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critical incident technique, descriptive data collection, holistic nursing, qualitative research, reflection, research methodology, storytelling



  1. Sharoff, Leighsa EdD, RN, NPP, AHN, BC


This article describes the critical incident technique (CIT) as it informs holistic nursing. The CIT is a qualitative, systematic, open-ended technique for educing descriptive data from participants. It is an effective naturalistic tool for focusing participants on a specific event. The CIT is a user-friendly instrument that can foster reflection and promote personal expression. Holistic nursing is a personal and professional commitment to the healing process of self and others. The competency of holistic nurses revolves around their ability to incorporate the concepts and standards of the philosophy of holistic nursing into their life and practice. This article explores the use of the CIT in 2 separate studies on holistic nurses. Both studies utilized the CIT as a secondary source of data collection. All participants in both studies were members of the American Holistic Nurses Association. One study explored how experienced certified holistic nurses learned to become competent practitioners, while the other study focused on holistic nurses' experience with modalities, the perceived benefits to self and client.