Marlaine Cappelli Smith was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area in an Italian family, and is a first generation college graduate. She has worked as a nurse on medical-surgical units in acute care, in public health and in long-term care, and has been a nurse educator since 1976 when she held her first faculty position at Duquesne University. Following that she taught at Penn State, LaRoche College and the University of Colorado at Denver School of Nursing where she was the Director of the Masters Program, Director of the Center for Integrative Caring Practice and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

Her contributions to nursing can be clustered in two areas: developing knowledge related to processes and outcomes of healing, specifically touch therapies, and analyzing, extending and applying existing nursing theories. She has completed four studies related to outcomes of touch therapies, and was invited to participate on the Samueli Institute's interdisciplinary scientific panel to advance guidelines for the study of healing. Her work in theory development includes concept analyses, testing and extending nursing theories, meta-theoretical commentaries, and developing and evaluating models of theory-guided practice. Marlaine is a student and practitioner of holistic approaches to health and healing, self-reflection and spiritual development. She has studied therapeutic touch, Reiki, High Touch Jin Shin, guided imagery, meditation, and has completed a certificate program in aromatherapy. She is passionate about developing the discipline of nursing, unitary and caring perspectives in nursing, and transforming healthcare through holistic approaches to healing. In 1999 Marlaine received the NLN's Martha E. Rogers' Award for her contributions to the advancement of nursing science, and she is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.

Marlaine lives in Boca Raton with her husband, Brian. Her children and granddaughters live in Georgia, California and Colorado. She enjoys walking on the beach, reading, watching movies, cooking Italian food and traveling to new places.


  • NGR 7706: Caring: An Essential Domain of Nursing Knowledge
  • NGR 7709: Crafting the Life of Scholarship


  • For the past 25 years Dr. Smith has been conducting research related to touch therapies, specifically examining how massage, therapeutic touch, simple touch and hand massage mediates pain, symptom distress, sleep, quality of life and other experiences for patients facing various health-related challenges.
  • 2009 Principal Investigator (Ouslander, Vitale Co-Investigators). Hand massage for insomnia in nursing home residents. Pilot study.

Funded Research

  • 2003-07: Co-PI. (Kutner Co-PI) Efficacy of massage therapy in end of life care. Funding source: National Institutes of Health – NCCAM - R01 AT1006-01A2 –$1,327,799. Multi-site randomized clinical trial.
  • 2003-04: Co-PI (Kutner & Smith). Efficacy of massage therapy for pain and symptom distress in advanced lung cancer. Funding sources: Mendel/Asarch Lung Cancer Family Foundation Grants Program. Funded, $9,967.
  • 1997-01: Co-PI (Smith & Reeder), Clinical outcomes of touch therapies during bone marrow transplant, Funding sources:  $6,000 SON, $6,000 Chancellor’s Office, $6,000 Donor, Funded, $18,000.
  • 1997-98: Co-Investigator, School-based mental health services:  Meta-analysis of outcomes, P. Uris (PI) Funding source: SON intramural grant. Funded, $5,000.
  • 1996-97: Co-Investigator, A metaanalysis of clinical trials using biofeedback in patients with primary hypertension, C. Yucha (PI) Funding source: SON intramural grant.  Funded, $3,000.
  • 1993-96: PI, The effects of a therapeutic massage program on indicators of quality and cost-Effectiveness.  University Hospital Authority Grants Program ($30,450) and University Hospital Gift Shop ($10,000). Funded, $40,450.00.
  • 1995-96: PI, Outcomes of therapeutic massage with cancer patients. Denver VAMC. Funded for approximately  $20,000 by Denver VAMC.
  • 1994: Co-PI. Community assessment: Sheridan, Colorado.  State of Colorado AHEC, UCHSC-SON, and Sheridan School District. (approximately $3,000).
  • 1993: Co-PI. Community assessment: Delta & Olathe, Colorado.  State of Colorado AHEC and SON Extended Studies. (approximately $4,000).
  • 1992: Co-PI. Community assessment: Longmont, Colorado.  State of Colorado AHEC and SON Extended Studies. (approximately $3,000).
  • 1991: Co-PI. Community assessment: Nederland, Colorado. State of Colorado AHEC and SON Extended Studies. (approximately $3,000).
  • 1990-91: PI. The lived experience of hope for families of the critically-ill. SON intramural grant. $3,000.
  • 1990: Co-PI. Community assessment: Estes Park, Colorado. State of Colorado AHEC and SON Extended Studies. (approximately $3,000).
  • 1989-90: Co-investigator. Evaluation of Parse’s theory-based practice in an acute care setting. Marc Santopinto, PI. Peel Memorial Hospital, Brampton, Ontario, Canada. $48,000.

