Comfort: Exploration of the concept in nursing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background. Comfort is a substantive need throughout life. However, the rise of technological influence coupled with a desire to embrace the medical concept of cure has frequently relegated the importance of nursing comfort interventions to simple tasks that can be provided by non-professional caregivers rather than an integral part of health promotion at all levels. Definition. Comfort is a concept that has been explored by a number of authors. Various definitions have included comfort as an outcome of nursing, a function of nursing, a basic human need, and a process. No consensus on a definition of comfort was found in the literature. Theory. This investigation attempts to link the ideas of comfort presented in the literature with the theories of Watson (Human Care) and Leininger (Culture Care), and discovers the existence of an integral locus for comfort in both. Implications. Theory-based strategies for nursing education are offered. Further research is clearly required, research methodologies based on Watson and Leininger would be appropriate for additional exploration of this concept. Practice implications include reflecting on the meaning of comfort to the patient in the context of his/her cultural values, and using this one as one of the factors in planning and implementing nursing care. Conclusion. Given the current emphasis on health promotion and the importance of comfort to the process of healing, comfort is an indispensable element of holistic, culturally congruent human care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-606
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of advanced nursing
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Caring
  • Comfort
  • Concept
  • Health promotion
  • Leininger
  • Nursing theory
  • Watson

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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