Human Becoming Theory with a Case Study

Rosemarie Rizzo Parse is a well-known nursing theorist and researcher who has made significant contributions to nursing. Her Human Becoming Theory, also known as the Theory of Human Becoming, is a holistic and person-centered approach to nursing that emphasizes each patient’s unique experiences and the importance of empowering patients to participate in their own care. This article will provide an overview of the Human Becoming Theory, its key components, and its practical applications in nursing practice.

The Key Components of Human Becoming Theory

Human Becoming Theory is a holistic and person-centered approach to nursing that emphasizes the importance of understanding and respecting each patient’s unique experiences. The theory is based on four key components:

  • Phenomenology
  • Subject-subject interaction
  • Spirit, caritas, and transcendence
  • Pattern, process, and rhythm.

Phenomenology is the study of human experiences and the subjective meaning that individuals give to those experiences. In nursing, this component of the Human Becoming Theory emphasizes the importance of understanding each patient’s unique experiences and the meaning they give to those experiences.

Subject-subject interaction refers to the dynamic relationship between the nurse and the patient, in which both individuals are active participants in the care process. This theory component emphasizes the importance of fostering a collaborative relationship between the nurse and the patient to promote patient autonomy and empower patients to participate in their care.

Spirit, caritas, and transcendence refer to the spiritual dimension of nursing care. This component recognizes that patients have a spiritual dimension to their lives and acknowledges the importance of incorporating spirituality into nursing care.

Pattern, process, and rhythm refer to human existence’s cyclical and dynamic nature. This theory component emphasizes the importance of understanding human life’s patterns, processes, and rhythms to provide holistic and patient-centered care.

Human Becoming Theory in Nursing Practice

Human Becoming Theory is applied in nursing practice in several ways, including; emphasizing the person-center approach, encouraging holistic and patient-centered care, incorporating spirituality into nursing care, and promoting patient autonomy, and empowering patients to participate in their care.(Human Becoming Theory)

A. Emphasizing the person-centered approach involves focusing on each patient’s unique experiences and needs rather than treating patients as a homogeneous group. This approach is based on the belief that each patient has unique experiences, needs, and goals and that nursing care should be tailored to meet those needs.

B. Encouraging holistic and patient-center care involves taking into account the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of a patient’s life to provide comprehensive and integrated care. This approach recognizes that patients are complex individuals and that nursing care should address all aspects of their lives to promote healing and well-being.

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C. Incorporating spirituality into nursing care involves recognizing the spiritual dimension of human existence and incorporating spiritual practices and beliefs into the care process. This can include activities such as prayer, meditation, or rituals, as well as more general approaches to care that take into account the spiritual needs of patients.

D. Promoting patient autonomy and empowering patients to participate in their care involves encouraging them to take an active role in their care and make decisions about their health and well-being. This approach is based on the belief that patients are experts in their own lives and that they should be involved in the decision-making process regarding their care.

Case Study on Human Becoming Theory

 The hospice nurse sat with Ann\’s husband, Ben. Ann was resting quietly as the increased dosage of IV pain medication gradually reached its therapeutic level. Ben turned his head and slowly turned, looking out the room\’s only window. As he glanced up, a small flicker of light caught his breath. It was a shooting star. A tear fell from the corner of his eye, and he turned to Ann. The nurse sensed that something significant to Ann and Ben was unfolding. Shuffling to Ann\’s bedside, he took her small, fragile hand in his. These hands had rocked cradles, burped babies, and groomed the horses she loved to ride. Gently holding her hand, he turned to the nurse. \”She would ride like the wind was chasing her.\” Looking back to Ann his voice broke; choking back tears \”Ann, Ann I saw Jessie…Jessie is calling.\” Ben turned \”Jessie was our daughter. She died having a baby that was too big. When she died, it was a pitch-black night. Cold, so cold, the baby died too, a little boy named him Abe, Jr. after Jessie\’s husband. I took Ann outside so she could cry to God above, and there in this dark sky, we saw two falling stars…together…just falling. We knew it had to be Jessie and Abe…two angels to light up the night.\” Ben turned back as a deep sigh escaped from Ann\’s lips. A soft smile remained as she joined Jessie and Abe.(Human Becoming Theory)

  • Based on this case study, how would the nurse actualize Parse\’s theory of Human Becoming?
  • What are the characteristics of a human becoming nurse?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of this theory of nursing?
  • From the nursing theories we have discussed, what additional theory would you apply to this case study? Develop a plan of care to include both nursing theories (be specific and provide reasons)

Actualization of Parse’s Theory of Human Becoming Based on this Case

Parse’s theory emphasizes freedom of expression, choice, and human dignity. In this case, the nurse should provide psychological support to Ben. Death is distressing, and as part of patient care, the nurse should guide Ben through that difficult moment. This is an example of End of Life care, where the nurses are supportive tools to make the last moments as comfortable as possible for the patient and the family.

