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Goal Attainment Theory

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Received her basic Nursing Education from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1945. Received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Education with minors in Philosophy and Chemistry from St. Louis University in 1948. Received her Master of Science in Nursing from St. Louis University in 1957. Received her Doctor of Education from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. King has had experience in Nursing as an administrator, an educator, and a practitioner. Her area of clinical practice in adult Medical-Surgical Nursing She served as Director of the School of Nursing at The Ohio State University in Columbus She has been a faculty member at:

St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing, St. Louis
Loyola University, Chicago
University of South Florida
The goal of the nurse is “to help individuals maintain or regain health.” Nursing’s domain includes promoting, maintaining, restoring health and caring for the sick, injured or dying. The function of the professional nurse is to interpret information in, what is known as the nursing process, to plan, implement, and evaluate nursing care for individuals, families, groups and communities.


King describes human beings as social, sentient, rational, reacting, perceiving, controlling, purposeful, action-oriented and time-oriented. King states that a concern for Nursing is helping people interact with their environment in a manner that will support health maintenance and growth toward self fulfillment. King has derived the following assumptions that are specific to nurse-client interaction: Perceptions of nurse and of client influence the interaction process. Goals, needs, and values of nurse and client influence the interaction process. Individuals have a right to knowledge about themselves.

Individuals have a right to participate in decisions that influence their life, their health, and community services. Individuals have a right to accept or to reject health care. Goals of health professionals and goals of recipients of health care may be incongruent. King stated that human beings have three fundamental health needs: The need for health information that is usable at the time when it is needed and can be used. The need for care that seeks to prevent illness.

The need for care when human beings are unable to help themselves. King indicated that nurses have the opportunity to find out what health information the client has how the client views his or her own health what actions the client takes for health maintenance

King defined health as “dynamic life experiences of a human being, which implies continuous adjustment to stressors in the internal and external environment through optimum use of one’s resources to achieve maximum potential for daily living”. King affirms that health is not a continuum but a holistic state and identifies the characteristics of health as “genetic, subjective, relative, dynamic, environmental, functional, cultural and perceptual “. King defines illness as a deviation from or imbalance in person’s normal functioning. This deviation may be related to biological structure, psychological make-up, or social relationships.

Environment and Society are indicated as major concepts in King’s conceptual system but are not specifically defined in her work. Society may be viewed as the social systems portion of her conceptual system. Although King’s definition of health mentions both internal and external environments, King also stated that ‘environment is a function of balance between internal and external interactions’. King presented her material based on open systems and it is assumed that the definition of external environment was drawn from the general systems theory. Systems are considered to have semi-permeable boundaries that help differentiate their internal components from the rest of the world. The external environment for a system is the portion of the world that exists outside of the system.

Nursing is defined as the nurse and client using action, reaction and interaction in a health care situation to share information about their perception of each other and the situation. This communication enables them to set goals and choose the methods for meeting the goals. Action is defined as a sequence of behaviors involving mental and physical activity. Reaction is not specifically defined but might be considered to be included in the sequence of behaviors described in action. ACTION

Mental Action > Physical Action > Mental Action > Physical Action Recognize the presenting conditions.
Begin activities related to those conditions.Effort to exert control over the situation.Seeking to achieve goals.

“It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German Writer 28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832)

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