- Helen C. Erickson

Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory (MRM; Erickson, Tomlin & Swain, 1983) provides a paradigm and theory for nursing. MRM is best depicted as a grand theory encompassing numerous mid-range theories. MRM has been applied in a variety of clinical practice settings, educational programs, and research.

All people are alike in some ways and different in other ways. Some commonalities exist among people as holistic beings, including their basic needs, developmental stages and drive for affiliated-individuation. Differences among people include their genetic endowment, unique model of the world and how they adapt to stress.

Today, MRM serves as one of the extant theories for holistic nursing, recognized by the ANA as a specialty in nursing. It has provided the framework for numerous dissertations, several research studies, and clinical practice.

The purpose of the Society shall be to advance the development and application of the theory, Modeling and Role-Modeling, by:

  • Promoting the continuous study and integration of the theoretical propositions and philosophical foundations through research, practice and continuous education;
  • Developing a network for the support, stimulation and growth of the membership through newsletters, conferences and membership meetings;
  • Disseminating knowledge and information through conferences and publication of conference proceedings;
  • Addressing society needs by contributing to improvement of health care through proactive promotion of holistic health.

Adopted at Chartering Session, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Michigan, April 1986.

About Helen C. Erickson

Helen C. Erickson
Educational Background
  • 1957 - Graduated Saginaw General Hospital
  • 1974 - BSN; University of Michigan
  • 1976 - MSN Psychiatric Nursing; University of Michigan
  • 1984 - Doctorate in Educational Psychology; University of Michigan

Clinical Background

  • ER and Medical - Surgical Nursing
  • Director of Health Services; San German, Puerto Rico
  • Independant Psychiatric Nurse Consultant

Current Activities

  • Authored, in collaboration with Tomlin and Swain, Modeling and Role-Modeling, A Theory and Paradigm for Nursing (1983) which describes her holistic nursing theory 
  • Edited and wrote chapters in Modeling and Role-Modeling: A View from the Client’s World (2006) and Exploring the Interface between the Philosophy and Discipline of Holistic Nursing: Modeling and Role-Modeling at Work (2010) 
  • Authored articles on Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory and holistic nursing
  • Expert advisor to the Board of Directors of the American Holistic Nurses Credentialing Corporation and is a past chair of the board
  • Actively researching Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory
  • Awarded with an Endowed Lectureship on Holistic Nursing 
  • Consultant for health care facilities and schools of nursing on integrating holistic nursing and MRM theory into education, practice, and research 
  • Professor Emerita, University of Texas at Austin

"All people want to be the best they can be."
(Erickson, Tomlin, and Swain, 1983)

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