Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Kelli R. Paquette, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Theresa Gropelli, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

DeAnna M. Laverick, D.Ed.

Fourth Advisor

Anne D. Creany, D.Ed.


This qualitative phenomenological study describes the "lived experiences" of ten junior and senior baccalaureate nursing students after learning nursing communication practices in a theater course taught by theater faculty. Researcher observation of the students during the interviews, the students' reported experiences, and journal writings were used to determine if the methods used in the theater course were beneficial to their overall abilities in practicing effective communication in the health care setting. The analysis of the researchers' observations and the students' responses and journal writings showed that students' felt unprepared and unable to effectively communicate prior to taking the theater course. After the theater course, the analysis of the data revealed an overall increase in the students' perceptions of their ability to effectively communicate in the health care setting. The data also revealed that the teaching methods used in the theater course increased students' confidence levels and heightened the students' inner self-awareness during the communication process. The results of the study showed that students felt their communication abilities were heightened mostly in the areas of empathy, assertiveness, and the use of body language. The results also revealed that the students contributed their new found communication practices to the teaching methods used in the theater course. The students reported that meditation, relaxation techniques, journaling, and role-playing with the theater students using nurse-patient scenarios were the reasons they felt their overall communication abilities improved.