Dana M. Hansen, Ph.D., APRN, ACHPN, FPCN
Associate Professor & Co-Director of the Ph.D. Program
Dr. Hansen’s research examines the dynamics of family interaction during advanced serious illness to enhance quality of life for patients, caregivers, and their families through improved communication. She studies contemporary approaches to communication, particularly social media illness stories or blogs, which may provide comfort, aid in creating meaning, and enrich family communication at the end of life. In past studies, she has found that social media illness stories mitigate caregiver burden and create opportunities for difficult conversations, improving feelings of well-being for patients and family caregivers and bringing a sense of meaning to difficult situations. Currently, Dr. Hansen serves as Principal Investigator for the CAREol Project (Catalyzing Relationships at the End of Life), funded by a Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation President’s Grant. This study investigates how education about final conversations empowers nursing and medical students and clinical faculty to engage dying patients and family members through critical conversations, allowing students and faculty to build resilience and catalyze important conversations to bring comfort at the end of life.