Research Not Funded by Grants

  • 2009-11: PI. Stories of healing from holistic nurses. Joint project with 6 holistic researchers.
  • 2007-08: Co-PI. Nursing students’ experience during a practicum at the Cherokee Nation.
  • 2006-07: Co-PI Appropriating caring knowledge in an accelerated B.S. Program in Nursing
  • 2004-06: PI. Experiences of patients receiving and providers giving touch therapy at end of life.
  • 2001-02: PI. A Survey of CAM Use and Interest by the UCHSC Community.
  • 2000-03: Co-Investigator. An emancipatory inquiry into the nature of nursing practice today. Peggy Chinn, PI.
  • 1998: Co-PI. Nitric oxide levels and therapeutic touch: A pilot study.
  • 1991: Research Associate. Exercise and functional ability of people with lung cancer,  K. Hembree, PI. Funded by Presbyterian St. Luke’s Center for Health Care Research.
  • 1989-90: Evaluator/Consultant. Evaluation of nursing practice using Parse’s theory in an Acute care facility. Gail Mitchell, PI. St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Canada.
  • 1988: Evaluator. An evaluation study of theory-based practice in a longterm care setting. M. Santopinto, PI. Victoria Hospital, London, Ontario, Canada.
  • 1987: Evaluator.  An evaluation study of different theory-based practice models. A. Boykin, R. Parse, S. Schoenhafer, Co-PIs. Florida Atlantic University.
  • 1985-86: Evaluator. Patterns of nursing practice and quality of life in hospitalized psychiatric patients. S. Magan, PI. Veteran’s Administration Medical Center, Highlands Drive, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • 1979-80: Evaluator. Evaluating the expansion of teaching and administration areas in an MSN Program. R. Parse, PI. HRSA-DON Training Grant.
  • 1977: R.A. Evaluation of Cancer Nursing Workshop. NCI Grant. M. Donovan, PI. – N01-CN-55186.

Recent Publications


  • Smith, MC & Parker, M. (Eds.) (2015). Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice (4th edition). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.
  • Kagan, P.N., Smith, M.C. & Chinn, P.L. (2014) Philosophies and Practices of Emancipatory Nursing: Social Justice as Praxis. London: Routledge.  
  • Smith, M.C., Turkel, M.C. & Wolf, Z.R. (2013). Caring in nursing classics. New York: Springer.
  • Parker, M. & Smith, M.C. (2010). (Eds.) Nursing theories and nursing practice (3rd edition). Philadelphia: F.A. Davis.

