Dr. Laurene Sheilds

Dr. Laurene Sheilds
School of Nursing
Office: HHB 120g


Area of expertise

Community; health promotion; empowerment; community nursing practice; life threatening illness and events; connectedness; people’s experiences of health, illness and healing; narrative inquiry; feminist research; story as a metaphor of healing; spirituality

My current research is focused on the stories of people living with life-threatening and chronic illness with the intention to explore how these liminal experiences affect their understandings of health and living within the context of cancer, end-stage renal disease, or HIV disease.

As principal investigator of a CIHR-funded project (Molzahn, Bruce, Stadjuhar), we are developing knowledge about the changing nature of illness experiences; the intersection between personal narratives and the provision of nursing care (what might patient centred care, for example, mean for people living with life-threatening illness); the inter-sectionality of chronic, life-threatening and palliative illness with relative states of well-being; as well as substantive methodological knowledge in narrative inquiry.

The findings challenge assumptions that health narratives are complete, unified and enduring and as nurses challenge us to consider nursing practices that will provide meaningful supports and resources to improve health, quality of life and well-being for people living with illness.

My work with graduate students is focused on similar areas of interest, sometimes expanding and integrating my long-standing interests in community/public health. For example, I am currently working with an interdisciplinary student exploring the experiences of women living with HIV/AIDS in Kibera, Kenya.

Another nursing master's student has recently completed a concept analysis of chronic disease self-management. At the heart of each of these projects is a critical analysis of what it means to "come along-side" of people experiencing illness and how to best support people (including those who are dying) to optimize their health and healing.