I start with a short version of ‘about me’ since a trusted friend said the original was too long. If you are interested in more in depth sharing, proceed to the second section.
I have been a Registered Nurse since 1978. A long time. I have worked in a hospital, home health care in various capacities, private duty, wellness education and have owned my own holistic health and healing business.
In whatever capacity I have served as a nurse over the years my passions have always been compassion, advocacy and caring for the whole person.
The art of nursing is what has kept me in the field for over 3 decades. While the knowledge and practice of the science of nursing has been necessary in the care of my patients, my family and myself, the art of nursing has been the key to my happiness. This art or ‘heart’ of nursing, which involves care of the whole person, including the emotional, mental, social, spiritual and relationship aspects of being human, must be balanced with scientific care. Making connection and truly relating with the patient is crucial. All this is known to many as Holistic Nursing. Many years ago, in my study of the holistic nursing curriculum, I realized I had always been a holistic nurse, except in the area of self care.
In 1994, I came face to face with this missing piece of being a holistic nurse when I led myself into a stress induced illness. This realization and experience was life changing.
I chose at the time to explore alternative and complementary therapies and take an honest look at how my choices had impacted the onset of my poor health. I realized that those choices had led to dis-ase on all levels of my being. I had dealt with anxiety since my teens but this was the worst anxiety of my life. I decided not to take medication, but to get at the root cause of what led to the anxiety and what I could do to stop the cycle.
When someone is not feeling well, diagnosed with a disease or injured, I see my role as caring for the person the disease has a hold of rather than just focusing on the disease, disorder, illness or injury. I am an empathetic and compassionate listener. I become a healing presence and create a healing space in which the patient can relax and healing can occur. I can usually ease patient and caregiver anxiety I have always used caring touch as a way to reduce anxiety and connect with my patients. I was grateful to have the opportunity in 1994 to begin my study of Healing Touch and learn to use touch therapeutically as well.
My passion for advocacy includes my friends and family. Advocating for my husband during his extended illness and frequent hospitalizations utilized all of my nursing knowledge and experience. At some point I found myself asking the question, ‘how do people with no medical training advocate for themselves and their loved ones?’
This website and blog is dedicated to the memory of my father and my late husband.
I will be sharing my passion and resources in the areas of advocacy, human caring and connection, ‘growing through’ adversity, alternatives to medication for managing anxiety and assisting others in accessing inner and outer resources to reach their highest potential in holistic health, wellness and healing.
Would love to hear from you about experiences and ideas in any or all of these areas.
I have been a Registered Nurse since 1978. Wow. Just putting that in writing hits home how long I have been in this field.
Although I have worked in various areas, I started, as most new graduates still do, in a hospital, on a general nursing unit.
Early in my nursing career I noticed that I was more deeply interested in the ‘art’ or ‘heart’ of nursing than the ‘skills’ of nursing. I was good at both, yet I connected on such a level with my patients that I could ‘sense’ they were getting worse before clinical signs appeared. I also found myself consistently looking to see who was in the hall asking about the patient or noting that no one was in the hall asking about the patient. I was interested in what I called then, the ‘extension’ of the patient, their life beyond the disease or injury. I wanted to treat the person that the disease had a hold of rather than just treat the disease. I was always a patient advocate.
I also observed that often just laying my hand gently on my patient’s arm, or on their concerned loved one’s arm, their anxiety level seemed to diminish. This was, and remains, the part of nursing that has kept me going, what I would now call, ‘being a caring and healing presence’. In those days we had less sophisticated equipment for patient assessment, such as pulse oximeters, the device we put on the patient’s finger to determine their oxygen level. My clinical assessment skills as a nurse were critical, yet also were my caring skills. Through connecting deeply with my patients I noticed subtle changes occurring before more obvious symptoms appeared signalling an impending clinical problem.
I have served in multiple capacities in my decades as a nurse. After 8 years working as a floor nurse, I decided to try out Home Health care. Being a home care nurse tested my nursing skills and knowledge and sent me researching on many diseases I had never encountered. Once I was in the home, I was the eyes and ears of the physician and had to know what I was looking for before I called about a patient’s condition. I was in the setting my heart desired, providing care in a patient’s home. I was able to get to know the ‘extension’ of the patient and my care and teaching involved everyone who was available, willing, and able to learn. Being in the home allowed me the opportunity to see what resources were available (or not) to assist in the patient’s recovery. I loved the team approach to coordination of care.
My transition to providing care in the home took place in 1986. Little did I know I had entered that arena at a time when home health care was beginning to boom. I learned a great deal, did a good job, and in 1988 was promoted to Nursing Supervisor. Soon the government began mandating such things as Safety Standards (OSHA), Infection Control and Performance Improvement processes for home care agencies. All in the midst of the exponential growth that was occurring. There was not enough staff to do all the work. I again found myself doing research, attempting to learn how to translate hospital principles to home care, and became the first Infection Control Coordinator (while also a Nursing Supervisor) and subsequently also the first Performance Improvement Coordinator for the agency. Needless to say, I had my hands full. While I enjoyed the challenge of my work, I was missing direct patient care. My heart was not as happy. I did not heed this awareness and as business continued to grow I was asked to assume a newly created position as Clinical Director in 1990. My mandate was to hire more supervisors, train someone to assume my responsibilities in Infection Control and Quality Management, then supervise the supervisors as well as the social workers. As you can imagine, it took some time to hire qualified staff, there were not a lot of applicants with both management skills and home care knowledge so the transition process took some time…and yes…I continued to wear multiple hats.
The short version of what followed over the next few years, is that I enrolled in a BSN program, as my job description necessitated, pushed myself to complete my degree as soon as possible, and while in school, agreed to assume the position of administrator for the agency! Way, way, far away, from my heart’s happiness and, yes, all while trying to hire my replacement and learn about the additional responsibilities I had acquired. ‘Wonder woman’ syndrome. The bottom line outcome was eventually driving myself into a ‘stress induced illness’, culminating on the eve of my 39th birthday, in what I refer to as the ‘crash and burn’.
The key blessing in the health crisis was this…I finally realized that I had made some poor choices over those years in my work life and began to ask myself WHY I had made them. That question prompted me to seek the root reasons for my poor choices and to explore complementary and alternative care thought and practices in the process of restoring my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and well being and led me, eventually, to a new career, and new, healthier approaches to decision making.
I set up this website to share resources that assisted me during the 3 month recovery period that followed and those that continue to help me.
I learned to tap into inner and outer resource in my journey back to my heart’s desire…back to me, and in my ongoing search for my highest potential in service, balanced with service to myself as well.
I hope you come along and share what resources you have found in your search for higher levels of holistic health, wellness and healing.