Using the Neuman Systems Model with GRIT

Contributor: Betsy M. McDowell, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF

I live in a southern state of the United States. Southerners are known for eating grits, whether as shrimp and grits, grits casserole, cheese grits, or numerous other grits recipes. So, it may be surprising that I personally have never been a big fan of grits. I am, however, a proponent of theory-based education, practice, and research, and a passionate devotee of the Neuman Systems Model. To take this further, I suggest that the Neuman Systems Model be used with GRIT.

Using the Neuman Systems Model with GRIT begins with Gratitude for Betty Neuman who gave the world a distinctive way of thinking of humans and their environments and health as wholes, not parts. Dr. Neuman died earlier this year after giving us 50 years (Neuman, 1972; Neuman & Young, 1972) of a solid foundation for caring for diverse client systems. We honor her by carefully nurturing her vision and helping it evolve further.

Using the Neuman Systems Model with GRIT includes extending Respect for all nursologists and others who have employed the Neuman Systems Model to guide their research, education, and practice. The prevention-as-intervention strategies that result from applying the Model are not limited to nursology practice, instead providing effective evidence-based approaches available to all healthcare team members regardless of setting.

Using the Neuman Systems Model with GRIT involves Initiative when we are alert for client system stressors, whether positive or negative, and purposefully choose the Neuman Systems Model to guide practice, education, and research. Even if our setting specifies use of one or more approaches to care or permits diverse care perspectives, we look at situations through the wholistic lens of the Neuman Systems Model and blend Neuman’s model with the mandated and/or other applicable viewpoints, whether in direct patient care, classroom or clinical settings, or research processes.

Using the Neuman Systems Model with GRIT is accomplished with Tenacity when we intentionally follow Dr. Neuman’s practice methodology. This occurs when we identify client systems in need of care, perform wholistic assessments of client systems and stressors experienced by these client systems, implement appropriate prevention-as-intervention strategies, and evaluate progress towards client system stability.

In closing, I issue an invitation to the many users of the Neuman Systems Model to commit to using it with GRIT. In this way we will honor Dr. Betty Neuman’s vision and provide wholistic care individualized for each client system in our practice, education, and/or research.


Neuman, B. (1972). The Neuman systems model: Application to nursing education and practice. Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Neuman, B., & Young, R.J. (1972). A model for teaching total person approach to patient problems. Nursing Research, 21(3), 264-269.


My sincere appreciation goes to Dr. Jacqueline Fawcett for getting me started on this blog. Yes, I did enjoy writing it.

About Betsy M. McDowell

Betsy M. McDowell, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, is professor emerita of nursing having taught for 48 years in prelicensure nursing programs at Lander University and Newberry College in South Carolina; both of these schools have curricula based on the Neuman Systems Model. Her clinical practice and scholarship as a pediatric nurse include using the Neuman Systems Model to aid children following Hurricane Hugo and child victims of domestic violence. She currently is president of the Neuman Systems Model Trustees Group, Inc.

5 thoughts on “Using the Neuman Systems Model with GRIT

  1. Thank you to all for your comments on my blog. I’m glad you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed sharing it.

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