PhD, RN, DSc (Hon), FAAN, FCAHS, FCAN, CM
Dr. Thorne studies patient experience in serious and life-limiting conditions such as chronic disease and cancer, most recently focusing on palliative approaches to care delivery across sectors and nurses’ experiences with medical assistance in dying. In addition to advising various professional and policy organizations, she actively fosters nursing scholarship development through her philosophical and methodological activities and in her role as Editor-in-Chief of Nursing Inquiry.
- BSN, University of British Columbia
- MSN, University of British Columbia
- PhD, Union Institute of Advanced Studies
Honours & Awards
- Member, Order of Canada (2023)
- Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (2022)
- Faculty Community Service Award, University of British Columbia Alumni Association (2021)
- Charter Fellow, Canadian Academy of Nursing (2020)
- UBC School of Nursing Centenary Medal of Distinction (2019)
- Jeanne Mance Award, Canadian Nurses Association (2018)
- International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame, Sigma Theta Tau International (2017)
- 150 Nurses for Canada Award, Canadian Nurses Association (2017)
- Doctorate of Science in Nursing, Honoris Causa, Université Laval (2017)
- Fellow, Canadian Nurse Educator Institute (2017)
- UBC Killam Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2016)
- Distinguished Scholar Award, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (2015)
- Ethel Johns Award, Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (2013)
- Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, Queen's University (2013)
- Fellow, American Academy of Nursing (2011)
- Award of Excellence in Nursing Research, Pfizer/Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (2011)
- Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award, Women’s Executive Network (2009)
- Fellow, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2005)
- Award of Distinction, Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia (1999)
- Editor-in-Chief, Nursing Inquiry (2011-present)
- Board of Directors, Michael Smith Health Research BC (2021-24)
- Board of Directors, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2010-2019; Chair 2013-2015; Past Chair 2015-2021)
- Chair, UBC Senate Awards Committee (2020-2023)
- Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Academy of Health Science (2012-2016)
- Director at Large for Research, Board of Directors, Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (2011-2014)
- Chair, UBC Senate Tributes Committee (2004-2020)
- Associate Editor, Qualitative Health Research (2006-2020)
- Editorial Board Member, Research in Nursing & Health (2003-2018)
- Member, International Academy of Nursing Editors (INANE) (2011-present)
- Member, Board of Directors, Registered Nurses Foundation of BC (2011-2017)
- Member, Advisory Board, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (2010-2022)
- Member, Board of Directors, Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (2010-2013; 2015-2018) President-Elect 2017-2018)
- Member, Board of Directors, Nurses & Nurse Practitioners of British Columbia (2018-2020); President, RN Council (2019-2020); elected member, RN Council (2020-2024)
Area of Research
My substantive research has been primarily in the fields of chronic illness, cancer experience, end of life decision making, and relational aspects of health service delivery within these illness contexts. I am intrigued by the complexity of the challenge associated with ensuring that all patients receive the information and support they require in order to live as well as possible despite these conditions. I work with health care professionals, health service decision makers, and patient advocacy groups to find better ways to assist patients in navigating health care systems and negotiating for the health supports they require. My research has focused particular attention on the insights that health care consumers contribute to our understanding of ideological and structural barriers within our current systems of service delivery. Toward this end, I also work on methodological options toward ensuring that experiential knowledge obtained from consumer perspective research is appropriately designed to be useful within an evidence-oriented health care planning context. In addition, I have maintained a consistent strand of more theoretical scholarly activity in the areas of nursing philosophy, epistemology, and the ideas that underpin disciplinary knowledge development.
Advancing Cancer Health Equity
This capacity building initiative, launched in 2021 and continuing, is bringing together researchers, clinicians in the BC cancer care system, leaders in health policy and service delivery, including partner organizations, patient and family partners, as well as other knowledge users to explore opportunities for advancing health and health care equity in the cancer context. Its aim is the application of a health equity lens to issues of care access, and developing strategies to foster more equitable, responsive and respectful cancer services, especially for populations that are vulnerable or made marginal within a wide range of societal conditions.
Strategies to Relieve Suffering at End-of-Life
In this 5 year study (commencing in late 2020) our team will extend the knowledge generated by the previous study to consider the wider contexts within which the evolving MAiD legislation in Canada is affecting a wide range of end-of-life decision making policies and practices, including access to palliative care, patients’ voluntary stopping of eating and drinking, and the use of palliative sedation. As health care providers grapple with the increasingly complex array of options available to them, they must also confront difficult moral issues and choices. On the basis of this longitudinal examination, our program of research will generate insights about the developmental trajectory of healthcare policy and nursing practice in Canada to enable strategic actions that can help build the kind of integrated and comprehensive approach to end-of-life our country expects.
