evolution claims that evolution is speeding up because of higher wave frequencies. The theory of rhythmicity focuses on changes in human rhythms such as sleep-wake cycles, perception of time and other rhythms.

Dr. Martha E. Rogers had a superior intellect and an extraordinary wealth of knowledge in both the arts and the sciences. Her theories are multilayered and well worth the study and application to nursing.

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