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Rosemarie Rizzo Parse

Dr. Rosemarie Rizzo Parse published her nursing theory in 1981 as the Man-Living-Health Theory but changed the name in 1992 to the Human Becoming Theory. This was done to reflect the official change of the dictionary meaning of the word man that formerly meant humankind. Her theory states that the quality of life is determined by each person and differs from most other nursing theories.

Rosemarie Rizzo was a native of Pennsylvania and spent most of her young life in Castle Shannon. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and her master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She held a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh, then served as a professor of medical-surgical nursing at the Duquesne University Graduate School of Nursing and later became its dean. From 1983 to 1993, she was a faculty member and coordinator of the Center for Nursing Research at the Hunter College of New York City University. She went on to become a professor and the Marcella Niehoff Chair in Nursing at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois, until her retirement in 2006. In addition to these responsibilities, she managed to teach theory and research courses in many universities throughout the United States. Still active in nursing, Dr. Parse is an adjunct professor and serves as a consultant and visiting scholar at the New York University College of Nursing.

As if her many teaching accomplishments were not enough, Dr. Parse contributed to the field of nursing in many other ways as well. She is the founder and editor of the Nursing Science Quarterly, the only publication that focuses solely on the enrichment of nursing knowledge, theory development and research. In 1992, she founded the Institute of Human Becoming where she teaches the various aspects of human becoming concepts. She is also president of Discovery International, Inc. that sponsors nursing theory conferences throughout the world. Her theory serves as a guide for nursing practice in many countries, and her research methods are used by nursing scholars worldwide. She also has published many books and nursing journal articles that contribute to the body of nursing knowledge. A well known speaker, she gives workshops and presentations in the United States and internationally.

Honors and Awards

Dr. Parse is well known in the medical and nursing world and has received many prestigious honors. She was given Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Midwest Nursing Research Society and the Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. The Henderson State University School of Nursing in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, endowed a scholarship in her name, and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society in Nursing named two of her books to the "best picks" list. In 2008, the Society of Rogerian Scholars presented her with the Martha E. Rogers Golden Slinky Award. She was also given the New York Times Nurse Educator of the Year Award.

Human Becoming Theory

Dr. Parse studied many philosophers when she was creating her theory and also was greatly influenced by Martha E. Rogers, a nursing theorist who developed the Theory of Unitary Human Beings that was published in 1970. The works of the philosophers and Dr. Rogers are complex and require careful study for understanding. Dr. Parse presented her theory in a way that made the philosophical principles easier to understand and lent itself to developing a curriculum in human becoming education.

The basic position of Parse's theory is that each person determines well being from his or her perspective. This guides nurses to focus on quality of life as determined by each patient. It differs greatly from other nursing theories that focus on either the biological-medical approach or the holistic biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual approach. The structure of the theory centers on personal meaning, rhythmical patterns and the belief that a person constantly transforms. It focuses on human dignity and quality of life as defined by patients, their families and their communities.

Dr. Rosemarie Rizzo Parse is a visionary nursing theorist who has made many contributions to nursing knowledge and nursing practice. Her work is a lasting legacy that has changed the lives of patients, their families and communities as well as the nurses who care for them.

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