Award Date

2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing

Department

Nursing

Advisor 1

Lori Candela, Committee Chair

First Committee Member

Cheryl Bowles

Second Committee Member

Michele Clark

Third Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Graduate Faculty Representative

Jacimaria Batista

Number of Pages

154

Abstract

Nurses entering the healthcare arena are likely to encounter a gap in preparation from school to practice. Despite well-intentioned transition programs, nurses struggle to keep up with the reality of demanding schedules, stressful work environments and non-nursing tasks, such as their own comfort. Holistic comfort, a well-known concept in patient care, offers an innovative approach to nursing education to sustain new nurses transitioning into practice. This phenomenological study explored how nurses who experienced holistic comfort in their schooling were able to use the same philosophical approach to transcend unavoidable difficulties early in their careers.

Newly practicing nurses from a program which embraced holistic comfort as a learner-centered way of life participated in the study. The nurses recalled what holistic comfort meant to them in school and described the lived experience of assimilating holistic comfort as a philosophy into their attitudes and behaviors in practice. In both settings, holistic comfort was experienced as a positive approach to nursing education and during the transition to practice. In school, holistic comfort facilitated meaningful learning and the acquisition of self-strengthening behaviors. In early practice, participants found holistic comfort eased them into the profession. They used strategies attained in school to overcome anxiety, manage complex skills and tasks, find appropriate resources and advocate for the best outcomes in various situations. Patient safety, pride in patient care and feeling well prepared for the role, were attributed to using aspects of holistic comfort on a daily basis personally, and when interacting with others.

Implications suggest holistic comfort is experienced on a continuum from nursing education through practice and is an important factor in managing unavoidable difficulties in early practice. The meaning of holistic comfort from this study is defined as: sustenance and the ability for transcendence in the personal, interpersonal and professional dimensions of nursing. A functional conceptual model of this definition was created around which quantitative metrics can be developed in the future. Holistic comfort incorporated into education and transition programs may narrow the preparation gap and strengthen the individual for the enormity of a nursing career.

Keywords

Holistic comfort; Newly practicing nurses; Nursing education; Phenomenology; Transcendence

Disciplines

Nursing

Language

English


Included in

Nursing Commons

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