Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Living with heightened levels of stress or worry can have adverse effects on one’s

psychological and physical health. Learning how to manage stress, especially in someone with chronic illness including a cancer diagnosis, can decrease self-perceived stress. Engaging thoughts in proactive ways can result in decreased stress and enhanced well-being. Dr. Sood’s course on The Mayo Clinic Guide to Stress-Free Living (2013) reveals how our brain works in two modes, focused and default mode, and how engaging the focused mode of our brain more often than the default mode will help with enjoying present moment experiences (Sood & Mayo Clinic, 2013). This coupled with practicing mindfulness meditation by clinical application of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can improve attentiveness which can reduce distress and enhance coping and happiness. Margaret Newman’s Theory (1999), Health as Expanding Consciousness, states that health is not an absence of disease; instead, disease is a meaningful aspect of health. Moreover, to be healthy is not just a process of becoming well; illness creates an opportunity for awareness and personal growth. It is through the journey of illness that reflection can result in finding meaning in the experience leading to greater connectedness with others (Newman, 1999). Engaging in meditation and being present in the moment may enhance personal progression, acceptance of changing health and alter patterns of behavior. Paralleling the use of MBSR to Margaret Newman’s Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness (1999) will facilitate the development of a model of practice for nursing to teach patients techniques to reduce their self-perceived levels of stress.


SC 11.DNP.2019.Reitz.JM