Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Monica Griffin

Committee Members

Jennifer Putzi

Jennifer Mellor

Leisa Meyer


The American diagnostic process is centered on communication. While 46% of American teenagers live with chronic illness, their stories have gone largely unstudied. This project documented chronically-ill young women’s experiences seeking diagnosis and explores relative value units (RVU), a healthcare policy, as a contextual factor in these healthcare experiences. This research asks: What is the timeline of diagnosis for a young woman with a chronic condition? How does this diagnostic process not only impact a patient’s understanding of their illness and treatment plan but also their identity and self-efficacy? What are the varying constraints on this diagnostic process that may impede timely, effective care? This research used three methods: case studies on chronically-ill young women, a literature review of physician experiences related to healthcare payment policy, and an interview of a clinician and educator in pediatric and adolescent medicine. The findings indicated that while seeking care, participants experienced disjointed diagnostic timelines which persistently damaged identity formation and self-efficacy through invalidation, scarce information, and lapses in care. These patient experiences aligned with physician experiences that attribute systemic barriers in the current healthcare system. This project suggests that narrative medicine, an approach for improving the relationship between patient and provider, be considered within a healthcare model reliant on codes and payment schemes for treatment.

Available for download on Wednesday, January 29, 2025