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Applying Newman's Theory of Health in Nursing Practice

This research paper will analyze and evaluate the case of a patient who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.

This research paper will analyze and evaluate the case of a patient who was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. The patient is a 76-year-old man who has a number of problems and has lived in a stressful situation within his family and relatives for many years. Thus, the atmosphere inside the family is not very pleasant and harms everyday life of the patient. In the paper, necessary recommendations to improve the situation in the family will be provided in order to make the last months of the patient’s life happier and less stressful.
Carefully analyzing the scenario provided above, I decided to apply Newman's Theory of Health to help the patient improve the situation and communication with his family members. First of all, Margaret Newman remarked that her theory of health as expanding consciousness (HEC) was the most suitable for patients with cancer who were at the end-of-life period (Endo, 2017). The theory was developed to minimize the negative impact of chronic diseases on the psychological state of patients and to help them be a proactive and valuable part of the community and find a new meaning in life. Margaret Newman developed her theory on the basis of personal experience as she took care of her mother diagnosed with “amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease that progressively diminishes the movement of all muscles except those of the eyes” for more than five years (Smith & Parker, 2015, p. 279). Even in those difficult conditions, Newman managed “to live day by day and was fully immersed in the present” (Smith & Parker, 2015, p. 279). Her mother and she experienced “health” and “wholeness” despite the fact that the chronic disease constantly progressed. Later, she improved and developed her theory to help other people. Newman remarked that every ill person could experience health even if the patient is mentally or physically ill (Smith & Parker, 2015). Newman stressed that the illness of every person had different patterns and each case should be taken separately.
Newman considered health as an expansion of the patient’s consciousness; thus, it is necessary not only to treat symptoms of the disease, but also to develop consciousness of the patient. It is necessary to take into account patient’s life experience, social background, his/her age and gender, hobbies, patterns of behavior, and other factors. Only through a careful analysis of the patient’s interests, it is possible to find out a possible solution on how to enrich his/her life and to connect with the society. Similarly, Newman stated that the patient, his/her family, and the environment, where the person directly lived, were closely interconnected. Thus, it is crucially important to develop consciousness of the patient as it is a “process of becoming more of oneself, of finding greater meaning in life, and of reaching new heights of connectedness with other people and the world” (Smith & Parker, 2015, p. 285). Moreover, application of the HEC can directly lead to the development of patient’s openness not only with respect to him/herself, but also to others. The author of the theory remarked that the nurse should sincerely communicate with the patient and engage the patient in a friendly dialogue to understand better the potential and interests of the patient. It directly helps reach a crucial level of patient’s consciousness and provide a new positive outlook at the future life of the patient and his/her life in the society. The theory also helps the patient to look at his/her disease from another perspective and overcome health limitations. Finally, after a successful application of the HEC, the patient usually continues his/her life in a more positive way and is more motivated to communicate with people around him/her.
At the same time, there is a number of successful cases of the theory application. For example, the HEC theory is used to help HIV-infected people in Kenya. Macharia, Jelagat, and Juma (2015) remark that application of the HEC theory helped a HIV-positive patient improve communication in the family, raise her consciousness, and be more positive. Moreover, the patient changed her attitude to her children and husband as she stopped thinking about herself as a burden for them. She started paying more attention and caring about them. Besides, the patient who successfully obtained necessary support under the requirements of the HEC theory started feeling better and healthier than in the past (Macharia et al. , 2015).
Another positive example of the HEC theory application is provided by Endo, Takaki, and Miyahara (2014). They analyzed a number of cases when Newman’s theory was used in practice. For example, this theory helped improve relationships in the family. A single woman named Haru was diagnosed with cancer and did not show any signs of recovery (Endo, Takaki, & Miyahara, 2014). She refused to communicate with nurses and was very unpleasant in the process of communicating with her father. Thus, nurses decided to utilize Newman’s theory and to help “daughter’s pattern and the father’s pattern came close to each other, thus their love for each other was being expressed” (Endo et al. , 2014). After the father shared his meaningful events with his daughter (how he decided what name to choose, the first birthday present from her, and some others), the daughter changed her unpleasant attitude towards her father and asked him to visit her more often. The HEC theory helped the daughter move away from painful thoughts about past and future chemotherapies and find a new motivation in life. She became much closer to her father and more open for communication with nurses. Moreover, the daughter-father relations moved to a new more positive stage and provided a new meaning in the lives of them both.
During the application of this theory to the scenario provided above, it is necessary to follow several important steps of the HEC development. First of all, it is recommended to establish a mutual process of analysis and inquiry of the patient and his family. After a careful evaluation of the situation, it is necessary to invite the patient to join a private and genuine dialogue. It is recommended to conduct at least three meetings with the patient, during which he would talk about valuable and important events and people in the patient's life. The patient and the nurse should experience a high level of consciousness (Endo, 2017). It is also important for the nurse to build a diagram that will represent the “sequential configurations of relationships and events” (Endo, 2017, p. 52). Later, the nurse should share this diagram with the patient and his family, providing a detailed feedback to them. Finally, the patient and his family should find a meaning in their patterns and move from an unfriendly and nervous atmosphere to trustful caring relationships. The new awareness in their relationship would definitely lead to the development of a new common meaning in the lives of the patient and his family.
Finally, it is necessary to state that Newman’s HEC theory is justly considered as one of universal nursing theories since it can be applied to all patients regardless of the type of their disease, patients’ age and gender, and others factors. This theory can be used for treatment of not only patients with chronic diseases, but also patients who experience difficult psychological situations as it practically helps raise personal self-awareness and self-acceptance, as well as finding a correct and timely solution irrespective of the level of hopelessness experienced by the patient.

About the author: Kira Landy is a young and dreamy girl, with many hobbies. Her favorite hobby is her work. She is a freelance writer at https://essaysleader.com It is the best writing service with whom she worked. From childhood she like writing, researching and help other people. Maybe, this traits decided her choice in work. Also, Kira loves animals, she has a dog Lami, which is family for her.

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