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What is the Neuman Systems Model?

The Neuman Systems Model (NSM) is a practical guideline used by caregiving and administrative staff members to produce positive client outcomes. Dr. Betty Neuman developed the theory based on her education and professional experiences. The model outlines a dynamic script deployed by practitioners around the world, and the framework emphasizes client individuality by considering clients’ unique circumstances and background.

Neuman Systems Model Conspectus

The Neuman Systems Model (NSM) is an operating framework designed to guide caregivers and administrators in helping those in their charge to manage stressors. [1] Globally, NSM practitioners recognize the theory as a valid method to create positive client outcomes. Dr. Neuman aggregated health, business and academia setting best practices. These institution types all apply the theory the help clients manage stressors.

In the healthcare setting, Neuman Systems Model practitioners seek to help patients heal physically, mentally and spiritually. Dr. Neuman encourages users to interpret the framework as it suits their specific environments. To keep the framework current, Dr. Nueman revises and republishes the system periodically.

Portrait of a Theorist

Ohio native Betty Neuman spent considerable time earning her education and constructing NSM theory. She graduated from Peoples Hospital School of Nursing, Akron in 1947. In 1957, the nurse earned majors in public health and psychology from the University of California in Los Angeles. Between 1992 and 1998, other universities awarded Betty Neuman two distinct honorary doctorates for her achievements.

Neuman published her first patient whole-healing theory in the early 70’s and released “Conceptual Models for Nursing Practice,” the published report on the Neuman Systems Model, in 1974. Since then she has released several updated NSM theory editions. [2]

Neuman Systems Model Foundations

Neuman Systems Model practitioners generally follow prescribed assumptions in regard to clients. [3] The model suggests that every client has distinct characteristics and circumstances and responds, within a limited range, to their environment. The theory goes on to warn that several known and unknown stressors can affect clients and possibly disturb their well-being. In the Neuman Systems Model, practitioners call this stability the client’s Line of Defense (LOD). It is how the stressors interact with the patient that determines how the patients’ LOD holds up against stressors. Neuman Systems Model practitioners work to eliminate or mitigate these stressors.

NSM practitioners monitor and note normal client LOD levels and interpret negative deviations from this status as trouble signs. NSM practitioners subscribe to the idea that clients’ support resources strongly influence their stress levels.

The NSM model suggests that all clients have a Line of Resistance (LOR). Clients’ LORs are a defense mechanism used to maintain mental and environmental stability. The LOR continues to function despite clients’ stability status. Neuman Systems Model practitioners use these concepts to create stress preventive environments for clients, allowing them to heal as quickly and wholly as possible.

Heart of the Neuman Systems Model

The Neuman Systems Model operates on the premise that several resource variables affect the client. Clients’ resources determine how they persevere against stressors.

These resources include:

• healthy body temperature
• client stressor response patterns
• client physical health
• client mental health and emotional characteristics
• client genetic makeup

According to NSM theory, clients can maintain stability as long as their stressors do not exceed these available resources. The client’s perpetually cycle through resource exhaustion and rejuvenation. This cycle is crucial to a client’s stability. NSM practitioners work to help clients maintain this stability.

Neuman Method Approaches

NSM practitioners believe clients possess several layers. According to NSM theory, these layers each have five dimensions. The physiological client dimension encompasses body chemistry state, and the client’s psychological dimension involves their mental health. The socio-cultural dimension concerns clients’ relationships and cultural belief systems. NSM practitioners also consider clients’ spiritual beliefs. The fifth NSM dimension takes into account clients’ development throughout their lifespan.

Worldwide, Neuman Systems Model practitioners use the technique to help clients’ heal and function. Dr. Betty Neuman engineered the practice starting in the early 70’s. The model is fluid; Neuman encourages its users to reformulate the model as it applies to their work environment. NSM practitioners treat each client based on their individual characteristics, unique circumstances and background. The methodology is hugely successful, regularly revised and remains current to this day.

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1. Neuman System Model Trustees Group, Inc. Welcome to the Neumans System Model Nursing Theory Betty Neuman Website. Welcome to the Neumans System Model Nursing Theory Betty Neuman Website [Web Page]. 2011. Available at: Accessed 2016.

2. Betty D. NSM Overview as PDF. Welcome to the Neuman Systems Model Nursing Theory Betty Neuman Website. 2005. Accessed 2016.

3. Current Nursing. Betty Neuman’s System Model. Current Nursing [Web Page]. 2012. Available at: Accessed 2016.

4. Neuman Systems Model, Inc. The Neumans Systems Model Trustee Group, Inc. Welcome to the Neuman Systems Model Nursing Theory Betty Neuman Website [Web Page]. 2011. Available at: M. Neuman, R.N., B.S.N. Accessed 2016.