Newman’s Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness

Contributor: Jacqueline Fawcett
September 3, 2018

Author – Margaret A. Newman, RN, PhD, FAAN, LL (Living Legend)

Year First Published – 1979

© 2018 Jacqueline Fawcett

Major Concepts


  •  Movement-Space-Time
  • Rhythm
  • Diversity



  • Phenomenon of Interest
  • Engaging of the Practitioner/Researcher with the Client/Participant: The Meeting and Interview
  • Transcription
  • Development of a Narrative–Pattern Recognition
  • Diagram–Pattern Recognition
  • Follow-Up Meeting(s)–Pattern Recognition
  • Application of the Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness

A grand theory of nursing.

Brief Description

Newman’s work focuses on health as the expansion of consciousness. The goal of nursing “is not to make people well, or to prevent their getting sick, but to assist people to utilize the power that is within them as they evolve toward higher levels of consciousness” (Newman, M. A. (1979). Theory development in nursing (p. 67). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.)

Primary Sources

Newman, M. A. (1979). Theory development in nursing. Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis.

Newman, M. A. (1981). The meaning of health. In G.E. Lasker (Ed.), Applied systems and cybernetics: Proceedings of the International Congress on Applied Systems Research and Cybernetics: Vol. 4. Systems research in health care, biocybernetics and ecology (pp. 1739–1743). New York, NY: Pergamon.

Newman, M. A. (1983). Newman’s health theory. In I. Clements & F. Roberts (Eds.), Family health: A theoretical approach to nursing care (pp. 161–175). New York, NY: Wiley.

Newman, M. A. (1986). Health as expanding consciousness. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Newman, M. A. (1990b). Shifting to higher consciousness. In M.E. Parker (Ed.), Nursing theories in practice (pp. 129–139). New York, NY: National League for Nursing.

Newman, M. A. (1992). Nightingale’s vision of nursing theory and health. In F. Nightingale, Notes on nursing: What it is, and what it is not (Commemorative edition, pp. 44–47). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott. [Original work published in 1859.]

Newman, M. A. (1992). Window on health as expanding consciousness. In M. O’Toole (Ed.), Miller Keane encyclopedia and dictionary of medicine, nursing, and allied health (5th ed., p. 650). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders.

Newman, M. A. (1994). Health as expanding consciousness (2nd ed.). New York, NY: National League for Nursing. [Reprinted 2000. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.]

Newman, M. A. (1995). A developing discipline: Selected works of Margaret Newman. New York, NY: National League for Nursing Press.

Newman, M. A. (1997). Evolution of the theory of health as expanding consciousness. Nursing Science Quarterly, 10, 22–25.

Newman, M. A. (1997). Experiencing the whole. Advances in Nursing Science, 20(1), 34–39.

Newman, M. A. (2002). The pattern that connects. Advances in Nursing Science, 24(3), 1-7.

Newman, M. A. (2003). A world of no boundaries. Advances in Nursing Science, 26, 240-245.

Newman, M. A. (2008). Transforming practice: The difference that nursing makes. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis

Newman, M. A., & Jones, D. A. (2007). Experiencing the whole: Health as expanding consciousness (state of the art). In C. Roy & D. A. Jones (Eds.), Nursing knowledge development and clinical practice (pp. 119-128). New York, NY: Springer.

Picard, C., & Jones, D. (Eds.). (2005). Giving voice to what we know: Margaret Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness in practice, research, and education. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.


Margaret A. Newman (1933 – )


  • BS in Home Economics and English (1954) Baylor University, Waco, TX
  • BS in Nursing (1962), University of Tennessee, Memphis
  • MS in Medical-Surgical Nursing and Teaching (1964), University of California, San Francisco
  • PhD in Nursing (1971), New York University, New York, NY


  • Faculty positions at University of Tennessee, Memphis; New York University (1971-1977); Pennsylvania State University (1977-1984); and the University of Minnesota (1984-1996).(From and Brown, J. W. (2010). Health as expanding consciousness. In M. R. Alligood & A. M. Tomey, Nurse theorists and their work, (pp. 480-502). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.)