Dorothy Johnson biography: Life story of the nursing theorist of Behavioral System Model
Dorothy Johnson was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1919. She was the youngest in a family of seven. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, and her Masters in Public Health from Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts. She began publishing her ideas about nursing soon after graduation from Vanderbilt. Most of her education career was in Pediatric Nursing at the University of California, Los Angeles. She withdrew from the academe as a Professor Emeritus at January 1, 1978.
Dorothy Johnson has influenced nursing through her publications since the 1950′s. Through her career, Johnson has made her cause on the importance of Research-Based Knowledge about the effect of nursing care on clients. She was an early advocate of Nursing as a Science as well as an Art. She also assumed that nursing had a body of Knowledge reflecting both the science and the art.
From the beginning, Johnson projected that the science of nursing necessary for effective nursing care included a mixture of key concepts drawn from basic and applied sciences.
In 1961, Johnson proposed that nursing care facilitated the client’s maintenance of a state of equilibrium. Johnson projected that clients were “stressed” by a stimulus of either an internal or external nature. These stressful stimuli shaped such conflict, or “tensions,” in the patient that a state of disequilibrium occured. Johnson recognized two areas of focus for nursing care that are based in giving back to the client to a state of equilibrium, or a balance. First, nursing care should lessen stimuli that are stressors, and second, nursing care should offer support of the client’s normal defenses and adaptive process.
In 1992, Johnson uttered that much of her thinking was influenced by Florence Nightingale. While reading Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing, she found that Nightingale placed importance on the primary needs of people rather than the disease process. She also noted that Nightingale gave a little bit of importance on the connection of the person to the environment rather than the disease to the person. In the 1950′s and 1960′s, as Johnson enlarged her model, an escalating number of observational studies on child and adult behavior patterns were available. During these same years, the General Systems Theory was also discussed frequently. All these experiences influenced Johnson in the development of her Behavioral Systems Model.
In 1968, Johnson first proposed her model of nursing care as the nuturing of the competent and helpful behavioral functioning in the patient to avoid illness. Consequently, the patient is seen as a behavioral system with several subsystems.At this point, Johnson began to join concepts related to system models into her work.Johnson’s combination of systems into her work was further demonstrated by her statement that nursing was concerned with man as an incorporated whole, and this is the specific knowledge nurses must require.
In 1980, Johnson made in print her conceptualization of the Behavioral System Model for Nursing. This the first work published by Johnson that defines her definitions of the Behavioral System Model. The evolution of this complex model is clearly demonstrated in the progression of Johnson’s ideas from works published in the 1950s to her latest available work published in 1980.
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