Journals and Chapters

  • Smith, M.C. (2016) Healed and Healing: Advancing nursing knowledge of healing through caring. In W. Rosa (Ed.) Nurses as Leaders: Evolutionary Visions of Leadership. New York: Springer, pp. 193-207.
  • Dyess, SM, Prestia, AS & Smith, MC (2015). Support for caring and resiliency among successful nurse leaders. Nursing Administration Quarterly, 39(2),104-116. DOI:10.1097/NAQ.0000000000000101
  • Hines, ME, Wardell, DW, Engebretson, J, Zahourek, R & Smith, MC. (2014). Holistic nurses’ stories  of healing another. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 20(10), 27-45. DOI: 10.1177/0898010114536925. 
  • Smith, MC & Parker, ME (2015). Nursing theory and the discipline of nursing. In Nursing theories and nursing practice. 4th ed. MC Smith & ME Parker (Eds). Philadelphila: FA Davis, pp. 3-18.
  • #Parker, ME & Smith, MC. (2015) A guide for the study of nursing theories for practice. In Nursing theories and nursing practice. 4th ed. MC Smith & ME Parker (Eds). Philadelphila: FA Davis, pp. 19-22.
  • #Parker, ME & Smith, MC. (2015) Choosing, evaluating and implementing nursing theories for practice. Nursing theories and nursing practice. 4th ed. Philadelphia: FA Davis, pp. 23-34.
  • #Smith, MC. (2015). Marlaine Smith’s theory of unitary caring. In Smith MC & Parker, ME (Eds.) Nursing theories and nursing practice. 4th ed. Philadelphila: FA Davis, pp. 509-519.
  • #Smith, MC (2014) Disciplinary perspectives linked to middle range theory. In M.J. Smith & P. Liehr (Eds.). Middle Range Theories in Nursing. New York: Springer,New York: Springer, pp. 3-14.
  • #Smith, MC (2014) Evaluation of middle range theories for the discipline of nursing. In M.J. Smith & P. Liehr (Eds.). Middle Range Theories in Nursing. New York: Springer, New York: Springer, pp. 35-49.
  • Peng, NH, Chen, LL, Tsai-Chung, L, Smith, MC, Chang,Y, Huang, LC, (In Press) The effect of positioning on preterm infants’ sleep-wake states and stress behaviors during exposure to environmental stressors. Journal of Child Care & Health. Accepted 4/15/2013.
  • Smith, MC, Zahourek, R, Enzman-Hines, M, Engebretson, J & Wardell, D. (In Press). Holistic nurses’ stories of personal healing. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 
  • Kutner, J.S. & Smith, M.C. (2012). CAM in Chronic Pain and Palliative Care. In Handbook of Pain and Palliative Care. Moore, R. (Ed.) New York: Springer: pp.649-696. 
  • Chen, YC, Wang, YC, Chen, WK, Huang, HM, Smith, MC, Huang, LC*. (2012). The effectiveness of a health education intervention on self-care of traumatic wounds. Journal of Clinical Nursing, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04295. 
  • Boykin, A., Touhy, T. & Smith, M. (2011). Evolution of a Caring-Based College of Nursing. In Creating a Caring Curriculum. J. Watson & M. Hills. (Eds.) New York: Springer. pp. 157-183.
  • Longo, J. & Smith, M.C. (2011). A prescription for disruptions in care: Community building among nurses to address horizontal violence. Advances in Nursing Science.34(4), 1-12. DOI:     10.1097/ANS.0b013e3182300e3e.
  • Smith, M.C. (2011). Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives related to Complexity Science in Nursing. In Nursing, Caring and Complexity Science: For Human-Environment Well-being. 
  • Davidson, A.W., Ray, M. & Turkel, M. (Eds.). New York: Springer, pp. 1-20.
  • Smith, M.C. (2011). A review of research related to Newman’s theory of health as expanding consciousness. Nursing Science Quarterly, 24(3):256-272. DOI: 10.1177/0894318411409421.
  • Flanagan, J., Smith, M.C., Farren, A., Reis, P., Wright, B. (2010). Using appreciative inquiry for strategic planning in a professional nursing organization. Visions. 16(1), 19-28. 
