Assignment: Holistic Philosophy

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Assignment: Holistic Philosophy

Assignment: Holistic Philosophy

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methods for relieving pain is key to improving

practice (Duignan & Dunn, 2008; Lui, So,

& Fong, 2008; Matthews & Malcolm, 2007;

Xue, Schulman-Green, Czaplinski, Harris,

& McCorkle, 2007).

Many strategies have been developed

to help bridge the gap between what nurses

know and what they actually do in practice

to help manage clients’ pain (Dihle,

Bjølseth, & Helseth, 2006). The problem

of under-treated pain persists and is likely

complicated by the lack of application of

theory to guide pain management practice.

When coupled with nurses’ uncertainty

about how to autonomously treat clients

in pain, pain relief outcomes are often

unsatisfactory. Theories, particularly

theories that have the potential to resonate

with clinicians and impact care of the whole

client, may be particularly powerful in

narrowing the theory-practice gap and

providing clues to more effective,

comprehensive pain management. The

application of a holistic philosophy of

care emphasizes the role of clinicians in

partnering with clients in the design and

implementation of mutually agreeable plans

for the relief of pain—plans that sufficiently

address the dimensions of the whole

person’s lived pain experience. Holistically,

the ultimate goals for the nurse are to better

understand the pain experience from the

client’s perspective, foster healing, and

deliver care that strives to provide the

greatest extent of pain relief possible.

Anchored in the Scope and Standards of

Holistic Nursing (2007), the five foundational

concepts of Dossey’s theory of integral

nursing articulate the qualities and way of

being that characterize the holistic, integral

nurse and prompt the nurse to attend to the

many dimensions of pain affecting the whole

client. In this way, the nurse invites the client

experiencing pain to participate in the

development of potentially transformative,

relationship-centered interactions and to

provide feedback on interventional success

or the need for further improvement.

The primary purpose of this paper is

to introduce the basic tenets of the theory

of integral nursing to aid clinicians in

designing caring interventions focused

on healing and grounded in the theory’s

holistic, relationship-centered approach.

Following the unfolding of the basic tenets

of this theory, examples of the application

of the theory to pain management are


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