The Theory Development and Modification of the Grounded Theory: Intentionality, the Matrix of Healing

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 10:30 AM

Rothlyn Zahourek, PhD, RN, PMHCNS-BC, AHN-BC
School of Nursing, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Amherst, MA

Intentionality has been deemed essential for healing. It is relevant to such uniquely nursing interventions as Therapeutic Touch and Healing Touch. It is also an important concept in all nursing care for promoting the healing process. The understanding of what the term means has been illusive.

Purpose: The first study was designed to investigate how intentionality was manifest in nurse caregivers and their client-healees. The second study was with a more diversified group of caregivers. The goal was to test and/or enlarge the first theory: Intentionality: the Matrix of Healing. The purpose of both studies is to develop and clarify a theory of intentionality in the context of healing.

Methods: Two qualitative studies are presented. The first used a grounded theory approach with a select population of nurse healers and their client healees. The second enlisted a more diversified population and incorporated a synthesis of qualitative approaches to modify, clarify and expand the original theory of intentionality as the matrix for healing.

Results: The theory that emerged from the first study described three forms of intentionality. Each form is characterized by three attributes. These form a matrix of interwoven and evolving characteristics and relationships within the context of healing. The second study supported the basic tenants of the theory but expanded the forms and the attributes of the forms.

Conclusion: Theory is meant to grow and develop as new and more diversified groups are studied. These studies supported the basic evolutionary aspects of a theory of intentionality in healing that can be used by both caregivers and recipients of care to augment the process of healing. The results have implications for nursing practice and for nursing education. The theory contributes to the nursing knowledge base and will provide a basis from which other conceptual and theoretical frameworks may evolve.