illness narratives, narrative analysis, palliative care, person-centered, serious illness



  1. Bennett, C. Robert CPNP-AC, MSN
  2. Shive, Nadia BA, CCRC
  3. Coats, Heather PhD, APRN-BC


Developing solid communication-based partnerships through obtaining illness narratives allows for an understanding of patients' social resources, values, and beliefs and allows an opportunity to provide person-centered care. This study aimed to elicit cocreated illness narratives from persons of color who have serious illness. Twenty patients receiving care for serious illness were interviewed at a large academic medical center. The interviews focused on how illness affected patients' lives and were followed by formation of illness narratives. From the persons living with serious illness, 3 main themes emerged: (1) time, (2) life changes, and (3) family. Participants described how illness did influence their lifestyles and identities but did not define their personhood. Family influence had a lasting effect on participants' values and beliefs, and family presence was viewed as valuable in their current lives. Narratives from persons of color with serious illness can provide an intimate account informing nurses' understanding of patients' illness experiences and may enhance communication between nurses and patients.