Katharine Kolcaba: the Story of a Theorist
When and how did nursing as a concept and as a practical activity of care about the diseased generate? Acquainted with a number of historical and medical works of different authors it has led to the conclusion that nursing is older medicine than civilization. This material of paleological character revealed in archaeological excavations and showed that people of Mousterian period (about 100 thousand years BC) survived after fracture healing, ritual trepanations by dint of nursing. The great example of selfless service of nursing is a history of Katharine Kolcaba .She is an Associate Professor in Emeritus Status College of Nursing, The University of Akron. In 1994, her famous Theory of Comfort was published at the first time.
“Holistic comfort is defined as the immediate experience of being strengthened through having the needs for relief, ease, and transcendence met in four contexts of experience (physical, psycho-spiritual, social, and environmental)”(Kolcaba, 1991).
Katharine Kolcaba was born on December 8, 1944 in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1965, she graduated from St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing and started her nursing career. Even at that time, Katharine had interests in the developing of nursing profession. Particularly, she strived to understand how to implicate nursing in gerontology correctly. Early years of her career were the time of establishment and development of Kolcaba as a theorist. She studied a great number of early theory works and began to apply this knowledge at her work place.
According to Nursing Theories (2012), “the theory of comfort is one of the many middle range nursing theories because it is focused on a limited dimension of the reality of nursing. It is formulated to provide guidance for everyday practice and scholarly research rooted in the discipline of nursing”.
When in 1987 she graduated from the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University, she also got the special reward. It was a Cushing Robb Prize for excellent work in a Master of Science in nursing program.
In 1997, she had her next achievements such as earning of Ph.D. in nursing, and receiving of a Certificate of Authority as a Clinical Nursing Specialist. This year Katharine also received the Marie Haug Student Award for being excellent student in Aging Studies. This award was from her native Case Western Reserve University. Kolcaba’s specialist field consisted of Comfort Studies, Nursing Theory, and Nursing Research. Nevertheless, the special place in that list took Gerontology and the End of Life. From that time, she especially concentrated on research and development in Gerontology.
The next professional level was the teaching. In 1987, Katharine Kolcaba started Bachelor’s program of Nursing, which specialized on gerontology. It was a starting point of developing her concepts of nursing. At that time,” she developed her propositions about comfort with specific attention on end-of-life and palliative care with focus on gerontology as an emerging specialty in nursing” (Nursing Theories, 2012). As a result, Katharine published Comfort Theory and Practice: a Vision for Holistic Health Care and Research in 1999. She continued teaching in University and developed her theory. In 2003, the publishing of the Comfort Theory and Practice: A vision for Holistic Health Care became a great result of the hard work. In the same year, Midwest Nursing Research Society rewarded Katharine Kolcaba with the Advancement of Science Award for her work End of Life and Palliative Care Nursing. Then, she took part in co-writing of article published in Anesthesia Nursing. In 2005 she received Second Place Award in the Best Practice Category by the American Society. According to Kolcaba (2003):
Political decisions have to be less driven by special interests and campaign finances and more driven by altruistic ideals of equity and unity. Individual rights have to be balanced with mutual respect and regard for fellow Americans and international citizens. National policy has to account for more than our own best interests. Americans must take ownership of policy vision and formulation- we are all in this together! (p.193)
These words brightly describe the altruistic attitude of Katharine Kolcaba to the people and to the world. She is not only high classed professional, but also kind woman who enjoys the life.. She is also enthusiastic in photography and gardening. She has two daughters and eight grandchildren. Despite her age, Katharine continues to teach and likes to work with students.