Toward a Nursing Theory of Compassion Energy

Monday, 30 October 2017

Dorothy J. Dunn, PhD
School of Nursing, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ, USA

The purpose of this abstract for a poster presentation is to provide a comprehensive understanding of compassion energy in nursing. Compassion energy is a mutual process within a caring environment that is coextensive with the universe, participating knowingly in patterning, and ever evolving through expanding consciousness giving caring a quality of participating knowingly in the person-environment field patterning. Compassion energy’s three attributes are compassionate presence, patterned nurturance, and intentional knowing. To care compassionately is thought to be inherent in nursing practice. Compassion can be characterized through nursing actions within the intersubjective relationship between nurse and patient. There is an energy field experienced as vigor that is created within patient suffering and nurse’s compassion. Nurses who self-generate vigor as compassion energy find meaning in caring for others. Many nurses have a default setting to protect themselves from the experience of the patient who is suffering by distancing self from the perceived vulnerability and suffering. Nurse’s actions can become technical tasks devoid of healing potential and place the nurse at risk for compassion fatigue. The comprehensive understanding of compassion energy will be accomplished through an integrative review of the literature. The integrative review method will synthesize past empirical and theoretical literature to provide a comprehensive understanding of compassion energy. The five stages of integration are: 1) problem identification; 2) literature search; 3) data evaluation; 4) data analysis; and 5) presentation of the synthesis in the form of a model. These strategies will enhance the rigor of the integrative review methods in nursing into a systematic knowledge base while adding to the disciplinary knowledge for nursing education, practice, and research. The evidence will be theoretically linked to a philosophical and theoretical foundation. The integrative review of current literature will provide ways to explore nurse-patient experiences to promote health and well-being through knowledge and understanding of compassion energy. Beliefs and concepts that are in the literature will be theoretically linked to nursing knowledge (education), application (practice), and evidence (research/best practice). Compassion energy is the theoretical framework that will support nursing practice and promotes a meaningful relationship when caring for others.