Imogene King’s Theory of Goal Attainment

3 March 2017

Imogene King’s System Interaction Model Theory of Goal Attainment Introduction Imogene King is a nationally recognized theorist, leader and educator. She developed the Theory of Goal Attainment while trying to outline content for a new graduate program (Leddy & Pepper, 2006). It has become the basis for establishing health care goals for patients and directing patient care. The main purpose of the theory is to help patients attain, maintain or restore health. The purpose of this paper is to discuss Imogene King and the theory of goal attainment, including all three levels.

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The Theory of Goal Attainment identifies three levels found in the environment: personal, interactional and social. The primary level is the personal system level where the care of the patient is the main focus. The second level is the interactional level where the nurse deals with small groups. The final level is the social level with nurses providing care through social programs (Catalano, 2006). Imogene King Imogene King began her career with a diploma in nursing from St. John’s Hospital in 1945.

She then continued her education with a Bachelor of Nursing in 1948, a Masters in nursing in 1957 and a Doctorate in Education in 1961. King began developing her theory while working as an associate professor of nursing and in 1971 she published Toward a Theory of Nursing: General Concepts of Human Behavior. She revised the ideas more and in 1981 published A Theory for Nursing: Systems, Concepts, and Process (Ruby, 1995). King’s theory of goal attainment has been used in the educational and clinical settings for many years. She has served on committees for the American Nurses Association at the local, state and national level.

She mentored many undergraduate and graduate nurses that have gone on to become leaders (Messmer, 2006). Theory of Goal Attainment Theory shapes how a problem is defined. Problems are researched and solutions are identified. Once the results of the research are available it can be applied to practice (Catalano, 2006). The theory of goal attainment is used to establish goals for patients and directing care to meet these goals. King felt that nurses that have an understanding of this theory are better able to understand what is happening to the patient and family (King, 1994).

Nurses will be able to help them cope with illness and stress. These goal are designed to help patients reach the highest level of health. Nursing must function in three system levels: personal, interactional and social. The primary function of nursing is at the personal systems level with the individual being the main focus. One example of this is the nurse-patient relationship. The nurse and patient communicate to identify areas that need to be addressed and establish a problem list. They then set goals to attain, maintain and restore health.

The final step is to take the steps needed to reach the goals (Fitzpatrick & Wallace, 2006). The second level of the theory of goal attainment is the interactional level. Nurses at this level deal with small to moderate sized groups. This can be in the form of dyads, triads or groups. These groups are individuals that share similar goals or interests. An example of this would be to teach a class on congestive heart failure or diabetes education. As the instructor for the class the nurse has already established that all the participants have a common interest.

The nurse then provides information to the group and sets goals for all the participants. Collectively the group will discuss the steps needed to reach the goal. When the participants regularly follow the steps to reach the goal, this becomes a learned behavior or pattern (Murray & Baier, 1996). The third level of theory of goal attainment is the social level. This level includes large groups such as the government, the health care system or society in general (Catalano, 2006). Some common goals at this level is organization, authority, power, status and dicisions.

An example of this would be Medicare or Medicaid payments. The amount of reimbursement may limit how often a patient can seek health care. Interaction across all these levels influence human behavior and subsequently health outcomes (Fitzpatrick & Wallace, 2006). Conclusion Imogene King’s assumptions about humans, values and beliefs about nursing have not changed in 60 years and will not change in the future. The way that people relate and communicate and interact will change due to the rapid advancement of technologies. Technology alone will not prepare nurses for the future.

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