The Theory of Integral Nursing (TIN) is a grand theory in the interactive-integrative paradigm that presents the science and art of nursing. It includes an integral process, integral worldview, and integral dialogues that is praxis-theory in action. An integral process is defined as a comprehensive way to organize multiple phenomenon of human experience and reality from four perspectives: (1) the individual interior (personal/intentional); (2) individual exterior (physiology/behavioral); (3) collective interior (shared/cultural); and (4) collective exterior (systems/structures).

Holistic nursing practice is included (embraced) and transcended (goes beyond) in this integral process. An integral worldview examines values, beliefs, assumptions, meaning, purpose, and judgments related to how individuals perceive reality and relationships from the above four perspectives. Integral dialogues are transformative and visionary exploration of ideas and possibilities across disciplines where these four perspectives are considered as equally important to all exchanges, endeavors, and outcomes. With an increased integral awareness and an integral worldview, nurses have new possibilities and ways to strengthen their capacities for integral dialogues with each other and other disciplines. We are more likely to raise our collective nursing voice and power to engage in social action in our professional role and work of service for society—locally to globally.

The Theory of Integral Nursing adapts work of Ken Wilber (1949—), one of the most significant American new-paradigm philosophers, to strengthen the core concept of healing. Wilber's integral model is an elegant, four-quadrant model that has been developed over 35 years. In his eight-volume The Collected Works of Ken Wilber, Wilber synthesizes in his monumental achievement the best known and most influential researchers, theorists, theories, and schools of thought to show that no individual or discipline can determine reality or has all the answers.

Many concepts within this integral nursing theory have been researched or are in very formative stages and exploration within integral medicine, integral healthcare administration, integral business, integral healthcare education, integral psychotherapy, integral coaching, and more. Within the nursing profession other nurses are also exploring integral and related theories and ideas. But as of yet, there is no theory of nursing that has Nightingale's philosophical foundation as an integralist combined with the integral process and integral worldview. When nurses consider the use of an integral lens they are more likely to expand nurses' roles in interdisciplinary dialogues and to explore commonalities and to examine differences and how to address these across disciplines. Our challenge in nursing is to increase our integral awareness as we increase our nursing capacities, strengths, and voices in all areas of practice, education, research, and healthcare policy.

Click here to download and read the first chapter of the following book in PDF format.
Dossey, B. M. and Keegan, L. (2013).
Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice, 6th ed.
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One page Theory of Integral Nursing handout (PDF)

Theory of Integral Nursing powerpoint (PDF)

For those of you that have PowerPoint, you may download a copy of the presentation here.

The Theory of Integral Nursing has been translated into the Estonian language by Marie Stefanova.

The Theory of Integral Nursing has been translated into Ukrainian by Sandi Wolfe.

The Theory of Integral Nursing has been translated into Russian by Nikita Shevchenko and David Diaz.

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