Constructs of Holism and Healing

Constructs of Holism and Healing

Pain is a multidimensional,

subjective phenomenon and experience.

As such, the meaning and impact of any

pain experience differs for each client,

family member, nurse, and provider. Many

definitions of pain have surfaced over

the last four decades and offer multiple

interventions to alleviate clients’ pain. At the

2007 council meeting for the International

Association for the Study of Pain (IASP),

in Koyoto, Japan, the council confirmed its

1992 definition of pain as “…an unpleasant

sensory and emotional experience

associated with actual or potential tissue

damage, or described in terms of such

damage” (www.iasp-pain-org). In its

monograph on understanding, assessing,

and treating pain, the American Pain Society

supports both the IASP definition of pain

and McCaffery’s definition of pain as

“…whatever the experiencing person says

it is, existing whenever s/he says it does”

(APS, 2006, p. 4; McCaffery & Passero,

1999, p. 17). While the IASP definition

has been described as the most widely used

definition of pain, McCaffery’s definition

has gained substantial support over the past

30 years and is widely used in clinical

practice as a foundation for all types of pain

management care. Both definitions help

capture the intricate nature of the pain

experience. The IASP definition infers the

multidimensionality of the phenomenon

of pain by stating it is both physical and

emotional, though an emphasis is noted

on the sensory nature of pain. McCaffery’s

definition emphasizes the subjective nature

of the pain experience and situates clients

Exploring the Theory of Integral Nursing with Implications for Pain Management Practice Susanne M. Tracy, PhD, RN and Pamela P. DiNapoli, PhD, RN, CNL University of New Hampshire

International Journal for Human Caring


Inadequate attention is paid to the role of theory in guiding practice. three main factors

affect the use of theory to guide clinical practice: insufficient theory knowledge, insufficient

administrative support to encourage the development of theory-based interventions, and

the busy task-oriented climate of many nursing settings. Pain management is a vexing

problem confronting clients and healthcare professionals. the primary purpose of this

paper is to introduce scholars and clinicians to the basic tenets of Dossey’s (2008) theory of

integral nursing to aid nurses in designing client-centered pain management interventions

grounded in the theory’s main constructs of holism and healing.
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