The Neuman System Model

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Every professional has a role to play in today’s society. There are engineers who exist to build and develop new technologies and doctors who prevent and treat every form of illness. This is the same for nurses all over the world who provide nursing care to their patients to the best of their knowledge. As such, there is a need to continuously improve health systems, performances, and nursing science. Thus, various scholars have developed models, theories, and philosophies to help nurses deal with the constant pressure and stress at their workplaces. In this regard, Betty Neuman developed the Neuman system model that seeks to develop independence and professionalism in nursing.  

Working as a nurse exposes an individual to high levels of anxiety and stress. They have to provide quick responses to urgent conditions and are at times overworked. Amidst all this, nurses are required to physically and psychologically respond positively to the patients’ demands. Moreover, they are required to form healthy relationships with other healthcare staff and patients. Such circumstances required skilled and knowledgeable personnel that can deal with the associated stress. Additionally, modern care givers are using sophisticated equipment that further adds to the psychological and emotional stress (Neuman & Fawcett, 2002). Continuously working under such conditions causes burnout syndrome among nurses and negatively affects the quality of healthcare. In this regard, the Neuman model suggests that nurses find way to identify and cope with stress and anxiety.  

The Neuman system model looks to help nurses respond to environmental stressors. The model seeks to address performance and nursing response to patients’ conditions. Here, the patient acts as a interacting system that has intra-, extra-, and inter-personal stressors that attack the his/her natural defense. Interestingly, this natural defense is protected by a flexible line of defense and the two combine to protect individuals from acute health problems (Neuman & Fawcett, 2002). Additionally, a patient has resistance lines made up of social, psychological, spiritual, physiological, and developmental variables that protect the basic structure. Under the Neuman model, nurses must strengthen these variables so that they can improve their health and coping ability and that of a patient. For instance, nurses at times suffer traumatic psychological disorders due to high workload. To overcome or prevent such situation requires organizational and cooperative supportive systems that reduce these injuries. The Neuman model also suggests that increasing the knowledge base among nurses can help create awareness of stressful factors

and how to overcome them.

Figure 1. An image depicting how Neuman system model works

The image above illustrates the various defense mechanisms that exist within living organisms. The red outline represents the natural defense while the yellow flame like painting represents the flexible line of defense. The plant at the center represents the basic structure or patient who requires protection against stressors. Once the natural defense is penetrated the flexible defense line plays it part to protect the patient (Neuman & Fawcett, 2002). Additionally, the blue painting represents the line of resistance that seeks to stabilize the patient’s system. From the above discussion, readers can conclude that this image illustrates the simplicity and clarity of Neuman’s model.

Conclusively, the Neuman’s model provides the most practical way to control stressful situation in the nursing profession. Nurses provide patient with primary care that protects and strengthens the flexible and normal lines of defense. Secondly, nurses must fortify the internal defense lines that help increase resistance to stressors. Thirdly, applying the model also help nurses cope with high workload and pressure from patients’ families. Lastly, the practicing the model helps nurses stabilizes and build the wellness of a patient to full recovery.   


Neuman, B. & Fawcett, J. (2002). The Neuman Systems Model. (4th ed.), New Jersey, NJ: Pearson Education.

October 13, 2023

Health Profession



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