- Madeleine Leininger (July 13, 1925 – August 10, 2012) was an internationally recognized educator, author, theorist, administrator, researcher, consultant, public speaker, and the creator of the concept of transcultural nursing, which has had a significant impact on how to care for patients from various cultures and backgrounds.
- She is a Certified Transcultural Nurse, an Australian Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, and an American Academy of Nursing Fellow. Her notion has evolved into a nursing science that is now an important aspect of how nurses practice in today’s healthcare environment.
- Madeleine Leininger was born in Sutton, Nebraska, on July 13, 1925. She attended Sutton High School and grew up on a farm with her four brothers and sisters.
- She joined the United States Army Nursing Corps after graduating from Sutton High School and is currently enrolled in a basic nursing program. Her aunt’s congenital heart ailment inspired her to pursue a nursing career.
- Madeleine Leininger joined the Cadet Nurse Corps in 1945 alongside her sister, a federally supported program designed to boost the number of nurses educated to meet expected requirements during World War II.
- She graduated from St. Anthony’s Hospital School of Nursing with a nursing diploma, then went on to Mount St. Scholastica College and Creighton University for her undergraduate degrees.
- At Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, Leininger established a psychiatric nursing service and educational program. Between 1951 to 1954, she studied biological sciences, nursing administration, education, and curriculum, earning the equivalent of a BSN.
- In 1954, she earned a master’s degree in nursing from the Catholic University of America.
- In 1965, Leininger began a doctoral degree in Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, becoming the first professional nurse to receive a Ph.D. in the field.
Madeleine Leininger’s Career and Appointments
- Madeleine Leininger suffered a cultural shock while working at a child guidance home in the 1950s when she noticed that children’s recurring behavioral patterns looked to have a cultural base. She identified the missing link in nursing as a lack of cultural and caring understanding.
- She went on to work at the University of Cincinnati as an Associate Professor of Nursing and Director of the Graduate Program in Psychiatric Nursing in 1954. She pursued graduate studies in curriculum, social sciences, and nursing at this university as well.
- She was the first to coin the term “culturally congruent care” in the 1960s, which was the purpose of the Theory of Culture Care, and it is now used globally.
- Leininger was named Professor of Nursing and Anthropology at the University of Colorado, making her the first nursing professor in the United States to have dual appointments.
- In terms of her role as a pioneer nurse anthropologist, Leininger was named Dean of the University of Washington School of Nursing in 1969 and held the position until 1974. Under her direction, the University of Washington was named the best public institutional nursing school in the United States in 1973.
- Her appointment came after a journey to New Guinea in the 1960s, which taught her the need of nurses knowing their patients’ cultures and backgrounds in order to give care. Some call her the “Margaret Mead of nursing,” and she is known around the world as the originator of transcultural nursing, a program she started at the School in 1974.
- From 1974 to 1980, Leininger worked at the University of Utah College Nursing as Dean, Professor of Nursing, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Nursing Research, as well as the Doctoral and Transcultural Nursing Programs.
- In 1975, she became the first full-time President of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, as well as one of the inaugural members of the American Academy of Nursing.
- From 1956 to 1995, Leininger worked as a teacher and academic administrator, a writer from 1961 to 1995, a lecturer from 1965 to 1995, a consultant from 1971 to 1992, and a pioneer in the field of transcultural nursing from 1966 to 1995.
- She was an adjunct faculty member and Professor Emeritus of Nursing at Wayne State University.
Theory of Transcultural Nursing
- Madeleine Leininger recognized a lack of cultural and care knowledge as the missing component to a nurse’s understanding of the many variations required inpatient care to support compliance, healing, and wellness through her observations while working as a nurse, which led her to develop the theory of Transcultural Nursing, also known as Culture Care Theory.
- This idea aims to provide culturally appropriate nursing care by using “cognitively based assistive, supportive, facilitative, or enabling acts or decisions that are largely tailored to meet the individual’s, group’s, or institution’s cultural values, beliefs, and lifeways.”
- The major goal of Leininger’s idea is for nursing care to be compatible with or advantageous to people of various or similar cultural backgrounds in terms of meaning and health outcomes. With this, she created the Sunrise Model in a logical order to show how the elements in her Culture Care Diversity and Universality thesis are interconnected.