Life Perspective Rhythm Model

Life Perspective Rhythm Model is a construct to assist with the professional practice of nursing. Theorist Dr. Joyce Fitzpatrick based her model of practice on Martha Rogers’ theory of Unitary Human Beings. While Rogers’ theory covered eight separate areas, Dr. Fitzpatrick has built her nursing theory on four subdivisions involving the delivery of nursing care.

Dr.Joyce Fitzpatrick published her theory on 1989 in Conceptual Models of Nursing, second edition, which is an anthology of nursing theory. This theory is based on her interest in nursing and psychology. She chose to look at the various components of completing a life experience as rhythms. Often, the medical field is consulted when one or more of these rhythms reaches an apex or bottoms out. The job of nursing then, is to understand and assist the client with putting their rhythms together to support all of the body’s other rhythms and return to a state of health.


Let’s look at rhythm itself. A good definition from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “movement, fluctuation or variation marked by regular recurrence or natural flow.” It also offers this definition “a regularly recurrent quantitative change in a variable biological process.” Rhythms can be described, measured and will be repeated. Thus, the stages of life and illness can be equated to rhythms.

Areas of the Life Perspective Rhythm Model

The model frames itself around four separate areas. Understanding these areas in each person’s life will lead to successful outcomes for clients. This model is also useful to communicate treatment techniques to other cultures. Dr.Joyce Fitzpatrick has done research on health care in other countries besides the United States and proposed this model because it included elements of the client’s culture. She defines a major concept of human development that is important to nursing as the value each person places on their life. This knowledge drives how the client responds to changes in their life.


The first of her four areas are the concept of person. The person not only includes the client but all people whom he or she interacts with in their environment. She considers a human an open system with a set group of rhythmic behaviors. These behaviors are drawn from a variety of fields, including biology, psychology, human development, theology, philosophy and the culture of the client with their surrounding society. Clearly, this involves a large area to assess.


This is an area that focuses on the health of the client and their surroundings. Health includes all the people and society that affect the client. To maintain optimum health requires the assistance of care providers, a client willing to change and follow guidelines for a healthful life and surrounding the client with supportive family and friends. Optimum health is the goal of nursing interactions which goes beyond professional interactions that occur only when the client is distressed by their unhealthy state. Nursing professionals strive to improve health through any interaction with clients.


Professional nursing has matured into its current focus of promoting wellness. Wellness is the state of optimum health. Essentially, the focus of health exams has become preventative care. Not only do health professionals treat illnesses, they promote lifestyle changes and habits that will lower the chances of experiencing illness during one’s lifetime. Health workers need to learn techniques to promote wellness.

Metaparadigm of Nursing

Metaparadigm is a structure that states how a profession should function. Nursing metaparadigms consistently cover four areas. These are:

• The totality of the person or client – everything known about the client and his life

• The environment of the client – the social construct that surrounds the client and its effect on the client

• Client’s current level of wellness – this establishes which items of health that health care workers need to address

• Nursing’s responsibility and duty toward the client – the nursing theory, actions and treatments that the nurse needs to bring to bear to return the client to the top level of wellness possible.

Dr. Fitzpatrick expects that the nursing profession will have theory, practice and procedures that are standardized to support the client in each situation. Nursing has been building up the professional construct of its profession since the 1800s. Using the life perspective rhythm model should integrate a total professional action plan for each client. Each client is in a different situation and needs to have their own care plan formulated. Nursing also needs to communicate with its practitioners all over the world. Using a concept that includes the life cycle, wellness and maintenance can be applied to any culture or setting.

The life perspective rhythm model is a newer theory that is still being integrated into the profession. It remains to be seen the effect of this theory on moving the profession to a world-wide model. Many nursing theories do not take one of her four areas into consideration, and thus are difficult to translate to a new culture, environment or a different level of health. This model is a complex attempt to solve this issue in the nursing profession.


Fitzpatrick, J. J. (1989). A life perspective rhythm model. In J. J. Fitzpatrick & A. L. Whall (Eds.), Conceptual models of nursing (2nd ed., pp. 295–302). Norwalk, CT: Appleton Lange.

Life Perspective Rhythm Model, Current Nursing. Assessed on line on July 16, 2019.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2019. Assessed online on July 18, 2019.