Newman pointed out that, “nurse client relationships often begin during periods of disruption, uncertainty, and unpredictability in patient’s lives” (Smith & Parker, 2015, p. 288). Explore what she means by this statement. Then, reflect on a patient that you cared for that you could apply her theory to. Provide details of the interaction and outcomes. Your initial posting should be at least 400 words in length and utilize at least one scholarly source other than the textbook.


In her statement, Newman highlights the nature of nurse-client relationships, emphasizing that they frequently initiate in moments of upheaval and ambiguity in patients’ lives (Smith & Parker, 2015). This essay will delve into the meaning of Newman’s observation and its implications for nursing practice. Subsequently, a personal experience of caring for a patient will be discussed to elucidate how Newman’s theory can be applied in a practical setting.

Exploring Newman’s Statement

Newman’s statement underscores the significance of recognizing the context in which nurse-client relationships arise. Disruption, uncertainty, and unpredictability serve as crucial catalysts for the formation of these relationships. These factors often arise from various life events such as illness, injury, or the need for healthcare intervention. Patients facing such circumstances encounter a range of physical, psychological, and emotional challenges that often necessitate nursing attention (Smith & Parker, 2015).

Disruption refers to a disturbance or interruption in a person’s life, functioning, or well-being. It can manifest as an unexpected event, such as the sudden onset of an acute illness or a traumatic injury. Uncertainty refers to a lack of understanding or clarity about what is happening or what the future holds. This can arise from an unfamiliar diagnosis, complex treatment options, or ambiguous prognoses. Unpredictability denotes the challenge of managing situations that are difficult to foresee or plan for, such as sudden changes in health status or unexpected complications (Smith & Parker, 2015).

Newman’s theory suggests that nurses play a pivotal role in navigating these disruptive, uncertain, and unpredictable moments in patients’ lives. During these periods, patients may experience heightened vulnerability and anxiety, making them more receptive to the support and care offered by nurses. Nurses can provide a sense of stability, assurance, and expertise, helping to restore a sense of control amidst the chaos. By establishing a therapeutic relationship built on trust, nurses can empower patients to actively participate in their healthcare journey, leading to better outcomes (Smith & Parker, 2015).

Application of Newman’s Theory in Practice

During my clinical practice, I encountered a patient whose experience aligned with Newman’s theory. The patient, Mr. Johnson, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. The news of his diagnosis shattered his sense of normalcy and plunged him into a state of disruption, uncertainty, and unpredictability. I had the opportunity to care for Mr. Johnson throughout his hospital stay, witnessing the transformative power of the nurse-client relationship.

Upon meeting Mr. Johnson, I acknowledged the significant impact of his diagnosis on his life. I recognized the disruption caused by the sudden intrusion of illness, which abruptly altered his daily routine and social interactions. He expressed feelings of uncertainty about the effectiveness of treatment options and the progression of his disease. Moreover, the unpredictability of his symptoms, such as pain exacerbations and unexpected complications, added to his distress.

To address Mr. Johnson’s needs, I focused on establishing a therapeutic relationship grounded in empathy, trust, and open communication. By actively listening to his concerns, fears, and goals, I was able to provide emotional support and offer information to mitigate his uncertainties. I explained the treatment plan, its potential side effects, and the rationale behind each intervention to enhance his understanding and foster a sense of control. Furthermore, I assisted him in developing coping strategies to manage unpredictability and adapt to changing circumstances.

The outcomes of our interactions were profound. Mr. Johnson began to actively engage in shared decision-making, collaboratively planning his care with the healthcare team. He demonstrated increased confidence in managing his symptoms and adhering to his treatment regimen. Additionally, his anxiety decreased as he gained a better understanding of his prognosis and learned to cope with the uncertainties inherent in his condition. These improvements were reflected in his overall well-being, evidenced by improved physical and emotional functioning.


Newman’s observation regarding the initiation of nurse-client relationships during periods of disruption, uncertainty, and unpredictability carries significant implications for nursing practice. Acknowledging and addressing these challenges helps nurses to provide effective care and support, ultimately leading to better patient outcomes. The application of Newman’s theory in caring for Mr. Johnson demonstrated the transformative impact of therapeutic relationships during times of crisis. By understanding the context and needs of patients in these situations, nurses can optimize their role as advocates and partners in a patient’s healthcare journey.