Theory of Integral Nursing

Manuel M Cabrera


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Theory of Integral Nursing

Tracy and DiNapoli (2012) claim that the theory proposed by Dossey has the potential to improve the efficiency of pain-management treatment due to its focus on holism and healing (26).

The theory of integral nursing is based on the idea that four dimensions of reality are interconnected, and a nurse may not be able to provide high-quality care if underlying beliefs and assumptions that influence the patient’s experiences are ignored. The authors of the article maintain that interventions guided by the principles outlined by Dossey could be optimal when focusing on pain-management because discussions about objective and subjective experiences may facilitate conversations and promote openness (Tracy & DiNapoli, 2012, p. 30). On the other hand, this approach also has a set of limitations. The biggest problem is that the effectiveness of the proposed measures has not been well-researched. Therefore, it is important to conduct studies before attempting to apply this theory in practice because clients always expect high-quality services, and it would be unethical to test this theory without their consent (Northouse, 2019).

It is important to focus on the third and the fourth Essentials when attempting to apply this theory in practice. Professional nurses are expected to lead quality improvement initiatives according to the third initiative, and this theory may be utilized to improve the quality of pain-management interventions (AACN, 2011, p. 14). Similarly, nurses should have the ability to integrate theories into practice according to the fourth Essential. The focus on these Essentials is important because it helps to ensure that nurses are always focused on the improvement of quality and do not rely on theories or frameworks that have not proven to be effective.

Overall, the theory of integral nursing was developed based on sound assumptions and may change the direction of pain-management interventions. Nevertheless, it can be said that additional research in this area is necessary to verify some of the assumptions and assess the effectiveness of this framework.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). (2011). The Essentials of master’s education in nursing [PDF file]. Retrieved from

Northouse, P. G. (2019). Interactive: Leadership: Theory and practice interactive eBook (8th ed.). [VitalSource]. Retrieved from

Tracy, S. M., & DiNapoli, P. P. (2012). Exploring the theory of integral nursing with implications for pain management practice. International Journal of Human Caring, 16(1), 26-33.

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