Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Katherine Baumgartner


A substantial amount of data describes depression, financial challenges, physical disabilities, emotional and spiritual distress in the cancer survivor population; yet, despite what is known their needs are not being met. One of the reasons for this is that collecting and aggregating data does not provide any meaningful way to intervene. The project invites survivors and their loved ones together to share their stories of hope and struggle with the purpose of listening in order to understand the lived experience. The goal is to facilitate healing by using the ancient modality of storytelling. The reality of oncologic illnesses obliges those of us in healthcare to consider the paradox of living life while preparing for death. Or, conversely living when the struggles make the thought of death come as a welcomed guest. It is within this chaos of illness where the rhythm of the universe lies. This is the state of the sacred that leads to an expanding awareness of healing and wholeness while the patient and the healthcare practitioner become parts of each other's story. The project explores the emic wisdom of the cancer survivor as storyteller and can be used in practice by healthcare professionals as a therapeutic model to create a sacred space to heal. Likewise, by fostering the richness and depth of stories and by looking beyond the lens of nursing and medicine this project creates a model for healthcare professionals to help to meet the survivors' needs. Ultimately the decisions the individual makes, shape the patterns of the group. When healthcare professionals listen to the story the collective wisdom of both survivor and professional will change the population as a whole.


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