  • Smith, M.C. (2010) Caring. Encyclopedia for Nursing Research. J. Fitzpatrick (Ed), New York: Springer Publications: pp: 37-39. 
  • Kutner, J., Smith, M.C., Mellis, K., Felton, S., Yamashita, T. & Corbin, L. (2010). Methodological challenges in conducting a multi-site randomized clinical trial of massage therapy in hospice. 
  • Journal of Palliative Medicine, 13(6), 739-744. 
  • Smith, M.C. & McCarthy, M.P. (2010). Disciplinary knowledge in nursing education: Beyond the blueprints. Nursing Outlook, 58(1), 44-51.
  • Kagan, P.N., Smith, M.C., Cowling, W.R. & Chinn, P.L. (2009). A Nursing Manifesto: An emancipatory call for knowledge development, conscience and praxis, Nursing Philosophy, 11, 67-84.
  • Smith, MC (2009). Providing massage therapy for people with advanced cancer: What to expect. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 15(4), 367-71.
  • Shih, F-J, Lin, Y-S, Smith, M.C., Liou, Y-M, Chian, H-H, Chiang, H-H, Lee, S-H & Gau, M-L. (2009). Perspectives on professional values among nurses in Taiwan. Journal of Clinical Nursing. 18(10), 1480-89.
  • Smith, MC (2008). Caring scholar response to: Technology in nursing education. International Journal forHuman Caring. 12(2), 65-67.
  • Kutner, J.S., Smith, MC, Corbin, MD, Hemphill, L, Benton, K, Mellis, K, Beaty, B, Felton, S, Yamashita, T, Bryant, L & Fairclough, D. (2008). Massage therapy versus simple touch to improve pain and mood in patients with advanced cancer. Annals of Internal Medicine.149(6), 369-380.
  • Chen, L, Huang, L., Lin, S., Smith, M.C. & Liu, S. (2009) Use of folk remedies among families of hospitalized children in Taiwan. Journal of Clinical Nursing.
  • Newman, M.A., Smith, M.C., Dexheimer Pharris, M. & Jones, D. (2008). The focus of the discipline of nursing revisited. Advances in Nursing Science. 31(1), E16-E27.
  • Cowling, W.R., Smith, M.C. & Watson, J., (2008). The power of wholeness, consciousness & caring: A Dialogue on nursing science, art & healing. Advances in Nursing Science. 31(1), E41-E51.
  • Smith, M.C. & Kyle, L. (2008). Holistic foundations of aromatherapy for nursing. Holistic Nursing Practice. 22(1), 3-9.
  • Smith, M.C. (2007) Developing treatment and control conditions in a clinical trial of massage therapy for advanced cancer. Journal for the Society for Integrative Oncology.5(4), 139-146.
  • Smith, M.C. (2008). Evaluation of middle range nursing theory for the discipline of nursing. In Smith, M.J. & Liehr, P. (Eds.). Middle RangeTheories in Nursing.
  • New York: Springer, pp. 293-306.
  • Smith, M.C. (2008). Disciplinary perspectives linked to middle-range theory. In Smith, M.J. & Liehr, P. (Eds.). Middle RangeTheories in Nursing. New York: Springer, pp. 1-11.
  • Smith, M.C. (2007) Developing treatment and control conditions in a clinical trial of massage therapy for advanced cancer. Journal for the Society for Integrative Oncology. 5(4), 139-146.
  • Smith, M.C. (2006). Caring. In Fitzpatrick, J. Encyclopedia of Nursing Research.
  • Smith, M.C. (2005). Complementary-alternative therapies: From pseudo to serious science.Communicating Nursing Research: Conference Proceedings - Western Institute of Nursing. 38(13), 23-36.
  • Smith, M.C. (2005). Complementary/Alternative Therapies in Home Care Nursing Practice. In R. Rice Ed. Home Care Nursing 4th Ed. St. Louis: Mosby, pp. 513-534.
  • Smith, M. (2004) Review of research related to Watson's theory of human caring. Nursing Science Quarterly. 17(1), 13-25.
  • Quinn, J.F., Smith, M.C., Ritenbaugh, C., Swanson, K., Watson, M.J. (2003). Research guidelines for assessing the impact of the healing relationship in clinical nursing. Alternative Therapiesin Health and Medicine. 9(3), A65-A79.
  • Smith, M.C. (2003). Evaluation of middle range nursing theory for the discipline of nursing.Chapter in Smith, M.J. & Liehr, P. (Eds.). Middle Range Theories in Nursing. New York:Springer, pp. 189-205.
