Caroline Pauline Cárdenas holds a Master of Science in Nursing Education from Walden University, a Master of Arts in Psychology from Meridian University, is a certified Breast Care Nurse through the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), a 200hr Registered Hatha Yoga Teacher, a certified Elemental Hoop Dance Teacher, and a certified 5Elements Ecstatic Dance Facilitator.
Caroline has been an oncology nurse for over 16 years, working in Radiation Oncology, Head and Neck Nurse Coordination, Breast Medical Oncology, Hospice, Gastrointestinal Malignancies, Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Infusion, and Breast Surgical Oncology. Her Master’s Thesis “Hoop Dancing to Prevent and Decrease Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Among Nurses” has been published in the Journal of Emergency Nursing & the University of California San Diego Nursing Journal 2014. Caroline guides healthcare professionals to use joy replenishment through body and movement play as a powerful self-care practice and has offered Hoop Dancing classes for Self-Care Workshops at nurse’s retreats & women’s empowerment retreats. She offers an online Elemental Hoopdance Teacher Training and produces a yearly body and movement play retreat for adults in Hawaii, which promotes rest, healthy nutrition, and play to foster the imagination and cultivate well-being.
Caroline has been hula hooping (hoopdancing) for over 13 years. She understands that the experience of joy is a basic affect and is our birthright and the practice of play is intrinsic to who we are as social mammals. She speaks passionately about the power of body and movement play for self-care and the importance and necessity of team-play among healthcare professionals towards creating and fostering trusting and healthier work environments for improved patient outcomes and enhanced work-life balance. In addition, Caroline is featured in James Redford’s documentary film, “Playing for Keeps”, where she speaks about her own journey of what inspired her to become an oncology nurse, her personal experience with burnout and compassion fatigue, her discovery of play through hula hooping, and how teaching hula hooping has inspired and cultivated joy and the imagination within her community.
Currently, Caroline is working on her Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology at Meridian University, where she is writing her dissertation on “Play and its Effects on Burnout and Compassion Fatigue Among Healthcare Professionals”. Her vision is to continue to serve as a play researcher and advocate, an educator, clinical psychologist, and public speaker, as well as produce body and movement play retreats to guide women, breast cancer survivors, healthcare professionals, educators, nursing and medical students, and mothers all over the world to discover, explore, practice, protect, and share their unique creative expression through the sacred practice of play, with the focus and hope, to reawaken and foster the imagination, purpose, meaning, and authentic connection through shared joy.