Dorothy was born in the year 1919 in Georgia. She was the last-born in a family of seven. At the age of 23, she officially started her nursing career after she graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. While at the university, she was awarded the Vanderbilt Founder's Medal, and, after 2 years, she returned to the university as an instructor in Pediatric Nursing. She later pursued her Master’s Degree in Public Health at Harvard University in 1948. Some of her other great achievements were the Faculty award in 1975, the Lulu Hassenplug Distinguished Achievement Award in 1977, which was association of nurses in California, and the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Award in 1981 for her excellence in nursing. She died at the age of eighty in February 1999 (Andrews, 2008).
Purpose of the Theorist to Nursing
The Johnson Dorothy Behavioral System Model stipulates that behaviors and characters could be predicted by grouping them into subsystems. According to her, all human behaviors can be grouped in one of eight behavioral categories. She further believed that every individual can act in a biased way in order to meet his/her individual objectives. She began working on this theory in the 1940s when she was still in School, but it did not come into full effect till 1968. According to her research projections, she estimated that people tend to get stressed in response to stimulus, either internal or external in nature (Johnson, 1990).
The theory was aimed at helping nurses and health care givers to prevent illness by fostering good and efficient behavioral pattern in their patients. Using the behavioral system model, nurses could effectively protect their patients from harmful influences in advance. It means that nurses could determine harmful substances for their patients and advise or help them to avoid them in future. Another key advantage of the model to the nursing profession is that it enabled nurses and other caregivers to stimulate growth of their patients as well as create a nurturing and conducive environment for their well-being.
Contribution of the Theorist to the Development of Nursing as a Profession
Nursing, according to Dorothy Johnson, is an external force aimed at regulating the patients’ behavior in order to maintain them at an optimum level. It is especially significant when behavior might constitute some threat to the patient. Hence, nursing is all about understanding the patient’s behavior and acting to regulate it by influencing the behavioral pattern of the patient and elevating risky behavior.
Nursing has four vital roles with regard to behavioral patterns. The main role is that nurses are supposed to assist the patient to behave in a socially acceptable and a biological imperative manner. It should be done in order to alleviate any harm to the patient and the immediate society. The major condition for these objectives to be met is that patients do not show any evidence of unnecessary distress as a result of their illness and they can benefit from skills and advice given by physicians.
Dorothy Johnsons behavioral model operates on four basic principles discussed below. The first concept assumes that human beings have two major systems: behavioral and biological. Thus, nursing focuses on behavioral aspect of human life. The second concept is the society, where the model emphasizes the role that environment plays in shaping individuals’ behavior. The third concept revolves around the patient’s health which influences his stability and comfort. Finally, Dorothy believed that human life had to operate at equilibrium in order to function properly. Thus, nursing aims at trying and restoring patients’ state of equilibrium hence creating a balance within their behavior (Johnson, 1990).
Application of the Theory to Nursing as a Profession
Nursing is a profession that mainly focuses on altering or improving the behavior of patients in order to promote their health. The model emphasizes classification of various behaviors so that the patients’ behavior can be predicted. In this way, nurses and other healthcare givers have an easier time in assisting the patient to behave in a socially acceptable and a biological imperative manner. Generally, nurses mainly focus on the after-treatment therapy of patients. It means that once doctors diagnose and start treating patients, nurses come in as caregivers who are given the role of guiding the patients’ behavior and attitude in order to enhance their health.
Dorothy assumed that man was prone to change both with time and as a response to changing environments. Therefore, man tends to continuously make adjustments to his life in order to maintain equilibrium level, or behavioral homeostasis. This mechanism helps nurses to detect changes in behavioral patterns of their patients as well as show adaptations that largely affect well-being of a patient.
Success of this model is dependent on the ability of nurses to predict behavioral patterns of patients. It is mainly possible because human beings are patterned with repetitive and purposeful behaviors composed of eight subsystems (Johnson, 1990). Therefore, once patients have been grouped, predicting their behavior becomes easier, and healthcare givers, like nurses, can effectively avert risky situations before they happen. This is what makes the Dorothy Johnson behavioral system model a great success.