Imogene King
Nurse Theorist
Nurse 324
Spring 2013
Jamie Ziemba
Maia Novak
Staci Wandell
Born: January 30, 1923 in Iowa
Died: December 24, 2007 after suffering from a
stroke in Florida
1945- Received basic nursing education
from St. John’s Hospital in St Louis, MS
1948- Completed her Bachelors of Science
in Nursing education from St. Louis
1957- earned her Master of Science in
Nursing from St. Louis University
1961- completed her doctor of education
degree (EdD) from Teachers College,
Columbia University in New York City
(Chitty and Black, 2011, p 311).
Life of Imogene King
Imogene King is a legend to Nursing Theory. Until the day she
had her stroke she was a contributing person to Nursing
theories and the Americas Nursing Association. She never
retired she always remained involved with the Nursing
Profession. In her lifetime she received many awards. The
following are a few of the greatest received.
2004- Inducted into America’s Nursing Assoication (ANA) Hall
Inducted into Florida’s Nursing Association (FNA) Hall of
Inducted into the Teachers College, Columbia University
Hall of fame
2005- Declared a Living Legend by the America’s Nursing
(Stevens and Messmer, 2008, p 100).
Imogene King’s theory was about patients and nurses working together to mutually set
goals that were achievable by the patient to help them attain and maintain health. The
key to her theory is that the goals have to be set mutually, the patient had to be
involved in his or her care, and that the nurse patient relationship was crucial to have.
King was able to do this by the three integrated working systems. (Persons, interpersonal
relationships, and social contexts)(Clarke et al, 2009).
Leading up to her theory…
Motivation for developing her theory…
According to Clarke et al, from Nursing Science
Quarterly 2009, Imogene’s motivation was her Uncle who
was a Surgeon. When she sought out nursing as a
profession it was during the depression. The depression
uprooted her family from their home and forced them to
move. Her uncle made her a deal that he would pay for
her tuition if she went to St John’s Hospital to pursue a
degree in Nursing. In 1945 she completed her basic
education from St. John’s Hospital and she never stopped
continuing her education (Clarke, 2009).
Leading up to her theory…
Philosophic Values about nursing and knowledge
The values King held close to heart are those the same
as many nurses; “honesty, integrity, justice, and
respect for every human being.” She also believed that
the patients had the right to privacy, selfdeterminations, and information to make informed
choices (King, 2007). Imogene King was a life long
learner, her goal was to attain or regain health of an
individual. She has had an everlasting impression on
the nursing profession and the nurses who worked
with her. Her theory has been heard around the
world and is practiced throughout.
Leading up to her theory…
What influenced her?
Patients. That easily stated. Imogene King never
stopped working for her patients until the day
she died. Her theory is based off of goal
attainment by the patient and the nurse. Nursepatient relationships had to be formed in order
for the patient to regain their health status.
Imogene King was 100% about helping her
patients in what they needed help in to better
their lives. She was their key to unlock the door
to a better and brighter future (Clarke et al,
Imogene’s response to a someone asking
her if she has ever defined the ‘Nurse’s
Act’ was…
“Not that I know of, but first one needs to define
a ‘human act’ because nurses and the clients they
serve are first and foremost human beings.”
(Fawcett, 2001).
I believe that this further shows that Imogene
King was committed to her patients being the
number one priority.
Evaluation of the Nursing Model
Myra Levine
Von Bertalanffy
Imogene King’s Theory of Goal Attainment was developed at a
time when nurses were striving to be professionals.
Her theory was developed from the research of the General
System Theory by von Bertalanffy and adjunctive knowledge
by Myra Levine. King knew that it was important to cross
disciplines to get an adequate theory.
The two questions that her perspective of nursing came from
What is the essence of nursing?
What is the human act?
(Fawcett, 2001)
Evaluation of the Nursing Model
Imogene King’s theory does describe
the four global concepts of person,
health, environment and nursing.
I believe this because of her
theory behind the interacting
systems. They all interact to
create who we are today.
King’s Theory can be used in any
form of Nursing. Obstetrics,
Emergency, Operating, or Medical
Nursing all involves the patient
being the number one priority
and all forms of these types of
nursing are patient centered.