Practice, Policy, and Ethical Implications of Medical Assistance in Dying
In this study, funded from 2017-2020, our team of interdisciplinary and international scholars conducted a knowledge synthesis of Canadian policy, regulatory, and practice documents pertaining to nursing roles in supporting patients seeking or undergoing medical assistance in dying under Canada’s new legislation. We also tapped first-hand nursing insights by conducting qualitative interviews with 59 registered nurses and nurse practitioners across Canada, representing diverse experiences and positions on the spectrum from active engagement to conscientious objection, to learn more about the complex ethical and moral work associated with supporting patients and their families through decision making and toward a preferred death. The findings from this study have informed the Canadian Nurses Association’s position on proposed amendments to the criminal code with respect to MAiD.
Complex Communication in Cancer Care Study
This multidisciplinary research continues a series of linked qualitative studies on cancer care communication over the past decade, each of which seeks to help us understand and correct the communication problems that many cancer patients encounter in the course of diagnosis, treatment and care. In this study, we specifically focus attention on the special challenges that arise for certain patients with advanced disease and those who have communication needs that differ from those of the majority.
Communication Changes Across the Cancer Journey Study
In this study, our research team followed newly diagnosed cancer patients as they progressed through their experience with cancer care. In documenting how their needs and preferences changed at various stages within the disease trajectory, we generated new understandings of the particular challenge of preserving and sustaining quality of life and hope in the context of hearing a diagnosis, interpreting prognostic projections, and managing the complex information that confronts all cancer patients.
Hope and Honesty Study
Patients with cancer and with chronic diseases typically receive information about what is likely to happen to them in the form of numeric calculations and statistics. Current practices and policies favour complete disclosure of whatever evidence is available to help patients understand their disease and its predictable outcomes. In this study, we examined the ways in which patients with a wide range of serious conditions struggled to make sense of what they were told, why they were being told it, and what options they had in integrating it into their perspectives on coping.
Helpful and Unhelpful Communication Study
In this study, we began to build a body of knowledge from the perspective of persons with cancer on what they found particularly helpful or unhelpful in their communications with health care professionals. Using systematic analysis of the personal accounts of over 200 cancer patients, we were able to articulate ways in which we can do more to help cancer patients feel supported through their cancer journey.
Thorne, S. E. (In press). Applied interpretive approaches. In P. Leavy (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed). New York: Oxford University Press.
Thorne, S. (2019.) Theoretical foundations of nursing practice. In P.A. Potter, A.G. Perry, P. Stockert, A. Hall, B. Astle, & W. Duggleby (Eds), Canadian fundamentals of nursing (6rd ed). Toronto: Elsevier/ Mosby.
Thorne, S.E. (2019). Graduate education. In M. McIntyre & C. McDonald (Eds.), Realities of Canadian nursing: Professional, practice and power issues (5rd ed) (pp. 183-200). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.
Thorne, S. (2019). Designing qualitative research to have an impact on healthcare from the outset. In D. Muller & C. Hayre (Eds.), Enhancing healthcare and rehabilitation: The impact of qualitative research (pp. 365-377). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. https://doi.org/10.1201/9781351116824
Johnson, J.L, & Thorne, S. (2019). Reflection and reflexivity: On being a nurse. In Gregory, D., Raymond, C., Patrick, L., & Stephen, T. (Eds.), Fundamentals: Perspectives on the Art and Science of Canadian Nursing (2nd ed.) (pp. 696-706). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health.
Thorne, S. (2016). Interpretive description: Qualitative research for applied practice (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/Interpretive-Description-Qualitative-Research…
Greenhalgh, T., et al. [total of 76 authors/signators from 11 countries] (2016). An open letter to BMJ editors on qualitative research. BMJ (British Medical Journal), 352: i563 doi: 10.1136/bmj.i563
Thorne, S. (2016). The status and use value of qualitative research findings: New ways to make sense of qualitative work. In Lipscomb, M. (Ed.), Exploring evidence-based practice: Debates and challenges in nursing (pp.79-90). New York: Routledge.
