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Dean Kristen Swanson

Kristen Swanson, RN, PhD, FAAN

Alumni Distinguished Professor

Phone: (919) 966-3731
Specialty Area: Women’s Health

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Nursing
Carrington Hall, CB #7460
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7460

Office: 107

Kristen M. Swanson, RN, PhD, FAAN, is renowned for her research on pregnancy loss and for development of the Swanson Theory of Caring – a theory that is used internationally to guide research, education, and practice. She is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Executive Fellows program and a member of the American Academy of Nursing. Before coming to Chapel Hill, she held the University of Washington Medical Center Term Professorship in Nursing Leadership. She also served as Chairperson of the Department of Family and Child Nursing at the University of Washington School of Nursing where she was a faculty member for over 20 years. "I came to the Chapel Hill because I saw the commitment of administration, faculty, staff and students to ‘getting it right.' In the School and throughout the University people are not afraid of hard work. There is clear evidence of integrity, a passion for excellence, openness to collaboration and a sense of pride in knowing that the work we do every day makes a difference,"" Swanson said. "In particular, the School's values and mission match my personal and professional beliefs about nursing education, clinical research and the delivery of care." Since coming to the School of Nursing, Dean Swanson has focused on intensifying the linkages between nursing education, research and practice. In partnership with Clinical Professor, Dr. Mary Tonges, Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services at UNC Hospital Dean Swanson is committed to strengthening the scholarship that supports nursing practice and leveraging the wisdom in practice that enhances the relevance of nursing education and research. Dean Swanson earned her bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Rhode Island, her masters in adult health and illness nursing from the University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in psycho-social nursing from the University of Colorado. She completed her postdoctoral work at the University of Washington. In addition to holding a faculty position at the University of Washington, she taught at Trenton State College, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and the University of Colorado School of Nursing. Swanson's research interest is in miscarriage and early pregnancy loss. She began this work with her dissertation, ""The Unborn One: A Profile of The Human Experience of Miscarriage,"" and has continued studying this area both as an investigator and as a consultant to others. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on 10 grants dealing with early pregnancy loss, caring and related topics since 1985. It is during this time that she developed the Swanson Theory of Caring. Since developing the theory, she has consulted internationally on implementation of the caring theory in clinical practice, research, and education. Dean Swanson has been an invited speaker or visiting professor on multiple occasions. She was awarded the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award. She is also on the editorial board or serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Nursing Outlook, Research in Nursing and Health, and the International Journal of Human Caring.

Selected Publications

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1981). Echocardiography: An access route to the heart. Critical Care Nurse, 1(6), 20-26.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1986). A combined qualitative methodology for nursing research. Advances in Nursing Science, 8(3), 58-69.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1986). Caring in the instance of unexpected early pregnancy loss. Topics in Clinical Nursing, 8(2), 37-46.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1987). Overview of the balancing act: Having it all. Health Care of Women International, 8(2-3), 1-8.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1988). There should have been two: Nursing care of parents experiencing the perinatal death of a twin. Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing, 2(2), 78-86.

Swanson, K.M. (1990). Providing care in the NICU: Sometimes an act of love. Advances in Nursing Science, 13(1), 60-73.

Swanson, K.M. (1991). Empirical development of a middle range theory of caring. Nursing Research, 40(3), 161 166.

Swanson, K.M. (1993). Commentary: The phenomena of doing well in people with AIDS, Western Journal of Nursing Research, 15(1), 56.

Swanson, K.M. (1993). Nursing as informed caring for the well-being of others. Image, 25(4), 352-357.

Swanson, K.M. (1995). Commentary: The power of human caring: Early recognition of patient problems. Scholarly Inquiry for Nursing Practice, 319-21.

Swanson , K.M. (1998) Caring made visible. Creative Nursing Journal., 4(4), 8-11, 16.

Swanson, K.M. (1999). The effects of caring, measurement, and time on miscarriage impact and women's well-being in the first year subsequent to loss. Nursing Research, 48(6), 288-298.

Swanson, K.M. (1999). Research-based practice with women who have had miscarriages. Image, 31(4) 339-345.

Swanson, K.M. (2000). Predicting depressive symptoms after miscarriage: A path analysis based on Lazarus' paradigm. Journal of Women's Health and Gender-based Medicine, 9(2), 191-206.

Yorkston, K. M., Klasner, E. R., & Swanson, K. M. (2001). Communication in context: A qualitative study of the experiences of individuals with multiple sclerosis. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 10, 126-137.

Quinn, J., Smith, M., Ritenbaugh, C., Swanson, K. M., Watson, M.J. (2003). Research guidelines for assessing the impact of the healing relationship in clinical nursing. Alternative Therapies, May/June 2003, Vol. 9, No. 31A. 69-79.

Swanson, KM, Karmali, Z, Powell, S. & Pulvermahker, F. (2003). Miscarriage effects on interpersonal and sexual relationships during the first year after loss: Women's perceptions. Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine, 65(5), 902-10.

Swanson, KM & Wojnar, D. (2004). Optimal healing environments in nursing. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 10, (S-43 -S-48).

Jennings, B.M., Loan, L. A., Heiner, S.L., Hemman, E.A., & Swanson, K.M. (2005). Soldiers' experiences with military health care. Military Medicine, 170(12), 999-1004.

