Nancy Roper’s theory of nursing has influenced every generation of nurses since its publication in 1976, not just here in the UK but in Europe and the US too. There is not a student nurse in Britain who does not use it.
Her model set out the common core of the nursing required by each patient, regardless of diagnosis or setting, based on everyday living activities. She reminded nurses to look at the whole patient and taught them to look beyond the obvious, such as eating and drinking, to aspects such as sexuality, and death and dying.
Ms Roper had always wanted to nurse and left school in Wetheral, near Carlisle, to train first as a children’s nurse and then as a general nurse. In 1943, just as she registered, the Territorial Army called up several tutors and she was asked to become a teacher. Only later did she gain her clinical experience before moving into writing and research.
Ms Roper, who died in 2004, received neither a state honour nor an RCN fellowship.