The Sci-Files – 06/07/2020 – Megan Miller – Can Spirituality Help With Pain?

On this week’s The Sci-Files, your hosts Chelsie and Danny interview Megan Miller. Megan is a registered nurse and is graduating from the MSU College of Nursing Ph.D. program in Spring 2020. Her experiences in palliative and hospice care have led to a mixed-methods dissertation project focused on holistic (mind, body, spirit) approaches to pain for people with advanced cancer.

Megan Miller
Megan Miller

With a majority of advanced cancer patients reporting pain, management of this symptom continues to be a critical problem. Spirituality (broadly defined) is one area that has not yet been adequately investigated, as it may positively impact the experience of pain. In the first phase of the dissertation work, Megan examined data from women with advanced breast cancer to determine which personal and clinical factors were associated with pain and spirituality, the impact of spirituality on pain over time, and the impact of spirituality and pain on engagement with a Complementary and Integrative Health (CIH) Intervention. In the second phase, Megan conducted interviews with advanced breast cancer patients to explore how they described their pain, their spirituality, and the potential connection between the two.
Megan will begin a Postdoctoral Research Associate position at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Fall 2020. She is enthusiastic about continuing to explore CIH interventions to holistically address symptoms for patients with advanced cancer.
This dissertation was supported by grants from the American Nurses Foundation and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. Data included in part of the project was collected in a National Cancer Institute-funded study led by Dr. Gwen Wyatt.
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