Jennings, B.M., Heiner, S.L., Loan, L.A., Hemman, E.A., & Swanson, K.M (2005). What really matters to health care consumers. Journal of Nursing Administration. 35(4), 173-180.

Wojnar, D. & Swanson, K.M. (2006). Why shouldn't lesbian women who miscarry receive equal consideration? A viewpoint. Journal of GLBT Family Studies. 2(1), 1-12.

Grant, S. & Swanson, K. M. (2006). Stemming the tide of the nursing shortage. The CERNER Quarterly, 2 (2), 34-45.

Swanson, KM, Connor S, Jolley SN, Pettinato M, & Wang TJ. (2007). Contexts and evolution of women's responses to miscarriage during the first year after loss. Res Nurs Health. Feb;30(1), 2-16.

Wojnar, D. & Swanson, KM. (2007). Phenomenology: An exploration. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 25(3), 172-80.

Swanson, K. M., Chen, H. T., Graham, J. C., Wojnar, D. M.. & Petras, A. (2009). Resolution of depression and grief during the first year after miscarriage: A randomized controlled clinical trial of couples-focused interventions. J Women’s Health and Gender-based Medicine, 18(8), 1245-1257.

Booth-Laforce C., Scott C. S., Heitkemper M. M., Cornman B. J., Bond E. F., & Swanson K. M. (2010). Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) attitudes and competencies of nursing students and faculty; results of integrating CAM into nursing curriculum. Journal of Professional Nursing, 26(5), 293-300. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2010.03.003

Wojnar, D., Swanson, K. M., Aldolfsson, A. (2011). Confronting the inevitable: A conceptual model of miscarriage for use in clinical practice and research. Death Studies, 35(6), 536-558(23).

Roscigno C. I., Swanson K. M. (2011). Parent’s experiences following children’s moderate to severe traumatic brain injury: A clash of cultures. Qualitative Health Research, 21(10), 1413-1426. doi 10.1177/1049732311410988.

Roscigno C. I., Swanson K. M., Solchany J., Vavilala M. (2011). Children's longing for everydayness: Life following traumatic brain injury in the USA. Brain Injury, 25(9), 882-94.

Roscigno, C. I., Swanson, K. M. (2011). Parent’s experiences following children’s moderate to severe traumatic brain injury: A clash of cultures. Qualitative Health Research, 21(10), 1413-1426. . doi 10.1177/1049732311410988.

Kavanaugh, K, Roscigno, C. I., Swanson, K. M., Savage, T. A. Kimura, R. E., Kilpatrick S.J. (2013). Perinatal Palliative Care: Parent Perceptions of the Quality of Caring Interactions Surrounding Counseling for Risk of Delivering an Extremely Premature Infant. Palliative & Supportive Care.

Huffman, C., Swanson, K. M., Lynn, M. (2014). Measuring the Meaning of Miscarriage: Revision of the Impact of Miscarriage Scale, Journal of Nursing Measurement


Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1987). Guest Editor of Women and Careers Issue, Health Care of Women International, 8(2-3). Reprinted as: Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1987). Women's Work, Families, and Health, New York: Hemisphere.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1988). The caring needs of women who miscarry. In M.M. Leininger (Ed.), Care: Discovery and uses in clinical and community nursing.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. & Schonwald, E. (1988). Phenomenology. In B. Sarter (Ed.), Paths to Knowledge: Innovative Research Methods for Nursing. New York: NLN Publications.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. & Roberts, J. (1990). Caring in parent and child nursing. Knowledge About Care and Caring: State of the Art and Future Development. Washington, D.C.:ANA/American Academy of Nursing.

Swanson, K.M. (1999). What's known about caring in nursing: A literary meta-analysis. In A.S. Hinshaw, J. Shaver, and S. Feetham (Eds). Handbook of Clinical Nursing Research. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 31-60. (refereed publication)

Swanson, K.M. (2001). A program of research on caring. In ME Parker (Ed) Nursing Theories and Nursing Practice, FA Davis Co.

Swanson, K.M. (2002). Caring Professional Scale. In J. Watson (Ed) Assessing and Measuring Caring in Nursing and Health Science, Springer Publishing Company.

Swanson, K.M. (2007). Enhancing Nurses' Capacity for Compassionate Caring. In M. Koloroutis, J. Felgen, C. Person, & S. Wessel (Ed) Relationship-Based Care Field Guide. Minneapolis: Creative Help Care Management, pp.502-507.


Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1984). A methodology for the study of nursing as a human science. Alpha Kappa Chapter at Large News, Spring, 3.

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1987). Caring in the instance of unexpected early pregnancy loss. Counselor Connection, 3(2), 2-5. (Reprint of Swanson-Kauffman, K.M., 1986, Topics in Clinical Nursing.)

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1987). Overview of the balancing act: Having it all. In K. Swanson-Kauffman (Ed.). Women's Work, Families and Health, New York: Hemisphere. (Reprint of Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. 1987, Health Care of Women International.)

Swanson-Kauffman, K.M. (1988). Miscarriage: An often overlooked maternal loss. Perinatal Newsletter, 2(3), 1.