King used the paragraph below to send in response to students’ requests:
“Here is the following information I give to students via email to try to clarify what I have done re developing my theory of goal attainment” (personal communication, Imogene M. King, Nov. 28, 2007).
First I reviewed the nursing literature to determine what nurses were writing about the scientific base for nursing. At the time of this review which was in the 1960s there was little to nothing written about nursing science, research, etc. So, from my own education and practice, I identified 16 concepts that I believed represented basic nursing and should be taught in the Introduction to Nursing course in every curriculum. I analyzed these concepts and developed my Conceptual System (individuals as personal systems, dyad, triad, small groups as interpersonal systems, and large groups represent social systems). This represents our social and physical environments. Knowledge of the concepts are used in the three systems but some are represented specifically in each of the three systems. For examples, self, body image, perception, growth and development, time, and space are essential in understanding personal systems. Concepts that help one understand interactions of human beings are: role such as self in role, interaction, communication, transaction, stress are essential knowledge to understand interpersonal systems. Concepts related to social systems are organization, power, authority, status, decision making and age. I selected ten of these concepts and developed the Theory of Goal Attainment within which I derived the Transaction Process. It is the process that nurses use in concrete nursing situations (as well as knowledge of the other concepts). This makes it a Middle Range Theory.