• integration;
  • transitions;
  • concept analysis;
  • healing

Purpose:To clarify the definition of integration and to identify universal aspects of the experience of integration related to healing, health, and nursing care.

Design:An integrative review concept analysis method was used. Relevant reports were identified by a computer-assisted search using the keyword integration in CINAHL from 1966 to 2004 and by reviewing the reference lists of retrieved reports. The final sample included 56 reports; 36 were empirical and 20 were theoretical.

Methods:Data were extracted from primary sources on the definition of integration, aspects of the process, antecedents, consequences, and facilitators. Data display matrices were used and were iteratively compared to derive a process model of integration related to health.

Findings:A wide range of primary sources indicated that integration is an important aspect of healing or recovery from illness. Integration is defined as a complex person-environment interaction whereby new life experiences (i.e., illness) are assimilated into the self and activities of daily living, thereby contributing to overall life balance.

Conclusions:Results of this analysis indicate the importance of the concept of integration to the science and practice of nursing. The process of integration appears to be a significant phase that occurs between a diagnosis of illness and subsequent physical and emotional healing.