Integral Nursing Theory in Master’s Education

The Application in Scholarly Sources

In general, the Theory of Integral Nursing developed by Dr. Barbara Dossey in 2008 is a model that provides a global perspective on how to address the wellbeing and health of nurses and other healthcare professionals, healthcare systems, communities and families, and patients, (Dossey, Keegan, Barrere, & Helming, 2015). Despite being quite a recent theory, it has received widespread recognition in medicine and has been presented in many scholarly journals. For example, in their article “Exploring the Theory of Integral Nursing with Implications for Pain Management Practice” (2012), Susanne Tracy and Pamela DiNapoli emphasize that nursing theory does not receive enough attention when applied in practice. They state that there are three main reasons for this, namely, a lack of theoretical knowledge, the busy environment of nursing settings, and a lack of support from administrators for the application of theories in practice.

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In my opinion, the article has no particular weaknesses, but it has many strengths, as it provides a comprehensive overview of Dossey’s Theory of Integral Nursing and expresses concerns regarding its non-application in nursing practice. The authors also provide solid arguments for the need to apply this theory in practice and how overall nursing care can be improved (Tracy & DiNapoli, 2012). In particular, they focus on pain management and claim that nurses lack the theoretical knowledge that would allow them to effectively deal with pain and provide holistic healthcare.

Additionally, the authors highlight the importance of the theory of integral nursing for understanding the needs of patients and learning how to address those needs. However, they also point out that Dossey’s theory is not yet applied in practice because of its relative newness. Therefore, they advocate for the significance of its utilization (Tracy & DiNapoli, 2012). Therefore on the basis of this article I think that Dossey’s Theory of Integral Nursing is definitely being applied in scholarly literature, and I hope that it will soon be widely used in nursing practice as well.

The Relation with MSN Essentials

In general, the Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing provide guidance for nurses on how to develop their leadership skills, apply background theoretical knowledge, work in collaboration, use modern technologies, and communicate with patients in order to provide better healthcare (“The Essentials of Master’s, 2011”). There are nine Essentials in total, each analyzing different aspects of nursing education.

The first Essential concerns itself with the principles of integrating background knowledge from the humanities and sciences into nursing practice. The second Essential focuses on the significance of leadership skills in making critical decisions, cooperating with healthcare professionals, and ensuring better patient outcomes. The third Essential concentrates on the improvement of the quality of healthcare and the provision of safety. The fourth Essential concerns the problem of applying research findings and theoretical knowledge in nursing practice. The fifth Essential demonstrates the importance of using innovative healthcare technologies in enhancing patient care. The sixth Essential helps nurses understand how to implement advocacy strategies in order to be able to impact the healthcare system. The seventh Essential relates to the important role of collaboration and communication with patients and healthcare professionals in order to promote better patient care. The eighth Essential concerns strategies to prevent diseases, thereby significantly improving the level of health in the community. The ninth Essential focuses on the importance of Master’s Nursing Education in the improvement of knowledge and skills that are crucial in providing better healthcare and ensuring better patient outcomes (“The Essentials of Master’s, 2011”).

In fact, all these Essentials are connected with Dossey’s Theory of Integral Nursing to a certain degree. The reason for this is that this theory is a grand theory of nursing, which means that it provides the most general approach to nursing and analyzes its most basic principles (Dossey et al., 2015). However, there are two Essentials that most closely relate to this article, as they are fully and directly connected to the theory of integral nursing.

One of them is the first Essential, which has the closest relation to Dossey’s theory and to the article analyzed above. The main focus of the theory and this Essential is to integrate theoretical knowledge into practice (“The Essentials of Master’s, 2011”). The article emphasizes the problem of the lack of theoretical knowledge on the part of nurses and insufficient attention to its application in practice, and the first Essential teaches about incorporating research findings into practice, applying ethical principles in nursing care, evaluating care by means of quality strategies, and integrating emerging evidence into nursing practice in order to improve healthcare.

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The other Essential that is also similar in its main goals to the article and to Dossey’s theory is the fourth Essential. The article focuses on the question why modern nurses cannot provide holistic care, and this Essential teaches how to integrate research evidence, cultural knowledge, theoretical knowledge, and communication skills in order to improve the practical aspects of patient care (“The Essentials of Master’s, 2011”).

Thus it can be stated that the Theory of Integral Nursing, the article analyzed here, and the first and the fourth Essentials have the same main concern, namely, the utilization of nursing theory in nursing practice. Additionally, despite being a comparatively new theory, Dossey’s Theory of Integral Nursing is widely used and discussed in scholarly sources.


The Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing (2011). Web.

Dossey, B. M., Keegan, L., Barrere, C. C., & Helming, M. A. B. (2015). Holistic nursing: A handbook for practice (7th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Tracy, S. M., & DiNapoli, P. P. (2012). Exploring the theory of integral nursing with implications for pain management practice. International Journal for Human Caring, 16(1), 26-34.

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