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Sr. Callista Roy and 50 years of the Roy Adaptation

June 29, 2016

LOS ANGELES, June 29, 2016 — Fifty years ago, Sister Callista Roy, CSJ, ‘63 developed a transformational nursing model that ensures patients are treated as complex human beings with ever-changing biological, psychological, social and spiritual needs. Ever since, the Roy Adaptation Model has provided a high-level framework for nursing practice, education and research across the globe.

Mount Saint Mary’s University congratulates its alumna, and former chair of nursing, on the 50th anniversary of the Roy Adaptation Model, now an internationally recognized standard of holistic patient care.

“Sister Callista Roy is a legend. She is a dynamic teacher, she’s a creative mind, she’s a force,” says University President Ann McElaney-Johnson. “Not only has she changed the face of nursing, she’s changed the lives of so many Mount alums who have gone into the community and served in the healthcare profession. Her theory of nursing changed the way healthcare professionals work with their patients and the families of their patients.”  

“The Roy Model is more than just a model. It’s a way of thinking, it’s a way of believing, it’s a way of acting,” says Marsha Sato ’77, director of Mount Saint Mary’s Master of Science in Nursing program. “Her model is the foundation of our curriculum.”

A Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet, Sister Callista graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s in 1963, 15 years after the school created California’s first-ever Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. After earning her BSN at Mount Saint Mary’s in Los Angeles, she earned her MS, MA and PhD from UCLA. Sister Callista also conducted a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to teaching at the Mount, she served as chair of nursing for a decade over the 1970s and 1980s. 

Sister Callista still works as a teacher, researcher and writer. She is currently a professor and nurse theorist at Boston College's William F. Connell School of Nursing. The school hosted a celebration of Sister Callista on June 10 that brought colleagues and healthcare professionals from across the United States, the National Institutes of Health, Columbia, Japan, Mexico and Panama.

Over the course of her career, she has become known as one of the most influential theorists in the field of nursing. Books on the Roy Adaptation Model have been translated into numerous languages. Sister Callista has spoken on nursing theory and practice in at least 36 countries and held visiting faculty appointments in Asia, Europe and South America.

Among her honors:

  • Charter member, National Institutes of Health, Division of Research Grants, Nursing Research Section
  • Inaugural inductee, Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International
  • Recipient, 40-plus research and training grants in fields ranging from nursing to neuroscience
  • Senior Fulbright Scholar, Australia