• An "open system" in constant interaction with their environment. The term open systems suggests that "each system or unit has a boundary that separates internal components from other existing boundaries".
  • "a dynamic human being whose perception of objects, persons, and events influence his behavior, social interaction, and health" - King, 1971 ( as cited in Williams, 2001). 
  • According to George(1995, as cited in Añonuevo 2005), King's theory of goal attainment identified three basic health needs of man:
  1.       Information on health that can be accessed and utilized when needed
  2.       Care that aims to prevent illness 
  3.       Care in times of illness/helplessness
  • It is the state of being whole and functional (that is to become human- being social, sentient, rational, reacting, perceiving, controlling, purposeful, action-oriented, and time-oriented)
  • A disruption to this holistic and functional state equates to illness.
  • King defined health(George 1995, as cited in Añonuevo 2005) as "the dynamic life experience of a human being" and not simply in the context of bodily processes. She recognizes the ability of a person to "continuously adjust to internal and external stressors" by maximizing available resources to achieve "maximum potential for daily living".

  • Based on the descriptions given by Parse (1987) and George (1995) regarding King's definition of Nursing (as cited in Añonuevo 2005), nursing can be defined as a process of continuous and dynamic human interaction between the nurse and the client/patient through verbal and nonverbal communications with the purpose of setting common goals of care for the patient which can be achieved through agreed upon means of achieving these goals  based on their common perception of the current nursing situation.

  • This is the background for interactions. The internal environment transforms energy so the person can adjust to the external environment. The external environment consists of formal and informal organizations and the nurse is part of this environment.

Añonuevo CA, Abaquin CM, Balabagno AO, (2005). Theoretical Foundations of Nursing. Quezon City, Philippines: UP Open University.
Imogene King's Conceptual System. (2009, June 23). Retrieved July 6, 2011, from Nursing Central:

Williams, L. (2001). Imogene King's Interacting Systems Theory: Application in Emergency and Rural Nursing. Online Journal of Rural and Health Care , 2 (1), 25 - 30.