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Marjorie Dobratz, RN, D.N.Sc.

Professor Emeritus
Campus Mailbox



University of San Diego


Marjorie Dobratz joined the faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma (UWT) in 1999, when she assumed the position of Nursing Program Director. Dr. Dobratz left the Director's position in 2008 to focus on research and teaching. She became a Professor Emeritus in 2014. Prior to her UWT appointment, Dr. Dobratz chaired the Department of Nursing at Mount St. Mary's College in Los Angeles. Known as the home of the Roy Adaptation Model (RAM), at Mount St. Mary's she began a life-long pursuit of integrating theoretical concepts within the RAM's framework. She is now an Executive Board member of the Roy Adaptation Association (RAA). Along with her interest in adaptation nursing theory as a structure for advancing knowledge, Dr. Dobratz continues to research end-of-life issues: psychological adaptation, spirituality, terminal pain, and other hospice/palliative care concerns. Her practice experiences as a hospice coordinator, program developer, and research associate culminated in the development of the Life Closure Scale (LCS): a measure of psychological adaptation in death and dying. 

Dr. Dobratz received her Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc.) at the Phillip Y. Hahn School of Nursing, University of San Diego, her MSN and BSN from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and her nursing diploma from the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Nursing, Baltimore, Maryland

Current Research

  • Terminal pain
  • Psychological responses in dying persons
  • Measurement of psychological adaptation in hospice/palliative care populations
  • Development of Roy Adaptation Nursing Theory
  • End-of-life spirituality


  • Psychometrics
  • Qualitative and quantitative approaches
Selected Publications

Dobratz, M. C. (2014). The life closure scale; A measure of psychological adaptation in death and dying. In Michalos, A.C. (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-being Research. Springer, Dodrecht, Netherlands: Springer (pp. 3554-3556)

Dobratz, M. C. (2014). Life closure revisited with the Roy Adaptation Model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 27, (1) 51-56.

Dobratz, M. C. (2014). Synthesis of middle-range theory on adapting to loss. In S.C. Roy (Ed.) Generating middle-range theory; From evidence to practice, (pp. 253-275). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company.

Dobratz, M. C. (2013). All my saints are within me: Expressions of end-of-life spirituality. Palliative and Supportive Care, 11 (3), 191-198.

Dobratz, M. C., Primomo, J., & Delo, D. (2012). A comparative analysis of master of nursing students' scholarly inquiry. Journal of Professional Nursing, 28 (6), 369-376. 

Dobratz, M.C. (2011). Toward development of a middle-range theory of psychological adaptation in death and dying, Nursing Science Quarterly, 24 (3), 370-376.

Dobratz, M.C. (2010). A model of consensus formation for reconciling nursing's disciplinary matrix. Nursing Philosophy, 11 (1), 53-56.

Dobratz, M.C. (2009). Word choices of advanced cancer patients: Frequency of nociceptive and neuropathic pain. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 25 (6), 469-475.

Dobratz, M.C. (2008). Moving Nursing Science Forward within the Framework of the Roy Adaptation Model, Nursing Science Quarterly, 21 (3), 255-259.

Dobratz, M.C. (2006). Enriching the Portrait: Methodological triangulation of life-closing theory. Advances in Nursing Science, 29 (3), 260-170.

Dobratz, M.C., Primomo, J., & Bjorling, E. (2006). Outcomes of scholarly inquiry: An analysis of master's of nursing students' projects/theses. Journal of Professional Nursing, 22 (5), 296-303

Dobratz, M. C. (2005). A comparative study of life-closing spirituality in home hospice patients. Research and Theory for Nursing Practice: An International Journal, 19 (3), 243-256.

Dobratz, M. C. (2005). Gently into the light: A call for the critical analysis of end-of-life outcomes. Advances in Nursing Science, 28 (2), 116-126.

Dobratz, M. C. (2004). The Life Closure Scale: Additional testing of a tool to measure psychological adaptation in death and dying. Research in Nursing & Health, 27 (1), 52-62.

Dobratz, M. C. (2004). Life closing spirituality and the philosophic assumptions of the Roy adaptation model. Nursing Science Quarterly, 17 (4), 335-338

Dobratz, M. C., & Pilkington, B. K. (2004). A dialogue about two nursing science traditions: The Roy adaptation model and the human becoming. Nursing Science Quarterly, 17 (4), 301-307.

Dobratz, M. C. (2004) A comparative study of variables that have an impact on noncancer end-of-life diagnoses. Clinical Nursing Research, 13 (4), 309-325.

Dobratz, M. C. (2003). Issues and dilemmas of conducting research with vulnerable home hospice participants. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 35 (4), 371-376.

Dobratz, M. C. (2002-03). The self-transacting dying: Patterns of social-psychological adaptation in home hospice patients. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 46 (2), 147-163.