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The investigator in this phenomenological study examined the lived experience of Quality of Life (QOL) in 15 Registered Nurses (RNs) with chronic back pain (CBP) participating in structured journal writing. Hermeneutic analysis of interviews and journals revealed eight themes under two domains: Making Normal (Fighting and Denying; Being Consumed: Anger and Frustration; Surviving the Three Ds: depression, devastation, and despair; and Choosing, Adapting, and Accepting) and Living with the Shadow (Losses and Limitations, Being Less than Whole, Having Intimate Knowledge, and Living Through Fatigue). The essence of the experience is Dancing with the Shadow: Re-Visioning Quality of Life. The Shadow is the constant presence of CBP in the participants’ lives. The essence involves a delicate dance of control; nurses’ QOL improved when they had control over the CBP.
Advisor: Marilyn L. Grady