Application of Pamela Reed’s Theory of Self-Transcendence


Self – transcendence is a crucial resource for the well-being among at the end of life and vulnerable populations. Self –transcendence facilitates the searching of the individual for the personal well-being, meaning, and a new perspective that allow to overcome the ego concerns. The central core of the theory is concentration on the connection between the transcendent, individual, and environment being. The research paper is basing on the study the Theory of self –transcendence, solutions of the problematic issue represented in the scenario, and analysis of other nursing situations  that require applying of the Theory that helped to understand deeper the core of the methodology and identify its effectiveness.

You are a nurse on an inpatient oncology unit.  Your patient is a 72-year-old competent male who has been told his cancer is terminal and that further treatment is unlikely to have any benefit.  He accepts that and would like to explore hospice.  However, his two adult children insist that he should continue chemotherapy and fight on and they tell you not to discuss with him or get a consult for hospice.

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The analysis of the scholar medical articles proved that the specific situation corresponds to the Theory of self –transcendence developed by Pamela Reeds. The theory is basing on the relationship between the spiritual perspectives on life, well-being, and death in terminally ill individuals that accurately corresponds to the situation that have happened with the patient. The goal of the nurse is to enhance the acceptance of any situation through the self-transcendence directed to the philosophical belief in the enduring human potential for well-being. Reed is sure that the ill person who faces human vulnerability or mortality can obtain the increased capacity for the self –transcendence that will have a positive influence on the well-being. Thus, the specialist defined the self –transcendence as gradual, inherent, non-linear process of development that results in the increased awareness of the dimensions greater than the self and expending the personal boundaries within the interpersonal, intrapersonal, transpersonal and temporal domains.

Reed’s theory relates to the ongoing developmental relationship between the human being and the environment that surrounds the person. This environment strongly depends on the nurse’s activity whose goal is facilitation of the self –transcendence. The help of the nurse can be reflected in the encouraging, teaching of meditation, praying, fostering of maintenance of meaningful relationships, providing community or personal relationships, and group psychotherapy.  The abovementioned approaches can significantly enhance nursing practice and facilitate the worrying and sufferings of the terminated patient. The importance of self –transcendence in the nursing practice is comprised in the advancing their knowledge concerning the disease management and expanding boarders providing the holistic care. Nursing is an act of caring that is basing on the searching the ways how to preserve humanity sustaining the human dignity, its wholeness, and unity. Nurse-patient interaction is a fundamental core of the theory that helps the patient not to feel along in the world.

The Journal of Clinical Nursing (NPIS) developed the Nurse-Patient-Interaction Scale, which covered domains that identified fundamental relational qualities stressed in the medical literature to show the psychometric properties. The using of the NPIS is basing on the evaluation the indicator variables, which help to understand whether the nurse takes the patient seriously, the influence of the interactions on the feelings of the patient, understanding of the patient by the nurse, presence of the respectful treatment, level of interest during the listening, paying attention to the patient as to the unique person, and level of the satisfaction of the patient by the work of the nurse. The high score of the NPI testifies about the effective use of self –transcendence.

Solution of the Problematic Issue

Reed is sure that the person is able to expand the boundaries to help attain optimum wellness good sense of well-being and healthy state of mind. That is why it would be a great mistake not to consult the patient for the hospice because the task of the nurse is to support the client and help him to find the way to the well-being. With the aim to facilitate the extension of the boundaries, the specialist postulated four ways of self-transcendence that include interpersonal, intrapersonal, temporal, and transpersonal. The nurse should help to chose one the specific ways that will support the effective achieving of self-transcendence. Interpersonal concerns the matters within or inside the individual. That means to be in values the person believes in, the life philosophy, way of thinking, dreams and hopes, how the patient views the details and other people. Such aspects operate in the mind of the person.  Interpersonal is focusing on the environment outside of the patient’s body searching the way of the communication with the world and interaction with people. Reed is sure that influence of the nature on the genetic and aging processes is inevitable. Temporal is basing on the position that the people can hone themselves through the pass way of the time continuum. Besides, the intellect of the individual has the capacity to provide the meaningful view on the present situation. Transpersonal postulates that the man can connect with the dimensions beyond the typical discernable world using the spiritual psyche. The nurse can utilize the spiritual belief of the ill person and develop them through the religious interventions, spiritual practice, and religious conversations.

Thus, the analysis of the four ways proved that the solution of the problematic issue is comprised in using the transpersonal and interpersonal methods. Transpersonal reflects the desire of the patient to explore hospice and the nurse should support him in this decision. Interpersonal will help the individual to understand that ageing is a natural phenomenon and all people will have the same end. The task of the nurse is to explain that in age of 72 years the person has enough experience to understand that it is better to accept the situation when it is impossible to change anything.

Discussion of Self –Transcendence in Different Nursing Situations

Self –transcendence comprises a spiritual-social-psycho force toward the personal maturity and various health problems enhancing the individual to search for the new meaning, perspectives, and well-beings typical for the definite phases. The analysis of the problematic issue showed that there are two the most significant factors that require the applying of the theory. The first is nursing home patients who demand a specific approach. The medical institutes identified that people of 80+ age who require home care more often suffer from the depression. The study of the relationships between the self –transcendence and spiritual well-being revealed that both intrapersonal and interpersonal self –transcendences have a crucial affect on the spiritual well-being in the cognitive intact with NH patients. Intrapersonal self –transcendence helps to accept the individual that growing older is always accompanied by the physical changes. The study of the problem proved that the identification of the patient’s past experience influenced negatively to depression. The interpersonal self –transcendence  is reflected in the awareness of the nurse in the self-acceptance of the NH patient and adjustment of the individual’s life through the humor, enjoyment, and laugh.

The other example of the self –transcendence application is occurrence of the physical problem after the illness. Age of this group of people can vary. However, they need a specific care and assistance because of the unexpectedly occurred limitations that make them one of the most vulnerable groups.  Such people will need use of the interpersonal self –transcendence connecting with the vitalization supported by the surround people and environment. The task of the nurse is identification the hobbies and interests, the individual with the physical problem can further apply and enjoy. It would be effective to use the group work with the same people who can share the positive experience that helped them to cope with the problem and start a new life. It is important to induce the person to move beyond all obstacles and teach to set new goals.


The analysis of the represented scenario and other nursing situations proved the necessity of using the Theory of self –transcendence because many people who experienced life-changing diagnosis require a specific approach and the new methodology can help them to accept easier the stressful situation. The crucial part of the effective self –transcendence is work of the nurse with the patient that is basing on the caring relationships that sustain the human dignity and unity. In many situations, the relations of the nurse and patient are daily activity that can be the only vital resource of the human involvement. That is why it is important to use the theory in  the medical practice.