Margaret Newman, early nurse theorist and faculty emeritus, dies

January 3, 2019

Margaret NewmanMargaret Ann Newman, PhD, RN, FAAN who served as a nurse theorist and professor at the University of Minnesota from 1984 to 1996, died Dec. 18 at the age of 85. She is widely known for her theory of health as expanding consciousness and published the earliest primer on developing nursing theory, Theory Development in Nursing.

“Dr. Newman was indeed a visionary, introducing her theory of health over four decades ago,”

said University of Minnesota School of Nursing Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP. “Her focus on the expanding consciousness, the patient as a whole, the impact of nurses’ transforming presence, designing nursing interventions that foster patients finding meaning in their care experience, and viewing disease as a meaningful part of health are as important in health and care transformation today as four decades ago. We celebrate her contributions as a professor at the University of Minnesota and her commitment to working closely with doctoral students.”

Newman earned bachelor’s degrees from Baylor University and the University of Tennessee College of Nursing, a master’s degree from University of California San Francisco and a PhD from New York University. She served as faculty at New York University, University of Tennessee and Penn State before coming to the University of Minnesota.

In the 1980s, she served as a civilian consultant to the U.S. Surgeon General for Nursing Research. She retired from teaching in 1996 and was named faculty emeritus by the University of Minnesota School of Nursing. After her retirement, she remained active advancing nursing theory, education, research and practice through her presentations and publications, including her seventh book, Transforming Presence: the Difference that Nursing Makes.

Newman was named a Living Legend by the American Academy of Nursing and was a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing as well.

A memorial service will be held in Chapel of Trezevant Manor in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, Jan. 10 at 1 p.m.