Thorne, S. (2015). A view from the pinnacle: Conversations with Martha Piper. In E. Whittaker (Ed.) Solitudes of the workplace: Women in universities. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
INANE “Predatory Publishing Practices” Collaborative [S.Thorne, P.L. Chinn, L.H. Nicoll, R. Pickler, P. D’Antonio, C. Connolly, C. Peternelj-Taylor, D. Welliver, J. D. Baker, A. Flanagin, L. Bradley-Springer]. (2014). Predatory publishing: What editors need to know. Nurse Author & Editor, 24(3), http://www.nurseauthoreditor.com/tocs.asp?yr=2014&num=3
Truant, T. & Thorne, S. (Nov 5, 2014). How nurses can contribute to transforming cancer care systems. Association of Registered Nurses of BC Blog. https://www.nnpbc.com/how-nurses-can-contribute-to-transforming-cancer-…
Thorne, S. (2014). Nursing as social justice: A case for the emancipatory thrust of conventional theorizing. In Kagan, P., Smith, M., & Chinn, P.L. (Eds.), Philosophies and practices of emancipatory nursing: Social justice as praxis (pp. 79-90). New York: Routledge.
Thorne, S. (2014). Applied interpretive approaches. In P. Leavy (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of qualitative research methods (pp. 99-115). New York: Oxford University Press.
Coward, P., Butcher, C., Cook, H., Foley, L., Johnston, S., Kjorven, M., Lau, F., Penney, C., Thorne, S. 2014. Dying to care: How can we provide sustainable quality care to persons living with advanced life limiting illness in British Columbia? iPanel Advisory Board Recommendations to British Columbia Ministry of Health.
Sinclair, D., Noyes, J. Pearson, G., Thorne, S., Turale, S., & Watson, R. (2014). Writing for publication: An easy to follow guide for nurses interested in publishing their work. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, Inc..
Thorne, S. (2014). Toward rediscovering unfunded research/ Vers uen rédécouverte de al recherché non financée. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 24(3), pp. 141-143
Thorne, S. & Sawatzky, R. (2014). Nursing and quality of life. In A.C. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research(online https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_… and hard copy versions) (pp. 4399-4402). Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.
Thorne, S.E. (2014). Graduate education. In McIntyre, M. & McDonald, C. (Eds.), Realities of Canadian nursing: Professional, practice and power issues (4rd ed) (pp. 202-222). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
Thorne, S. (2014). Theoretical foundations of nursing practice. In J.C. Ross-Kerr, M.J. Wood, B.T. Astle & W. Duggleby (Eds), Potter & Perry’s Canadian fundamentals of nursing (5rd ed) (pp. 54-64). Toronto: Elsevier/ Mosby.
Thorne, S. (2013). 5 Questions. In A. Forss, C. Ceci & J. S. Drummond (Eds.) Philosophy of nursing: 5 questions (pp. 231-240). New York & London: Automatic Press/VIP.
Thorne, S. (2013). Secondary qualitative data analysis. In C. T. Beck (Ed.), Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research (393-404). New York: Taylor & Francis.
Thorne, S. (2013). Interpretive description. In C. T. Beck (Ed.), Routledge International Handbook of Qualitative Nursing Research (pp. 295-306). New Yorks: Taylor & Francis.
Thorne, S. (2013). Research vignette: Creating qualitatively derived knowledge for a practice discipline. In G. LoBiondo-Wood, J. Haber, C. Cameron & M.D. Singh (Eds.), Nursing research in Canada: Methods, critical appraisal, and utilization (3rd ed.) (pp. 144-6). Toronto: Elsevier.
Hartzell, R., Truant, T., Rashleigh, L., & Thorne, S. (2012). Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology National Strategy for Chemotherapy Administration Phase Three Evaluation Strategy Final Report. Vancouver, BC: Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology/Association canadienne des infirmières en oncologie
Katayama, Y., McLeod, B., Stajduhar, K.I. Carr, M., Cox-Russell, S., & Thorne, S. (2012). Providing clinical on-site consultation in home palliative care to support home care nurses: Learning from a Canadian experience. (Japanese Journal of) Hospice and Home Care, 20(3), 286-296.
Duncan, S., Thorne, S. & Rodney, P. (2012). Understanding the implications of the changing regulatory environment in nursing: Insights from the BC experience. Vancouver: Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (ARNBC).http://www.arnbc.ca/images/pdfs/understanding-implications-changing-reg…
Miyar Otero, L., Fong, M, Papineau, D., Thorne, S., Zanetti, M.L. (2011). Testing a prediabetes screening approach for a Latin American population in Vancouver, Canada. Journal of Nursing & Health Care in Chronic Illness, 3,329-338.
