The Comfort Theory

Topics: Nursing, Nursing theory, Nurse Pages: 9 (3503 words) Published: October 12, 2013

Kolcaba's Comfort Theory: Utilized in practice
East Tennessee State University

August 5, 2013

Kolcaba's Comfort Theory: Utilized in practice
Medical Theory
Ever since the last century, nursing has becoming a professional discipline and just like every other discipline, it requires some theories to guide it. It has been seen that the nursing theory is split along three levels. One level is grand, then middle-range and then there is the situation specific level (Meleis, 2012). As it would be expected, the grand theory is quite broad and highly abstract. Our basic concern is the middle range theory that is more focused these days and the newest theory to nursing science. These theories are basically an end product of a research study. The narrow range study is even more selective and is solely “based upon research findings” (McKenna, 1997, p. 17).

Just like any other discipline, theories are present in nursing to guide a person about the major goals and objectives of the nursing discipline. It tells the person about certain situations and allows them to guide through research. Research is done as to refute the theory, modify the theory or even completely eliminate the theory (Meleis, 2012). Middle range theories are merely part of the structure of a certain subject area. They go on to afresh the adequate knowledge of that discipline by expanding on specific phenomena that are linked to the healing process. The more and more that these theories are expanded, the discipline of nursing become more enriched. An example of this is if one takes the study that was conducted on how vulnerability or again forces humans to focus on the meaning of life. This basically builds up on the connections with others and the past, present or future. Ultimately, the result was that self-transcendence is linked to healing or well-being. Now it is known that healing and well-being is a very crucial focus of nursing. Therefore, it is to be placed into action that these theories not only get applied to nursing but to document the significant impact made. Similar to the example that was discussed earlier, we come to a very important nursing theory known as Kolcaba’s comfort theory. It is observed that Kolcaba’s theory (1992) is based on the earlier works of nurses like Watson (1979) and Orlando (1961). During the 1980’s, a lot of theories revolved around comfort and that is when most of the nurses and doctors began paying attention to this theory. In the early twentieth century, comfort was the major and only goal of nursing and medicine. As it is expected, comfort is the major thing that nurses and doctors aim for. Due to this reason, most of the textbooks and theories targeted comfort. The texts produced went on to ensure that the nurse provides adequate physical and emotional comfort to the patient. The major concepts of the Theory of Comfort include comfort measures, comfort, comfort care, comfort needs, institutional integrity, health-seeking behaviors and other intervening variables (Kolcaba, 1994). Comfort is the major purpose and objective of this theory. Comfort is merely a state that a person perceives and there are various ways to measure it. A person can experience comfort either by aspects of sociocultural, environmentally, physically or psycho-spiritually. Sociocultural aspects of comfort are received from one’s family, interpersonal and societal relationships (Kolcaba, 1994). Environmental comfort is described as being the wonderful aspect of a human experience through various lights, sounds, aromas, landscapes and temperatures (Kolcaba, Tilton, & Drouin, 2006). Physical comfort basically is linked to medical diagnosis pertaining to any sensation felt in the body that at one point hurt but are now at ease (Kolcaba, 1994). The psycho-spiritual comfort is reference to one’s identity, sexuality, or any spiritual relationship with a higher being (Kolcaba, 1994). If...

References: Goodwin, M., Sener, I., & Steiner, S. (2007, November 20). A novel theory for nursing education: Holistic comfort. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 25, 278-285.
Higgins, P., & Moore, S. (2000). Levels of theoretical thinking in nursing. Nursing Outlook, 48, 179-183.
Kolcaba, K. (1992). Holistic comfort: Operationalizing the construct as a nurse-sensitive outcome. Advances in Nursing Science, 15(1), 1-10.
Kolcaba, K. (1994). A theory of holistic comfort for nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19(6), 1178-1184.
Kolcaba, K., & Fisher, E. (1996). A holistic perspective on comfort care as an advance directive. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly, 18, 66-76.
Kolcaba, K., Tilton, C., & Drouin, C. (2006). Comfort Theory: A unifying framework to enhance the practice environment. Journal of Nursing Administration, 36(11), 538-544.
McKenna, H. (1997). Trouble with terminology. In R. Newell, & D. Thompson (Eds.), Nursing theories and models (4th ed., pp. 1-23). Lane, London: Routledge.
Meleis, A. (2012). Theory: Metaphors, symbols, definitions. In C. Brandon (Eds.) (Ed.), Theoretical nursing (5th ed., pp. 33-35). [Adobe Digital Edition]. Retrieved from
Orlando, I. (1961). The dynamic nurse-patient relationship: Function, process and principles. New York: Putnam Press.
Watson, J. (1979). Nursing: the philosophy and science of caring. Boston: Little Brown.
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