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Sister Callista Roy

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    A recognized nurse theorist, researcher, writer and teacher Martha Elizabeth Rogers was born on May 12, 1914 in Dallas Texas as the first born daughter and oldest of four siblings of Mr and Mrs. Rogers.

    As the oldest of four siblings Sister Callista Roy was born on October 14, 1939 as the second child but first daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fabien Roy. Devote Catholics her parents name her after Saint Callistus from a Roman Catholic Calendar of the day on which she was born.

    The daughter of a licensed nurse Callista was continuously taught the importance of knowing all you could about people, the care they needed and most importantly the selfless giving as a nurse. By the age of 14 Callista began working at a large general hospital as a pantry girl and quickly moved up in rank to a nurse’s aid. Being raised in a highly religious oriented family Callista reached a crossroads in her life and after much soA deep spirit of faith, hope, love and commitment to God and service to others was central in this family of seven boys and seven girls.Her mother was a licensed vocational nurse and instilled the values of always seeking to know more about people and their care and of selfless giving as a nurse.

    Dr. Roy notes that she also had excellent teachers in parochial schools, high school, and college. At age 14 she began working at a large general hospital, first as a pantry girl, then as a maid, and finally as a nurse’s aid. After a soul-searching process of discernment, she decided to enter the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, of which she has been a member for more than 40 years.

    Her college education began in a liberal arts program, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts with a major in nursing at Mount St. Mary’s College, in Los Angeles. As a young Sister nurse, Sr. Callista worked in hospitals administered by the Sisters of St.

    Joseph in Idaho and Arizona. Here she expanded her love and concern for children, working in pediatric nursing and soon had the opportunity to enroll in a master’s degree program in pediatric nursing at the University of California at Los Angeles in 1964.Through her studies in pediatric nursing, Sr. Callista had the significant opportunity of working with Dorothy E.

    Johnson, whom she regards as one of her most influential mentors. Other important mentors have included Ruth Wu, Connie Robinson and Barbara Smith Moran. Johnson’s work with focusing knowledge for the discipline of nursing convinced Sr. Callista of the importance of describing the nature of nursing as a service to society and prompted her to begin developing her model with the goal of nursing being to promote adaptation.

    She joined the faculty of Mount St. Mary’s College in 1966, teaching both pediatric and maternity nursing and began organizing course content according to a view of the person and family as adaptive systems.However, the following academic year she was forced to take a leave of absence since she was bed-ridden with an illness then diagnosed as encephalomyelitis. Twelve years later, she had successful surgery for removal of an acoustic neuroma.

    When she returned to Mount Saint Mary’s College in the fall of 1968, she began actively introducing her ideas about Adaptation Nursing as the basis for an integrated nursing curriculum.The encouragement and support she received from Sr. Rebecca Doan, chair and founder of the department, was important in moving the development of the model forward and establishing Mount St. Mary’s, her alma mater, as the flagship school in the development and implementation of the model.

    In 1971 she was made chair of the nursing department at the college. Dr. Roy completed her PhD in sociology at University of California, Los Angeles. By 1981, the teaching of the model had become widespread and Dr.

    Roy and her colleagues from Mount St. Mary’s College provided consultation for at least 30 other schools on implementation of the model in nursing curricula from the associate to doctoral levels.In 1987 it was estimated that over 100,000 nurses had graduated from schools emphasizing the Roy Adaptation Model. During this time, Dr.

    Roy also served on the faculty at the University of Portland in Oregon were she helped to establish a master’s of science program in nursing. She gained a reputation as an international speaker and accepted commitments to speak throughout North America and close to 30 other countries over the past 30 years on topics related to the Roy Adaptation Model, nursing theory, research, curriculum, clinical practice and professional trends for the future.Her books have been translated into twelve different languages. Dr.

    Roy also had the opportunity to be a clinical nurse scholar in a two-year postdoctoral program in Neuroscience Nursing at University of California at San Francisco. She selected this field to develop her understanding of the holistic person, especially as an adaptive system, and because of her familiarity with this clinical area as a result of her own neurological illnesses. Here her research became increasingly focused on the cognitive recovery of head injury patients.After completing her postdoctoral work, Dr.