Thorne, S. (2011). Lifespan: Care coordination for chronic illness/disabilities and the family. In M. Craft-Rosenberg & S.R Pehler (Eds.),Encyclopedia of Family Health (pp. 697-702). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Thorne, S. (2011). Theoretical issues in nursing. In J. C. Ross-Kerr & M.J. Wood (Eds.), Canadian nursing: Issues and perspectives (5th ed.) (pp. 85-104). Toronto: Elsevier.
Thorne, S.E. (2010). Graduate education. In McIntyre, M. & McDonald, C. (Eds.), Realities of Canadian nursing: Professional, practice and power issues (3rd ed) (pp. 203-222). Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins
Morse, J.M., Coulehan, J., Thorne, S., Bottorff, J., Cheek, J., & Kuzel, A. (2009). Editorial: Data expressions or expressing data. Qualitative Health Research, 19(8), 1035-1036.
Thorne, S. (2009). Theoretical foundations of nursing. In J.C. Ross-Kerr & M.J. Wood (Eds), Potter & Perry’s Canadian fundamentals of nursing (4rd ed) (pp. 63-73). Toronto: Elsevier Mosby.
Thorne, S.E. (2008). Meta-synthesis. In L.M. Given (Ed.), The SAGE Enclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, pp. 510-513.
Thorne, S. (2008). Editorial: Communication in chronic care: Confronting the evidence challenge in an era of system reform. Journal of Nursing & Health Care of Chronic Illlness,17, 294-297.
Thorne, S. (2008). Interpretive description. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press. http://www.lcoastpress.com/book.php?id=156
Thorne, S. (2008). Data analysis in qualitative research. In Cullum, N, Ciliska, D., Haynes, R.B. & Marks, S.(Eds.), Evidence-based nursing: An introduction (pp. 93-100). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing.
Thorne, S. & Sawatzky, R. (2007). Particularizing the general: Challenges in teaching the structure of evidence-based nursing practice. In Drummond, J.S. & Standish, P (Eds.), The Philosophy of Nurse Education. (pp. 161-175). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Pesut, B. & Thorne, S. (2007). From private to public: Negotiating professional and personal identities in spiritual care. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 58, 396-403.
Thorne, S. (2007). Conceptualizing the purpose of nursing: Philosophical challenges in creating meaningful theoretical learning experiences. In Young, L.E. & Paterson, B (Eds.), Teaching nursing: Developing a student-centered learning environment. (pp. 347-363). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins.
McPherson, G. & Thorne, S. (2006). Exploiting exceptions to enhance interpretive qualitative health research: Insights from a study of cancer communication. International Journal of Qualitative Methodology, 5(2), Article 1, Retrieved 2007. See Full Text
Thorne, S. (2005). Courtesy, respect, emgagement: Can communication contribute to wellness? Rehab & Community Care Medicine, 14(1), 12-14.
Thorne, S., McGuinness, L., McPherson, G., Con, A., Cunningham, M.& Harris, S.R. (2004). Health care communication issues in fibromyalgia: An interpretive description. Physiotherapy Canada, 56, 31-38.
Bultz, B.D., Thorne, S., Fitch, M.F. (2004). Who owns emotional care of the cancer patient?: Untangling the conceptual confusion. Oncology Exchange, 3, 32-35.
Thorne, S. (2004). Qualitative secondary analysis. In M. Lewis-Beck, A. Bryman & T.F. Liao (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Research Methods for the Social Science, vol 3. (pp. 1006). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Thorne, S. Reimer Kirkham, S. & O’Flynn-Magee, K. (2004). The analytic challenge in interpretive description. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 3, Retrieved 2004. See Full Text.
Thorne, S. (2003). Graduate education. In McIntyre, M. & Tomlinson, B (Eds.), Realities of Canadian nursing: Professional, practice and power issues. (pp. 205-224). Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.
Thorne, S. (2003). Theoretical issues in nursing. In J. C. Ross-Kerr & M.J. Wood (Eds.), Canadian nursing: Issues and perspectives 4th ed.(pp. 116-134). Toronto: Mosby.
Thorne, S. (2003). Internationalizing practice: The UBC-Guru Nanak partnership project. In J. D. Ross-Kerr & M. J. Woods (Eds.), Canadian nursing: Issues and perspectives 4th ed. (pp. 518-519). Toronto: Mosby.
