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art therapy, death and dying, nurse education, palliative, pediatric palliative care, psychosocial



  1. Schreiner, Lynnette MSN, RN
  2. Wolf Bordonaro, Gaelynn P. PhD, ATR-BC


In this article, the authors introduce an arts-based learning experience utilized in an interdisciplinary pediatric palliative care elective course offered in the BSN curriculum at Emporia State University. The course is unique in its application of art therapy constructs and techniques to process personal and professional issues related to caring for children with chronic and terminal health conditions. The Inner-Outer Box empowers students to explore cultural, community, family, and personal end-of-life experiences and values. Although participants in the class are primarily nursing students, faculty welcome students in related disciplines who may work with children with special medical needs; this reflects that treatment teams are often interdisciplinary. The authors argue that understanding myths and beliefs about death and dying is a crucial step in equipping future health professionals to address the complex needs of seriously ill or dying children and their families.