    Roy began concurrently teaching graduate nursing theory courses at the University of San Francisco and at Boston College. Although she enjoyed and appreciated the challenge of a full-time clinical research position in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. Roy also knew that academic nursing education provided opportunities to share her convictions about the integration of theory, practice, and research.Her opportunity to further influence new nurse scholars was provided in 1987 when she accepted a full-time faculty position as professor and nurse theorist to help develop and implement a PhD in nursing program at Boston College.

    She was also granted a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award from the Australian-American Educational Foundation for travel, allowing her to speak and dialogue with colleagues in several regions of Australia in 1988. Dr. Roy is still best known for developing and continually updating the Roy Adaptation Model as a framework for theory, practice, and research in nursing.Two recent publications that Dr.

    Roy considers of great significance are The Roy Adaptation Model (second edition) written with Heather Andrews (Appleton & Lange) and The Roy Adaptation Model-Based Research: Twenty-five Years of Contributions to Nursing Science being published as a research monograph by Sigma Theta Tau. The latter is a critical analysis of the past 25 years of model-based literature, which includes 163 studies published in 44 English-speaking journals, dissertations and thesis.This project was completed by the Boston-Based Adaptation in Nursing Research Society (BBARNS), a group of scholars founded by Dr. Roy in the interest of advancing nursing practice by developing basic and clinical nursing knowledge based on the Roy Adaptation Model.

    The group has recently been renamed the Roy Adaptation Association. One of Dr. Roy’s major activities has included co-chairing Knowledge Conferences hosted by the Boston College School of Nursing in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001.She has also played a key role in at least 30 research projects.

    Her current clinical research continues her long-time interest in neuroscience. Since her days as a nursing student in the 1960s, Dr. Roy has been fascinated by the neurosciences, which she calls “the frontier of knowledge development. ” She is currently extending her research on cognitive adaptation and nursing interventions with patients who sustained mild head injuries to include families as collaborators with the nurse in promoting cognitive recovery.

    Dr. Roy has been the recipient of many awards, including The National League for Nursing Martha Rogers Award for advancing nursing science and Sigma Theta Tau International Founders Award for contributions to professional practice. She has also received honorary doctorates from Eastern Michigan University, Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI, and from St. Joseph’s College in Standish, ME.

    In addition, the Sister Callista Roy Lectureship was established at the Department of Nursing at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.The Roy Knowledge Institute has been established by the alumni/ae of Boston College PhD in Nursing Program. Dr.

    Roy has also received the outstanding Alumna Award and Carondelet Medal from Mount St. Mary’s, her alma mater, where she holds a concurrent position as Research Professor in Nursing. In addition to her scholarly work, community, family and friends, Dr. Roy enjoys music, art, and time for private prayer and reflection, especially in areas where the beauty of nature surrounds her.

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    Sister Callista Roy. (2018, Feb 24). Retrieved from

    Frequently Asked Questions

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    What are the five major concepts in Roy's Adaptation Model?
    5 elements - person, goal of nursing, nursing activities, health and environment • Persons are viewed as living adaptive systems whose behaviors may be classified as adaptive or ineffective.
    What is Sister Callista Roy theory?
    In 1976, Roy developed a theory now known as the Roy Adaptation Model, which states that the goal of nursing care is to promote patient adaptation. Her model asks questions about the person who is the focus of nursing care, the target of that care and when that care is indicated.
    What is the importance of Sister Callista Roy's theory?
    This theory has great importance to the role of nursing. It describes the role of adaptation and environment, and its importance to health. The theory has many applications to research and education. Many schools of nursing have adopted Roy's Adaptation Model as the framework for their curriculum.
    What is the main goal of the Roy Adaptation Model?
    The goal of Roy's Adaptation Model nursing is promotion of an integrated level of adaptation for individuals and groups that can advance wellness, the quality of life, and death with dignity.

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