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Towards an ontological theory of wellness: a discussion of conceptual foundations and implications for nursing

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In this article a discussion of the phenomenon of wellness and its relevance to contemporary nursing practice is developed. Drawing on phenomenology, the research literature and the author's own wellness research, an exposition of the concept of wellness is presented. It is proposed that the experience of being well is lived as a continuity of time and that it involves both a taking-for-granted of the body and containment of the horizon of concern. The state of actually being well is also clarified and contrasted with the more common understanding of wellness as an optimal or future state. This discussion has significance for nursing knowledge development, in terms of our understanding of the experience of wellness and illness. It also has implications for how nurses approach their practice, particularly in the area of health promotion.

Keywords: containment; continuity; nursing philosophy; phenomenology; wellness

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 2009


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