Caring-Healing Inquiry for Holistic Nursing Practice: Model for Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Karen Dorn, RN, PhD, APRN-BC


Topics in Advanced Practice Nursing eJournal. 2004;4(4) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Research and systematic evaluation of practice are essential to quality care. The model, caring-healing inquiry for holistic nursing practice, is presented as a framework for guiding nursing research and performance-improvement initiatives in a regional tertiary care hospital. The model integrates the values of the hospital and principles that guide nursing practice with caring theory in nursing and builds on existing caring research. Caring theory is discussed as a philosophical and conceptual frame of reference for nursing research and as a means for nurses to describe their unique contribution to healthcare. Key elements for success of a nursing research program are discussed, including leadership and organizational support, the role of the nurse-researcher, the nursing research committee and advanced practice nurses, and the means for involving direct care nurses in research and practice-improvement processes.


The evidence-based practice (EBP) movement seeks to bridge the gap between research and practice. However, the outcomes of nursing practice cannot be adequately characterized unless nursing's unique contribution to healthcare is made explicit within the healthcare system.[1,2] Caring, as a central paradigm in nursing, provides a philosophical and conceptual frame of reference of which nursing's contribution can be described. Caring-based models that examine caring and its impact on health and healing are needed.[1] Efforts to blend caring theory with outcome-driven models of healthcare delivery show promise in integrating theory, research, and practice in today's complex healthcare system.[2,3] The purpose of this article is to present a caring theory-based model for nursing research and EBP at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a Magnet-certified, regional tertiary care center.


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