Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Joyce P. Miller

Second Advisor

Kristin McPherson

Third Advisor

Celia Hildebrand


Hospice nursing involves heart-centered, compassionate care of people who are dyingvand providing support to their families and loved ones. Home hospice nurses witness repetitive and cumulative death and profound suffering in others, putting them at heightened risk for persistent stress provoking feelings of professional inadequacy, diminished self-worth, professional burnout, and premature career departure. Ongoing stress can cause pathophysiological changes to the sympathetic nervous system, affect personal and professional wellbeing leading to illness and mortality, and can negatively impact the energetic exchange between other people and their environments. Traditional Chinese Medicine ear bead acupressure therapy was shown to be an effective self-care modality that reduced stress in home hospice nurses without significant adverse effects based on a pseudo-experimental, quality improvement study done involving hospice staff at a large Midwest home hospice agency. Eighty-one percent of thirty-eight participants reported a reduction in stress levels when wearing ear beads. Eighty-nine percent reported they would recommend ear bead use to their hospice patients and families as a strategy to reduce stress levels. Rogers’ Theory of Unitary Human Beings guided this project and parallels many principles and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Future research has the potential to use ear bead therapy in the dying to positively impact the energetic exchange between the dying, their loved ones, and their caregivers and facilitate peaceful transitions between the earth realm and the afterlife.


SC 11.DNP.2019.Hansen.MM