Theory of Human Becoming

Topics: Nursing, Human, Meaning of life Pages: 7 (2359 words) Published: August 3, 2008
The Theory of Human Becoming was first introduced by Rosemarie Parse in 1981 with the goal of creating a nursing theory to enhance nursing knowledge that was grounded in the human sciences (Fawcett 2001). The theory was first introduced as Man-Living-Health, and was later changed to Human Becoming after a change in the term man, previously referring to mankind, which was changed to human kind. Although the name changed, the concept of “humans in mutual process with the universe” (Fawcett 2001) remains the same. This paper will explore the Theory of Human Becoming: its content, concepts, significance and contributions to nursing practice. Context

Rosemarie Parse obtained her BSN at Duquesne University and her MSN and doctorate from the University of Pittsburg (Institute of Human Becoming). Dr. Parse currently holds the position of professor and Niehoff chair at Loyola University in Chicago. Dr Parse is president of Discovery International Inc., founder of The Institute of Human Becoming and the founder and editor of Nursing Science Quarterly (Institute of Human Becoming). Dr. Parse has had numerous articles published, given numerous presentations and conducted many research studies. Her theory has been adopted as a guide for practice in the United States and many foreign countries. The impact of her theory is seen internationally (Institute of Human Becoming).

The Theory of Human Becoming was developed based on Dr. Parse’s lived experiences in nursing and in response to their poor fit into existing paradigms (Walker 1996). The theory is founded in the human sciences philosophy and offers an alternative to the conventional bio-medical and the bio-psycho-social spiritual approach seen in most nursing theories (Institute of Human Becoming). The theory focuses on the human-universe-health process and is based on the premise that the human being pursues and creates his own process of being with the world (Discovery International). The concepts delineated are person, environment and health. The relationships are completeness of health in human beings and the continuous relations between humans and their environment (Discovery International). The uniqueness of the theory is its perspective on paradoxes of human becoming. The theory emphasizes the relationship between human and environment with paradoxical rhythmical patterns (Discovery International). A significant contribution of the theory is providing clarity on the human experiences from a human science perspective. The outcomes of the theory are illuminating meaning, synchronizing rhythms and mobilizing transcendence (Discovery International).

The three metaparadigms found in the theory are the human being, the environment and health (Walker 1996). The human being is defined as “an open, unitary being coexistent with the environment, freely participating in the experience of health and bearing responsibility for choices” (Walker 1996). Parse’s theory believes that the human being is in a state of becoming and humans are in continuous change (Edwards 2000). The second metaparadigm, the environment, is viewed as “a dynamic context which is distinct yet inseparable from man” (Walker 1996). The environment is “recognizable by its own ‘pattern and organization’ and uniquely contributing to the negentropic unfolding known as health (Walker 1996). Health, the final metaparadigm, is “a process of becoming, the accumulation of man’s life experiences, a nonlinear entity that cannot be interrupted or qualified by terms such as good, bad, more or less” (Walker 1996). Therefore, health is simply participating in life (Edwards 2000).

Developed as a human science nursing theory, the Theory of Human Becoming was influenced by and synthesized from the works of several European philosophers and the works of American theorist Martha Rogers (Institute of Human Becoming). One that has strongly influenced the human becoming theory is Merleau-Ponty....

References: Discovery International. (n.d.). The human becoming theory. Retrieved November 9, 2006, from
Edwards, SD. (2000). Critical review of R.R. Parse’s the human becoming school of thought. A perspective for nurses and other health professional. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 31(1): 190-196.
Fawcett, J. (2001). The nurse theorists: 21st-century updates- Rosemarie Rizzo Parse. Nursing Science Quarterly. 14(2): 126-131.
Fawcett, J. (2005). Contemporary nursing knowledge: Analysis and evaluation of nursing models and theories (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Hodges, H.F., Keeley, A.C. & Grier, E.C. (2005). Professional resilience, practice longevity, and Parse’s theory for baccalaureate education. Journal of Nursing Education. 44(12): 548-554.
Institute of Human Becoming. (n.d.). Rosemarie Rizzo Parse. Retrieved November 9, 2006, from
Melnechencko, K.L. (2003). To make a difference: nursing presence. Nursing Forum. 38(2): 18-24.
Parse, R.R. (2005). The human becoming modes of inquiry: emerging sciencing. Research Issues. 18(4): 297-300.
Walker, C.A. (1996). Coalescing the theories of two nurse visionaries: Parse and Watson. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 24: 988-996.
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