Evaluation of the Nursing Model
According to Clarke et al, (2009)
there have been 11 theories
published that were stemmed
from King’s theory of Goal
Attainment. The theories that
are based from hers have their
own ideas but her skeleton
framework of patient centered
care. Imogene King was a great
leader with great ideas, it
makes sense that people are
working from her original
In the Emergency Room, after a
patient from a motor vehicle
accident suffers from an arm
amputation, after the patient is
stable, the nurse refocuses on the
patient and their feelings of loss and
decreased self-esteem. They set
goals together.
Home health nurses, they
enter into a patients home
and have to make that
connection. Once they make
the connection then the
patient trusts them and is
able to make the mutual
goals to be achieved.
With inpatients, the
patient may feel like
they have to wait a long
time, King was patient
centers. Televisions area
distraction to patients so
it doesn’t appear they
are waiting that long.
With any type of nursing when the
patient does not understand their
medication or procedure and the
nurse properly educates the
individual, this is an example of
King’s theory. In order for the
patient to comply with their
regimen then they have to
understand it
A Theory for Nursing: Systems, Concepts, Process was published in
-discusses three systems
-the focus of King’s work is setting goals and determining how the
goals set between the nurse and patient are going to be met
-King’s work is not linear because assessment, planning, goal setting,
intervention, and evaluation and can happen concurrently.
(Chitty and Black, 2011)
System Levels
• Personal system is when the nurse focuses on
what the patient’s perceptions are
• interpersonal system is discovering the
patient’s role and possible stressors
• Social system is used to help determine what
influences the patient to make decisions
(Chitty and Black, 2011).
King’s Ideas
• Clear communication is essential between the
nurse and patient
• King discusses the progression of progression
of relationship building from perception,
judgment, action, reaction, and interaction
• King understood the importance of
monitoring the progress of reaching the
patient’s goals
Consequences of King’s work
• If the nurse and the patient have good communication than goals will be
• If the patient meets their goals than they will be satisfied with their health
• Growth and development will be enhanced with successful interaction
between nurse and patient
• It is important that the expectations and roles of the patient are clear and
the nurse agrees with them
• If there is conflict between the nurse and patient then this will create
stress in their relationship
• Communication is essential in order to set appropriate goals and have
these goals be meet
• If nurse with special knowledge skill communicate appropriate
information to client, mutual goal setting and goal attainment will occur
("Imogene king's theory," 2012)
Imogene King influenced nursing immensely.
A great nurse is one that treats their
patients with respect and dignity. They not
only share medical knowledge, but they also
teach their patients about his or her medical
conditions. Great nurses are taught to help
patients set reasonable goals and determine
how those goals will be met. Keep Imogene
King’s ideas and concepts in mind next time
you interact with your patients.
Case Study
Amelia is a 17-year-old and a senior in high school. She loves playing basketball and signed a contract to
play in college. Last week she fell during a game and just found out that she has to have surgery to
repair her ACL. She is currently going through lots of mixed emotions. She is sad and depressed, but
mostly right now she is experiencing lots of anxiety about her upcoming surgery. Keeping Imogene King
in mind, answer the following questions about Amelia and her current anxiety.
What are some physiological symptoms of anxiety?
a. Elevated BP
b. Insomnia
c. Inability to concentrate in school
d. All of the Above
2. State 2 appropriate outcomes/goals for Amelia
3. What are 3 interventions that the nurse can help with and initiate?
4. Paying close attention to Amelia’s perception of anxiety is an example of which one of King’s
a. Interpersonal system
b. Personal system
c. Social system
Chitty, K.K., & Black, B.P. (2011). Professional nursing: Concepts and challenges (6th ed.) Maryland Heights, MO: Sanders
Clarke, P., Killeen, M., Messmer, P., & Sieloff, C. (2009). Imogene M. King's scholars reflect on her wisdom and influence on nursing
science. Nursing Science Quarterly, 22(2), 128-133. doi:
Fawcett, J. (2001). Scholarly dialogue. The nurse theorists: 21st-century updates -- Imogene M. King. Nursing Science Quarterly, 14
(4), 311-315.
Imogene king's theory of goal attainment . (2012, January 30). Retrieved from
King, I. (2007).King’s conceptual sytem, theory of goal attainment, and transaction process in the 21st century. Nursing Science
Quarterly, 20(109), 109-111. DOI: 10.1177/0894318407299846
Stevens, K., & Messmer, P. (2008). In remembrance of Imogene M. King, January 30, 1923 -- December 24, 2007: Imogene, a
pioneer and dear colleague. Nursing Outlook, 56(3), 100-101. (Staci’s Weblink)