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The main criticism of Neuman's Systems Model is that many of the concepts are not adequately defined, especially the difference between interpersonal and extrapersonal stressors. It seems as though interpersonal stressors should be a subcategory or special case of extrapersonal stressors. The term reaction needs to be better defined as well as the terms knowns and commons.

In the model's nursing process, assessment and intervention are assumed, but not explicit, thus allowing anyone else to usurp these functions. This point needs to be addressed; do assessment and intervention belong to nursing, or can they be delegated to another profession?

Finally, the question must be asked as to how accurate the model is in representing human beings and their interactions with the environment. While it is useful to think of people as layered and made up of five principles, it is not always easy to predict or describe their interplay. Moreover, since each layer is composed of all the person variables, it is not always clear as to what layer is being assessed in any operationalized variable.

Despite the criticisms, the Neuman Systems Model is an excellent way for nurses and other health professionals to think about stress and prevention.



Neumans System's Model, written and presented by Patrick Heyman and Sandra Wolfe, University of Florida, April 2000