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The theory requires nurses to respect patients’ and families’ preferences and wishes. The patient is an individual with personal preferences about how they want to spend their End of Life. Some considerations include a preferred dying place, how the patients want the nurse to control pain and symptoms, life support preferences, psychological support for patients and families, and what relieving equipment the patient would prefer.(Human Becoming Theory)

Nurses should consider themselves an integral part of patient care and offer emotional encouragement. The theory considers a person’s biological, psychological, and spiritual elements. Therefore, the nurse understands that different patients have varying needs and recommends an approach that suits their individuality.

The End of Life is challenging for the family, who has to come to terms with reality. The nurse should listen to Ben’s words, offer encouragement, and grant their final wishes. Parse advises that nurses should do things with patients and not for patients. The nurse and the patient’s relationship considers that the patient has control over their life and has set goals that nurses should help in realization. Parse’s theory is vital in Hospice Nursing, guiding nurses on how they should relate to dying people and their families.

Characteristics of Human Becoming Nurses

Human becoming involves the freedom of personal meaning selection in situations that relate to living values. Human Becoming nurses should have more compassion and courage to deal with patients who are terminally ill. Death is different for every person, and these nurses need to be comfortable, compassionate, and courageous in these uncertain moments. The nurses need to serve the patient’s individual needs and circumstances.

Human Becoming nurses need flexibility in developing tailored plans that serve every patient’s unique needs. In addition, the nurses should be able to provide medically oriented and emotionally based care. These interventions include checking critical signs, pain management, medication, and reporting complications. Finally, the nurses also need the flexibility to shift services from prolonged life to end-of-life care.

The nurses should have the tenacity to live in the moment with the patients, respect their preferences, and apply a holistic approach to guide them through death’s grey areas. Human Becoming nurses should be conversant with the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual factors.(Human Becoming Theory)

Parse’s theory provides a transformative approach to all nurses. It seeks to address issues and allow nurses to operate according to the patient’s perspectives. Parse pedagogy contributes to nurses’ and patients’ lives. Nurses can, therefore, guide patients towards achieving a quality life of preference. The theory shows transparent relationships between principles, practice areas, and assumptions. Parse also presents a clear distinction between nursing and other disciplines. The theory offers valuable information and guidelines on nursing practice.

The theory corresponds to individual, professional, and social attributes that help nurses perform their expected roles. The primary weakness is that Parse’s research area has no expansion room. As a result, the research methodologies involve results that are difficult to quantify. The theory is also generalized and cannot be accessed or applied in specific practice areas such as acute and emergency rooms. In this case, the theory is particularly for novice nurses.  

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Similar Model to the Human Becoming Theory

Human Caring Theory affirms our respect for human dignity. The case study involves caring through intentional, authentic presence. Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring is applicable in this case. Nurses are responsible for putting the patient in the best position to facilitate the body and soul’s self-healing.

The theory teaches that nurses should be emotionally sensitive and have a caring attitude and energy fundamental in this case study. Nurses can make a difference in how they say and do things. Nurses should be sensitive to patients’ and families’ emotions, thoughts, and attitudes since, according to Watson, a human can only be treated as a whole. In this case, human caring in healthcare is an interpersonal process between the nurse and the care recipient.

Nursing Interventions Rationale

  • Inquire about the level of anxiety and other emotional factors in the family. Emotional factors such as anxiety among family members require intervention before solving the real problem. Some members cannot respond appropriately or deal with the reality of their loved ones dying.
  • Develop a rapport and acknowledgment of this challenging situation to the family.
  • Identify patients’ behavioral and emotional factors that impact dependency.
  • Discuss the patient’s relationship with the family.
  • Determine experience and knowledge in dealing with the situation.
  • Inquire about how the patient and the family want to spend their final moments.
Video Guide


Human Becoming Theory is a holistic and person-centered approach to nursing that emphasizes the unique experiences and needs of each patient. This theory can potentially improve patient care and nurse-patient relationships by promoting patient autonomy, incorporating spirituality into nursing care, and fostering a collaborative relationship between the nurse and the patient. However, the theory has limitations and criticisms, including a need for more empirical evidence and further development and refinement.(Human Becoming Theory)

Despite these challenges, Human Becoming Theory remains a valuable tool for nursing students and practitioners alike, as it provides a framework for understanding the complexities of patient care and promoting holistic and patient-centered care. By continuing to refine and develop the theory, nursing practitioners can improve patient care and promote healing and well-being for all patients.

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Cathy, CS

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