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Callista Roy

Sister Callista Roy is a dynamic nursing theorist who developed the Adaptation Model of Nursing. It is considered to be a mid-range theory that has the goal of supporting the overall health of patients.

Early Life

Lorraine Callista Roy was born on October 14, 1939, in Los Angeles, California. She was named after Saint Callistus, an early Christian martyr whose name was on the Roman Catholic Calendar the day she was born. Callista was the second child in a family of seven boys and seven girls. When she was born, her parents, Wilfred and Perth Irene Hemenway Roy, were living with her grandparents in a multigenerational household of ten. She was raised in a family with strong Catholic ties. Her father was a truck driver and her mother was a licensed vocational nurse. Her mother taught her the importance of caring for people and influenced her choice of career. She also gives credit to her excellent teachers in parochial schools, high school and college. At the age of 14, Callista began working in the kitchen at a local hospital and then became a nursing assistant. After she graduated from high school, she decided to join the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet.

Education and Career

In 1963, Sister Callista earned a Bachelor of Arts in Nursing (BAN) from Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. After working as a staff nurse at St. Mary's Hospital in Tucson, Arizona, and as an administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital in Lewiston, Idaho, she entered the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and earned a master's degree in pediatric nursing in 1966. She then returned to Mount St. Mary's Hospital as a member of the faculty, teaching both pediatric and maternity nursing. Shortly after this, she developed encephalomyelitis and was bedridden. She was forced to take a leave of absence, but returned to work in 1968. A number of years later she would have an acoustic neuroma removed. It was during these early years at Mount St. Mary's that Roy began developing her adaptive theory. She organized her course work around her view of persons and families as adaptive systems and developed an integrated nursing curriculum. In 1970, St. Mary's College adopted her model as part of the teaching curriculum. She was appointed as chair of the nursing department in 1971 and remained in that position until 1982. In 1973, she earned a second master's degree from UCLA in sociology and in 1977, a Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA. She then took postdoctoral studies in neuroscience nursing at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her interest in this field was prompted by her own experiences with neurological diseases, and she wanted to expand her knowledge of the holistic person as an adaptive system. By 1981, her model of nursing practice was well known, and Dr. Roy and her colleagues consulted with at least 30 other schools to teach them how to use the model in their associate to doctoral level nursing program curricula. During this time, Dr. Roy also helped develop a master's of science program in nursing at the University of Portland in Oregon. She was in demand as a speaker and spoke throughout the world about her model for nursing. After postdoctoral studies in neuroscience nursing at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), she began teaching graduate nursing theory courses at both UCSF and the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College. Her interest in this field was prompted by her own experiences with neurological diseases, and she wanted to expand her knowledge of the holistic person as an adaptive system. In 1987, she accepted a position at Boston College to help develop a Ph.D. program in nursing. She also was given a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award from the Australian-American Educational Foundation that allowed her to travel to Australia in 1988. In addition to her teaching, Dr. Roy is continually refining and updating her model for nursing and is active in neuroscience research projects. Her latest research focuses on nursing interventions for those who have suffered mild head injuries. She has co-chaired Knowledge Conferences that are hosted by Boston College School of Nursing. She served on the Board of the International Network for Doctoral Education from 2003 to 2006.

Honors and Awards

Throughout her long career, Dr. Roy has received many honors. A partial list includes honorary doctorates from four universities, the National League for Nursing Martha Rogers Award for advancing nursing science and the Sigma Theta Tau International Founders Award for advancing professional practice. In 2007, she received the American Academy of Nursing Living Legend Award.

Nursing Theory

Callista Roy's theory builds on patients' adaptive abilities and its goals promote measures that contribute to quality of life. She has spent her life in the service of others and has elevated the practice of nursing to a science that can be measured by research.

Publications related to Sister Callista Roy

Why I Want To Be A Nurse
 
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