- Imogene King was born in West Point, Iowa, on January 30, 1923. She decided to become a teacher while she was in her early high school years. Her uncle, the town surgeon, however, volunteered to pay for her nursing school tuition.
- She eventually accepted the position, seeing nursing school as an opportunity to get away from her small-town life. Thus began her illustrious nursing career.
- Imogene King excelled in nursing school, despite the fact that it was not her first choice. She graduated from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in St. Louis, Missouri, with a nursing diploma in 1945.
- While working as a staff nurse, King began her studies for a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education, which she earned in 1948 from St. Louis University. She graduated from St. Louis University with a Master of Science in Nursing in 1957.
- Mildred Montag served as her dissertation chair at Teacher’s College, Columbia University in New York, where she got her EdD in 1961.
Appointments and Career
- Imogene King worked in a number of staff nurse roles after getting her education in 1945. She worked at St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing as an instructor in medical-surgical nursing and as an assistant director from 1947 to 1958. From 1961 through 1966, at Loyola University in Chicago, King designed a master’s degree program in nursing based on a nursing conceptual framework. In 1964, she published her first theory piece in the journal Nursing Science, which was edited by nurse theorist Martha Rogers.
- Between 1966 and 1968, King worked at the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare as an Assistant Chief of Research Grants Branch, Division of Nursing, under Jessie Scott. King’s work “A Conceptual Frame of Reference for Nursing” was published in Nursing Research when she was in Washington, DC (1968).
- King met Midori Sugimori of Japan during a World Health Organization nursing research session in Manila, Philippines, in 1969. The two nurses remained in contact after that. Sugimori translated King’s two theoretical volumes into Japanese, and the works had a significant impact on Japanese nursing education. Tomomi Kameoka’s doctoral dissertation investigated the notion of goal attainment in Japan. When Kameoka presented her research at the honor society’s Biennial Convention in 2001, King was in attendance.
- From 1968 to 1972, King was the director of Ohio State University’s School of Nursing in Columbus. In 1972, King returned to Chicago to teach at Loyola University’s doctoral program. She was also the Coordinator of Clinical Nursing Research at the Loyola Medical Center Department of Nursing from 1978 to 1980. King served on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services for the US Department of Defense from 1972 to 1975. She was also elected alderman in Ward 2 of Wood Dale, Illinois, for a four-year term (1975-1979).
- Professor at the University of South Florida College of Nursing in Tampa, King was appointed in 1980. King continued to volunteer in the community and assist in the planning of events.
- In 1990, King retired from the University of South Florida and was awarded professor emeritus. She never truly retired because she was always available to students, staff, and colleagues who were implementing her theory, and she even worked “round the clock” at Tampa General Hospital to put it into practice. King was also a member of the University of Tampa’s nursing advisory board and gave a guest lecture there.
- In 1992, King spoke at two STTI theory conferences as the keynote speaker, and she presented her theory at several regional, national, and international STTI conferences. King kept in touch with students who were studying theories within her conceptual system on a frequent basis.
- King was a long-time member of the American Nurses Association (ANA), first with the Missouri Nurses Association, and later with the Illinois Nurses Association and the Ohio Nurses Association. She joined the Florida Nurses’ Association (FNA) and FNA District 4, Tampa, after moving to Tampa, Florida. King served as president of the Florida Nurses Foundation, on the boards of the Florida Nurses Association and the Florida Nurses Association District IV, and as a delegate from the FNA to the ANA House of Delegates.
Mildred Montag was present when King was the keynote speaker for the 37th Annual Isabel Maitland Stewart Conference in Research in Nursing at Teachers College, Columbia University, in 2000.
- The King International Nursing Group (K.I.N.G.) was established to help spread and use King’s research.
Theory of Goal Attainment
- The Theory of Goal Attainment states that “Nursing is a process of action, reaction, and interaction whereby nurse and client share information about their perception in the nursing situation.”
- The Theory of Goal Attainment, developed by Imogene King, was initially articulated in the 1960s. The model’s moniker suggests that it focuses on achieving certain life goals. It outlines how the nurse and the patient work together to communicate information, set goals, and take action to attain those goals. Roles, stress, space, and time are all aspects that influence goal attainment. The nurse’s purpose, on the other hand, is to assist patients in maintaining their health so that they may operate in their respective roles. The nurse’s role in the nursing process is to understand data, plan, implement, and evaluate nursing care.
- She established various concepts to help nurses comprehend her work, including the patient, who she defined as a social person with three basic needs: the need for health information, the need for preventative treatment, and the need for care when the patient is unable to help himself or herself.