Thorne, S., Joachim, G., Paterson, G., & Canam, C. (2002). Influence of the research frame on qualitatively-derived health science knowledge. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 1. See Full Text
Thorne, S.E. (2001). The implications of disciplinary agenda on quality criteria for qualitative research. In J.M. Morse, J. Swanson, & A. Kuzel (Eds.), The nature of qualitative evidence. (pp. 141-159). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Stajduhar, K. I., Balneaves, L. G., & Thorne, S. E. (2001). A case for the "middle ground": Exploring the tensions of postmodern thought in nursing. Nursing Philosophy, 2, 72-82.
Thorne, S. (2001). Genetic Nursing in Canada. In S.L Feetham (Ed.), Nursing and genetics: Leadership for global health. (pp. 49-51). International Council of Nurses Monograph.
Thorne, S. & Perry J.A. (2001). Theoretical foundations of nursing practice. In P.A Potter, A.J. Perry, J.C. Ross-Kerr & M.J. Wood (Eds.),Canadian fundamentals of nursing 2nd ed. (pp. 86-100). Toronto, ON: Mosby.
Paterson, B., Thorne, S., Canam, C. & Jillings, C. (2001). Meta-Study of Qualitative Health Research: A Practical Guide to Meta-Analysis and Meta-Synthesis. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Thorne, S.E., Kazanjian, A., & MacEntee, M. I. (2001). Oral health in long-term care: The implications of organizational culture. Journal of Aging Studies, 15, 271-283.
Thorne, S.E. (2001). Promoting health at the client/professional interface. In L.E. Young & V.E. Hayes (Eds.), Transforming health practice: Concepts, issues, and applications. (pp. 59-70). F.A. Davis.
Thorne, S. (2001). People and their parts: Deconstructing the debates in theorizing nursing’s clients. Nursing Philosophy, 2(3), 259-262.
Thorne, S. (2000). Data analysis in qualitative research. Evidence Based Nursing, 3, 68-70.
Thorne, S.E. (1999). Rethinking the problem of non-compliance in chronic illness. In J. Guimòn, W. Fischer & N. Sartorius (Eds.), The image of madness: The public facing mental illness and psychiatric treatment. (pp. 231-238). Basel: Karger.
Thorne, S. (1997). Phenomenological positivism and other problematic trends in health science research. Qualitative Health Research, 7(2), 287-293.
Thorne, S. (1997). The art and science of critiquing qualitative research. In J. M. Morse (Ed.), Completing a qualitative project: Details and dialogue. (pp. 117-132). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Thorne, S.E. & Hayes, V.E. (1997). Nursing Praxis: Knowledge and Action. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage..
Thorne, S., & Jillings, C. (1996). Quality of life science: Implications for cancer nursing. Canadian Oncology Nursing Journal, 6(2), 72-74.
Thorne, S. (1994). Secondary analysis in qualitative research: Issues and implications. In J. Morse (Ed.), Critical Issues in Qualitative Research Methods. (pp. 263-279). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Thorne, S.E. (1993). Negotiating Health Care: The Social Context of Chronic Illness. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Thorne, S.E. (1991). Methodological orthodoxy in qualitative nursing research: Analysis of the issues. Qualitative Health Research, 1, 178-199.
Thorne, S.E. (1990). Constructive non-compliance in chronic illness. Holistic Nursing Practice, 5(1), 62-69.
Robinson, C.A., & Thorne, S.E. (1989). Understanding disruptive behaviours in the critical care setting. Critical Care Nursing, 9(4), 82-83.
Robinson, C.A., & Thorne, S.E. (1988). Qualitative nursing research: Dilemmas of ethics and validity. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research,20(1), 65-76.
Robinson, C.A., & Thorne, S.E. (1984). Strengthening family interference. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 9, 597-602.
Much of my teaching in recent years has been at the graduate level, focusing on applying conceptual knowledge to nursing practice, critical thinking, nursing theory and research methodology at the master’s level, as well as the philosophy of nursing science and disciplinary nursing knowledge at the doctoral level. I supervise nursing and interdisciplinary graduate students in the substantive fields of cancer and chronic illness experience, applied ethics, and the social context of health and health care.
MHLP, MN, MSN - thesis, MSN - non-thesis, PhD
Brownjohn, Kimberly - MSN, 2019
Exploring the process of implementing nursing bedside shift report
Truant, Tracy L. O. – PhD, 2018
Exploring equitably high quality cancer survivorship care
Stephens, Jennifer Marie Lior - PhD, 2018
Exploring issues of identity for adult haematology oncology patients
Truant, Tracy L. O. - PhD, 2018
Exploring equitably high quality cancer survivorship care
Redman, Kirsten - MSN, 2015
Patient communication in an online peer-to-peer forum for atrial fibrillation : an interpretive description