Kolcaba’s theory of comfort would be an excellent middle range theory for a manager to utilize in directing patient care in a pediatric emergency department. The focus on enhancing the comfort of patients and families would help to improve patient satisfaction scores, increase business, and reduce the stress of staff. In Kolcaba’s propositions of comfort theory she discusses that patients and families are more satisfied with health care and have better outcomes when comfort is achieved and the patient and family engage in health-seeking behaviors (McEwen & Wills, 2011). NRC Picker is one example of a pediatric patient satisfaction survey. Questions such as: “How often did nurses treat you with courtesy and respect?” And “How often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help your child with his/her pain?” are questions that would be impacted by a unit focus on comfort theory (NRC Picker, survey, 2013, p.1-2).
Kolcaba also discusses in her propositions of comfort theory that when patients, families, and nurses are satisfied with healthcare in an institution the public will recognize the institutions impact on healthcare and the institution will “remain viable and flourish” (McEwen & Wills, 2011, p. 234). As a manager the financial impact of implementing a comfort theory approach would be measureable. The implementation of a unit focus on comfort theory would not be expensive. However, the unit must already be functioning well, and be well staffed in order for nurses to be able to provide optimal comfort to their patients. If nurses perceive they only have time to do their assigned tasks and nothing else they may resist spending extra time assessing for and providing comforting interventions. If nurses are able to provide these comforting interventions on a regular basis and reflect on their practice they will recognize the benefits. As a nurse having the ability to provide relief and comfort to patients and families is extremely satisfying. If patients and families perceive their comfort is a nurse’s priority they will be satisfied with the care provided and not provide the negative feedback that can make a nurse’s job extremely stressful and frustrating.