  • Smith, M.C., Reeder, F., Daniel, L., Baramee, J. & Hageman, J. (2003). Outcomes of touch therapies during bone marrow transplant. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine.9(1), 40-49.
  • Watson, M.J. & Smith, M.C. (2002). Caring Science and the Science of Unitary Human Beings: A Transtheoretical Discourse for Nursing Knowledge Development.Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37(5), 452-461.
  • Smith, M.C., Kemp, J., Hemphill, L. & Vojir, C. (2002). Outcomes of massage therapy for cancer Patients. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 34(3), 257-262.
  • Gramling, K. & Smith, M.C. (2002). What You Need To Know!: Artful Caring Pedagogy in Health Assessment. International Journal of Human Caring 6(1), 7-11.
  • Smith, M.C. (2002). Health, healing and the myth of the hero journey. Advances in Nursing Science. 24(4): 1-13.
  • Giddings, L. & Smith, M.C. (2001). Stories of Lesbian In/Visibility in Nursing. Nursing Outlook. 49(1), 14-19.
  • Yucha, C.B., Clark, L., Smith, M.C., Uris, P., Sarles, C, & Lafleur, B. (2001). The effectiveness of biofeedback hypertension: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Nursing Research, 14(1).
  • Smith, M.C. (1999) Caring and the Science of Unitary Human Beings. Advances in Nursing Science, 21(4), 14-28.
  • Smith, M.C.,Stallings, M.A., Wilner, S.& Burrelle, M. (1999). Benefits of massage therapy for hospitalized patients: A descriptive and qualitative evaluation. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 5(4), 64-71.
  • Smith, M.C. (1998). Researching integrative therapies: Guidelines and application. Journal of Emergency Nursing. 24(6), 609-613.
  • Smith, M.C. & Reeder, F. (1998). Clinical outcomes research and Rogerian science: Strange or emergent bedfellows? Visions: The Journal of Rogerian Nursing Science. 6(1), 27-38.
  • Smith, M.C. (1998). Knowledge development for the health sciences in the 21st century. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 20, S128-S144.
  • Smith, M.C. (1997). Practice Guided by Watson's Theory: The Denver Nursing Project in Human Caring. Nursing Science Quarterly 10(l), 56-58.
  • Smith, M.C., Barton, J.A. & Baxter, J. (1996). An innovative interdisciplinary educational experience in field research. Nurse Educator 21(2), 27-30.
  • Supples, J.M. & Smith, M.C. (1995). East and west of Main Street: Racism in rural America. Public Health Nursing 12(4) 235-241.
  • Smith, M.C. (1993). The contribution of nursing theory to nursing administration practice. Image: The Journal of Nursing Scholarship., 25(l), 63-67.
  • Barton, J.A., Smith, M.C., Brown, N.J. & Supples, J.M. (1993). Methodological issues in a team approach to community health needs assessment. Nursing Outlook, 41(6), 253-261.
  • Smith, M.C. (1991). Affirming the unitary perspective. Nursing Science Quarterly, 4(4), 148-152;
  • Smith, M.C. (1990). Struggling through a difficult time for unemployed persons. Nursing Science Quarterly 3(l), 19-28.
  • Smith, M.C. (1989). Facts about phenomenology in nursing. Nursing Science Quarterly 2(l), 13-16.
  • Smith, M.C. (1988). Testing propositions derived from Rogers' Science of Unitary Human Beings. Nursing Science Quarterly, 1(2), 60-66.
  • Smith, M.C. (2006). Caring. In Fitzpatrick, J. Encyclopedia of Nursing Research.
  • Smith, M.C. (2005). Complementary/Alternative Therapies in Home Care Nursing Practice. In R. Rice Ed. Home Care Nursing 4th Ed. St. Louis: Mosby, pp. 513-534.
  • Smith, M.C. (2003). Evaluation of middle range nursing theory for the discipline of nursing.Chapter in Smith, M.J. & Liehr, P. (Eds.). Middle Range Theories in Nursing. New York:Springer, pp. 189-205.