Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort

Within the context of theory illustrates a demanding yet creative shaping of plans, structured requirements, and prediction of a provisional, determined, and systematic sight of phenomena (Chinn, 2011). Nursing theory is a crucial function within the nursing practice. Theories afford nurses with the distinctive facets that are in encompassed within patient care and the nursing profession. Clarification of practice governance, and expectations are also integrated within contextual framework of nursing theory. It bestows various manners to acquire data, examine and study, and foresee the practice of nursing and the outcomes of patient care (Parker, 2010).

Kolcaba’s middle range theory of comfort captivated my interest because my impression of comfort curtails that of positive patient outcomes.

Comfort is not solitary to just physical ailments, but emotional and psychological measures in addition. Throughout my experiences and years as bedside registered nurse, I can attest that patient requests stem largely from the factor of being made comfortable. As stated above, this not only embraces physical comfort, but something unassuming as a comforting touch or positive attitude to render the positive outcome and a content patient.

Absorbing how theory influences practice has been an impediment that I have recently overcame. I was unmindful that certain situations and decision making were reinforced through the use of theory. Examination of the importance of nursing theories, more in depth review of Kolcaba’s theory of comfort, and theory of comfort in nursing practice, education, and research will be reviewed further.

Importance of Nursing Theories

Separately from the governance of practice and foundation for the practice of nursing, theories furthermore propounds opportunities for nurses in the
sense of practical application.

Measurable changes and enrichment of the profession occur when nursing theories are incorporated into practice. The benefits of having a defined frame of theory in nursing produces superior patient care, heightened professional repute for nurses, progressed interaction among nurses, and direction for exploration of the practice and education. Theories also illustrate the quality of the nursing profession, and serves as a reservoir of knowledge with the examination of the essential requirements of patients and necessary interventions. In addition, specialized rationales are provided. Succeeding medical doctors orders are not exclusively to the context of nursing care.

Nursing care incorporates not only a compassionate attitude but passion for care of patients. The caring component of nursing cannot be measured, rather dissected through theory within the clarification of what nurses do. Systemically this is all supported through abundant theories and theorist. The nursing profession emphasizes on holistic care which is defined as treatment of the whole person. Within this skill is the admittance of problems that are biomedical but also opportune clarification of the well-being and health of a human that introduces added indicators of disease that are non-visualized (Powers, 2011).

Kolcaba’s Theory of Comfort

The origination of Kolcaba’s theory of comfort stemmed was first established in the 1900’s. Founder, Katherine Kolcaba, concluded that for a positive patient outcome to accomplished, comfort is a crucial obligation. Katherine organized a representation for exploring, analyzing, and gauging the care of the patient. Historically, she believed that the product of the profession of nursing is comfort. According to Kolcaba (2010), comfort is achieved in a few diverse ways to include transcendence, relief, and ease. Transcendence represents the aptitude to overcome the lack of comfort sensed by patients through their awareness to cease. Patients are able to rise above their challenges. For example, a post-operative below the knee amputee patient may experience great physical pain from the surgery as well as psychological trauma from the intervention. Pushing forward to regain strength and independence would be an instance of transcendence.

Relief constitutes any ordered analgesic medication that can be given to the patient or non-pharmacologic interventions such as distraction or repositioning. This structure of comfort is experienced as relief. Anxiety reducing measures such as anxiolytics or inducing expression through conversation or other forms of communication can be facilitated. These actions can be constituted as placing the patient at ease. In my day to day professional practice experiences, I come across different situations where comfort may be the only measure to take in a particular patients care. Pharmacological therapy interventions are important for adequate relief, but non-pharmacological interventions are just as imperative. A simple caring touch and tone conditions the patient to an enhanced state.

This particular theory affords nurses a better comprehension and obligation to comfort in the practice setting. Nurse are the forefront of healthcare. We have the ability to promptly identify the demands the needs of the patient. Kolcaba’s theory of comfort conforms into the nursing metaparadigm with relation to the three concepts presented: transcendence, relief, and ease. There is a clear consensus about the concepts which includes health, nursing, person, and environment of the metaparadigm. Kolcaba elaborated on the four various experience backgrounds that comfort is achieved. These include environmental, physical, social, and psychospiritual (Kolcaba, 2010).

Theory of comfort in nursing practice, education, and research Kolcaba’s theory of comfort guides research in assorted ways. It challenges the nurse to examine the correlation among holistic interventions and different comfort measures. It also imposes a contention between comfort and “health seeking behaviors”. If the product is positive, than it enhances future endeavors and postulates additional motivators to provide comfort. Institutional outcomes are also examined (Koehn, 2000).


Chinn, P.L., & Kramer, M.K. (2011). Integrated theory and knowledge of development in
nursing (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby/Elsevier

Koehn, M. (2000) Alternative and complementary therapies for labor and birth: an application of
Kolcaba’s theory of holistic comfort.

Holistic Nursing Practice. 15(1):66-77 Kolcaba, K. (1992).

Holistic comfort: Operationalizing the constructs as a nurse-sensitiveOutcome.

Advances in Nursing Science, 15(1), 1-10, p. 6.

Kolcaba, K. (1994) A theory of holistic comfort for nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing19: 1178-1184

Kolcaba, K. & DiMarco, M.A. (2005) Comfort theory and its application to pediatric nursing.

Pediatric Nursing, 31(3), 187-194Parker, M.E., & Smith,

M.C. (2010), Nursing theories and nursing practice (3rd ed.)Philadelphia, P.A.: F.A. Davis Company
Powers, B.A., & Knapp, T.R. (2011).

Dictionary of nursing theory and research (4th ed.).
York: Springer Publisher Company

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