Kay’s Journal: Colleague Publishes Writing/Healing Study

Here’s what I’m writing about in my journal this week!

JV icon K Journal

In about 2005 a trio of women who worked together using writing with breast cancer patients and survivors arrived in Denver for the Journal to the Self instructor certification training 5-day intensive. Janice Putrino was an oncology social worker in Rochester, New York who worked with an oncology nurse, Linda Sliwoski.  The third, Beverly Kirkhart, was a writer, breast cancer survivor and advocate living in California who had published My Healing Companion, a journal for those with cancer, which Janice used in her writing groups at Gilda’s Club.

Years passed. Janice became the first graduate of the Therapeutic Writing Institute and was core faculty for TWI for several years before returning to full-time social work. Beverly became a major motivational speaker and best-selling author for the cancer community. Linda became an oncology nurse manager and part of a research team that studied the impact of journal writing for increasing compassion satisfaction (CS) and reducing burnout (BO) and compassion fatigue (CF) among registered nurses. Their original research was just published in the Journal for Nursing Education and Practice.

The study offered six-week journal groups (2.5 hours per week) facilitated by Linda to volunteer nurses. The group facilitation plans were drawn from my book The Write Way to Wellness, which each participant received. Sixty-six nurses completed all phases of the study through Post Test II.

Participants took the quantitative ProQOL quality of life survey before the first session and immediately after the last session, and again 60 days later. Additionally,

A descriptive qualitative method through constant-comparative analysis was utilized to understand more about the effects of journaling through responses participants gave to the open-ended questions of the Post II-survey. The purpose of descriptive qualitative research is to describe experiences as they are lived. In this instance, a qualitative descriptive approach allowed for deeper understanding of the nurses’ experience with journaling. (p. 93)

The quantitative results (ProQOL R-IV to measure CS, BO, CF):

  • Journaling was statistically significant in increasing compassion satisfaction.
  • Journaling was statistically significant in reducing burnout.
  • Journaling was statistically significant in reducing trauma/compassion fatigue. (p. 94)

Analysis of the qualitative questions about the role of journaling revealed three themes:

  • “Journaling allowed me to unleash my innermost feelings”
  • “Journaling helped me to articulate and understand my feelings concretely”
  • “Journaling helped me make more reasonable decisions” (p. 94)

The study concludes,

Journaling is an important tool for registered nurses…. The results indicate that journaling does have a positive effect over time on the ability of nurses to handle stress and [compassion fatigue] resulting from the work in their professions.

Many thanks to colleague Linda Sliwoski, MSN, RN, Certified Journaling Instructor, Nurse Care Manager, Rochester Independent Practices Association, Rochester NY for her dedication to the field and for facilitating the group work of this important original research. May it become a benchmark study for many to follow.

Study: Dimitroff, L., Sliwoski L., O’Brien, S. and Nichols, L. Change your life through journaling–The benefits of journaling for registered nurses. Journal of Nursing Education and Practice. 2017, 7:2, 90-98.

Click below for a PDF of the study.

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

Your comments are welcome!


Not yet a Journalverse member? Join today HERE. Enter HALFOFF as coupon code and get 50% off first month’s membership! ($19/month)





5 Responses to Kay’s Journal: Colleague Publishes Writing/Healing Study

  1. Jennifer Wolfe July 25, 2017 at 10:08 am #

    This is great news and excellent work! I’m going to share this with my clients and hope to expand the reach of our work in this way. Thank you for documenting this for us and making it something that’s easy for us to share.

    • Kay Adams August 7, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

      So glad to have your good strong voice behind this, Jenn.

  2. Susan Embry September 25, 2018 at 3:01 pm #

    Kay, I was so pleased to read the blog post about John’s memorial work for Susan. I was so shocked at there death. It rocked me to the core coming with three others within weeks of each other. Is there a way I can contribute to this? Thanks, the other Susan

    • Kay Adams September 25, 2018 at 5:44 pm #

      Absolutely, Susan — I’ll put you on the notification list. Thank you!! PS – Thought of you on 9/11 and missed our annual exchange. Still feel like we’ll be bonded for this life and beyond for sharing the trauma of falling towers. You had to drive to Taos and I had to go to the office and see a full day of clients and after that move into my new condo!


  1. Kay’s Journal: Best of 2018 | Welcome to the new Journalverse! - September 24, 2018

    […] to research in therapeutic writing and oncology. The hospital is interested in replicating the Write Way to Wellness group study that Linda Sliwoski and colleagues conducted and published last year in Journal of Nursing Education and […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes