Date of Graduation

Fall 12-15-2017

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Margaret Levine


The Institute of Medicine noted patient centered care as one of the six priority areas of improvement for the U.S. healthcare system. Recognizing that patients in hospice require specialized care to address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs that are associated with a terminal illness, the focus of this project is to improve the hospice nurses’ knowledge of and confidence in the use of aromatherapy for symptom management. There is recognition within the field of healthcare that patients are interested in having options for treatment. With little to no side effects, aromatherapy has been shown to be an effective alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals for certain symptoms. Results of an onsite survey conducted in October 2017 identified that that 91% of nursing staff expressed an interest in learning more about aromatherapy but that only 22% had confidence in their knowledge of complementary therapies for symptom management. Using the seven stages of Lippitt’s theory of change as a guideline, the motivation for and barriers to implementing aromatherapy into the nurses’ practice were addressed. Following an on-line training course in the use of a pre-prepared patch of essential oils, confidence levels in the use of aromatherapy for symptom management rose to 80% with those nurses affirming that they would be likely to recommend aromatherapy to their patients. The remaining 20% felt that they either needed more training or lacked an interest in providing this modality as an option for treatment. This is an important first step to establishing a formal program of aromatherapy for this agency.