Excerpts from the introduction to the forthcoming book.

The purpose of this book is to take this conversation surrounding complexity and reductionism and apply it to the field of nursing. In many ways nursing has served as a harbinger to the current conversation in science with it’s history of examining the limitations and advantages of studying health emphasizing either the whole person or the parts of the person. We will find that the application of complexity science to health will call on us to turn Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on it’s head and start with self-transcendence. Complexity science will help us understand health and health behavior at the individual level and how choices that support good health are deeply influenced by cultural norms. Complexity science will also help us to transform how we understand the process of health behavior change in individuals and in societies from a complexity science standpoint and the the process of development in infants and children. The impact that all of this will have when applied it to areas of interest to nurses and nursing science will be explored.
Excerpts from Chapter 1
The unfortunate disconnect between the nursing holistic theory of caring and the evidence based act of caring is not a conversation the public is aware of because it is happening only it is within the profession of nursing itself. This disconnect between the holistic theory of caring and the evidence based act of caring reaches from the highest levels of academic nursing, with separate doctorates for nursing theory and nursing practice, down to the nurse at the bedside. For example, assuming you the reader are a nurse, which is extremely likely, answer the following question. Which one of the following theorists Rogers, Maslow, Parse or Roy is most well known to you as a nurse? When I have put this question to practicing nurses on both coasts of the country the answer is always the same. Maslow and his hierarchy of needs is the most recognized name. It is the theories of the psychologist Abraham Maslow, a non-nursing theorist, that we, as nurses, use to organize our practice while nursing theorists and the science they represent relegated to relative obscurity among practicing nurses.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the principle that is most widely used by nurses to organize their thinking and work at the point of care delivery. Despite efforts to educate staff nurses about nursing theory and promote the application of theoretical nursing to bedside care; adoption of nursing theory into practice has been very limited. In addition, nursing theory is not taught in the community college setting where most nurses get their education. Discussions have been ongoing within nursing literature to bridge the divide between theory and practice within the profession of nursing; but despite this there remains a definite and enduring separation between the nursing theory based science of of the whole person and the nursing practice of caring at the bedside.


Talking back to Maslow

Turning Maslow's hierarchy on its head revolutionizes health and nursing.

   A Complexity Definition of  Health

Health is the scale-free, continuous evolutionary process for the minimization of predictive error


In Mike Taylor's original complexity science definition, health is seen as a process of predictive optimization at each scale of a networked hierarchical system. The predictive optimization of the larger scales constrains the probability space of the lower scales of the system so that if the highest scale is not optimized then the system is not optimized and is not healthy.

Compassion is currently the highest state of predictive optimization.

Nursing Presentations

June 8, 2017 "The Unified Theory of Meaning Emergence" conference session annual meeting of the American Holistic Nurses Association
June 5, 2014 Pre-Conference session “Toward an era of Compassion: How complexity takes us through the looking glass” annual meeting of the American Holistic Nurses Association 2013 Pre-Conference session “Complexity and the Nursing Science of Compassion” annual meeting of the American Holistic Nurses Association
2011 breakout session on the “Social Isolation of Nursing Science as a Barrier to Men in Nursing” at the annual meeting of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing 2011 Research poster at the annual meeting of the Southern Nursing Research Society titled “A Systematic Literature Review of the Mathematical Approaches of Complexity Science in Health Behavior/Promotion Research”.
2010 Poster titled “Complexity Science and Health Behavior: a Guide for the Novice” at the American Association of Diabetes Educators Annual Meeting