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William F. Connell School of Nursing

Frequently Asked Questions

sr. callista roy and the roy adaptation model

1. WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO DEVELOP THE ROY ADAPTATION MODEL?

As a master's student at University of Calif. Los Angeles, I was studying Advanced Pediatric Nursing with Dorothy E. Johnson and became convinced of the importance of clearly describing the goal of nursing to develop knowledge for practice. I had read only one paragraph on adaptation, but from my practice was aware of the great resiliency of children who could adapt to difficult changes, but needed the help of nurses. Thus, I boldly asserted that the goal of nursing is to promote patient adaptation. Dorothy Johnson asked what I meant by that. I have now spent over 35 years exploring the answer to her question. Using the model as the basis of the curriculum at Mount St. Mary's College was very important in the development of the model.


2. HAVE YOU CHANGED OR EXPANDED YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY FROM YOUR EARLY WORK TO THE UPDATED MODEL?

Although my own basic spiritual beliefs have not changed, the breadth and depth with which I am able to express them have been expanded by my own spiritual experiences. Such experiences include retreats on de Chardin and on earth spirituality, reading, and association with scholars of various faiths. In about 1983, I began to explore the philosophical assumptions of the model and have updated these in 1988, 1997, and 2000 (see relevant publications).


3. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAJOR CONCEPTS OF THE ROY ADAPTATION MODEL? WHAT ARE THE AIMS AND SCOPES OF THE MODEL?

Major concepts are the person or group as an adaptive system; the environment as internal and external stimuli; health as being and becoming whole and integrated; and nursing as the art and science of promoting adaptation. The philosophic and scientific assumptions are basic underlying concepts. The model aims to direct nursing practice, research and education. The widespread us of the model in each of these areas is well documented, for example, in all areas of practice, all levels of education, and in quantitative and qualitative research.


4. WHAT IS YOUR WORLDVIEW?

Veritivity is a philosophical assumption that recognizes the purposefulness of human existence and the common purposefulness of all people. It is also more grounded than relativism and has the possibility of providing a worldview of cosmic unity, whereby persons and environment are integrated and achieve a final common destiny.


5. HOW DO YOU FEEL THE MODEL HAS CONTRIBUTED TO THE NURSING PROFESSION?

Major developments in educational curricula include the fact that by 1987 over 100,000 nurses graduated from programs based Roy Model. Evidence that the model has been a basis for research is provided by a review of 163 studies from 44 English-speaking journals, on 5 continents from 1970 through 1994 (see book published by Sigma Theta Tau). The impact on practice through implementation projects has been reported in the literature and the thinking of countless nurses in caring for patients have been affected, including myself.


6. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS AREAS OF FUTURE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE ROY ADAPTATION MODEL?

The areas of further development for the Roy Adaptation Model include:

  • further clarification of the relationship among the adaptive modes
  • study of the role of the cognator and regulator in promoting adaptation
  • further explanation of the philosophical assumptions of the model
  • strategies to implement the model in practice
  • research instruments to measure the key concepts of the model


7. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT?

That is yet to come and may be made by one of my students.


8. HOW CAN WE AS NOVICE NURSES USE OR APPLY THE MODEL TO OUR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE? I.E., ACUTE/SUBACUTE/HOME HEALTH?

The model provides a way of thinking about people and their environment that is useful in any setting. It helps one prioritize care and challenges the nurse to move the patient from survival to transformation.


9. CAN YOU BRIEFLY TELL US WHERE YOU WERE BORN AND YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND?

Sister Callista Roy was born in Los Angeles, CA and grew up in that area. She is the 2nd of 14 children. She holds a BA in nursing from Mt. St Mary's College, an MS, in Pediatric Nursing, and an MA and PhD in Sociology from University of California, Los Angeles. In addition she was a post-doc fellow in neuroscience nursing for two years at the University of California, San Francisco.



10. CAN YOU BRIEFLY EXPLAIN THE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUR EARLIER PUBLICATIONS AND THE MOST RECENT BOOK?

The earlier books focused mainly on the patient as an individual adapting in four adaptive modes. There was less exploration of human life processes, coping abilities, and adaptation levels. The 1999 edition describes both individual, or person, and group, or relational person, adaptive life processes in all four modes. The cognator-regulator and stabilizer-innovator as major coping processes are further described and three levels of adaptation are introduced with examples of each: integrated life processes, compensatory, and compromised processes.



11. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE RECENT UPDATES TO THE ROY ADAPTATION MODEL?

  • Review of research for 5 years after the published 25 year review, will include implications for practice, theory development, and research, particularly evaluation of instruments to measure the key concepts
  • Development of the philosophical basis and relation to spirituality with global cultural considerations
  • Clinical research on coping and adaptation, including scale development, based on a middle-range theory derived from the model
  • Clinical research on cognitive recovery from mild head injury as sample of knowledge development.