The Evolution of a Holistic Nurse

After graduating high school, I acquired a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and immediately started working within teaching hospitals in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Over the next 20 years the medical profession became less satisfying to my idea of helping people get better.  As a matter of fact, it turned out that hospitals became very scary places.

Hospitals emphasized using medications as the first line of treatment for everything, followed by invasive procedures, numerous laboratory tests and an environment that did not provide for the comfort of the patient.  Food trays were served without very much nutritional content and seemed to portray a convenience for the dietary staff to fill doctor’s orders without consideration toward nutritional values.  Assembly line care became the norm and former methods used to relax patients such as a back rub before going to sleep, keeping the patient’s room quiet and respecting their privacy went by the wayside.

The time came when I could not bear to work in the hospital environment any longer.  Healthcare Professionals discharged patients with instruction to be seen in the doctor’s office so many weeks later expecting them to get better with more medication and/or medical treatments.  This was in conflict to my philosophy of assisting a body to heal itself through adequate sleep, good nutrition, a comfortable environment and helping people discover their own healing process without much need for pain and sleep mediations.

I worked within the Pharmaceutical Industry and acquired an in-depth understanding about the effects of medication: benefits and risks.  I learned how Healthcare Professionals focused upon pharmaceutical interventions using peer reviewed statistically significant studies.  I became adept in state-of-the-art marketing and all aspects of cost-effective benefits to hospitals.  This led me to become top in the industry and was the gift that helped to create my own business to use non-pharmaceutical interventions to help the body heal.

I discovered the American Holistic Nurses Association at the same time I was working within the Pharmaceutical Industry.  Their mission connected to my personal philosophy as a nurse.  It states in the Handbook for Practice (Holistic Nursing, Fifth Edition, Dossey and Keegan 2009) that:

“A Holistic Nurse is a nurse who recognizes and integrates body-mind-spirit-environment principles and modalities in daily life and clinical practice, creates a caring healing space within herself or himself that allows the nurse to be an instrument of healing, shares authenticity of unconditional presence that helps to remove the barriers to the healing process, facilitates another person’s growth (body-mind-emotion-spirit-environment connections), and assists with recovery from illness or transition to peaceful death.” (Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice” Pages 48-49)

I began a community health intervention in 2010 as a Nurse Health Coach and started a non-profit organization.  At the time, insurance did not cover Health Coaching or Allied Health Services.  The Department of Labor and Industry did not have Health & Wellness Coaching as a profession.  Over the next 2 years I brought nurses and allied health professionals together within the community to offer Health Coaching, Yoga and Healing Touch Therapy.  My website was recognized by consumers, students, hospitals, Managed Care Organizations, Corporations, Retirement Communities, Healthcare Professionals and the local news media.

When the Beaulieu Yoga and Healthcoaching Studio opened for business, the services included free Yoga classes for the underserved, health-oriented group workshops and private Yoga and Coaching sessions.  People ended their work day with a Yoga Class and college students wanted a way to manage their academic stress with Restorative Yoga.  Therapeutic Yoga techniques were provided as a result of doctors referring chronic back pain patients needing a non-pharmaceutical intervention to relieve their pain.  After 3 years of operating the studio, a few of my family members needed me to be their caregiver and the studio closed.

While taking care of the family, I registered in a Healing Touch Program offered at The Nemours Hospital for Children.  After completing 5 Levels of Healing Touch Training I became a Healing Touch Practitioner.  I have provided Healing Touch to Healthcare Professionals, University Faculty, Staff and Students, Retirement Community Residents, friends and family members.

The American Holistic Nurses Association published a “Position Statement” on the role of nurses in the practice of Complementary & Integrative Health Approaches (CHIA).

“AHNA supports the integration of complementary and alternative therapies into conventional healthcare to enable the client to benefit from the best of all treatments available.” 

Some Hospitals incorporate complementary therapy to manage pain.  They have been contracting services with Health Coaches, Healing Touch Practitioners and Yoga Therapists as well as developing Wellness Centers that are staffed with safe and effective professionals who deliver Complementary modalities.  The time has come when I am no longer afraid to work within a hospital system.   I am now actively providing Healthcoaching, Restorative Yoga and Healing Touch Therapy through contracting with local hospitals, universities and retirement communities.

I believe with all of my heart, mind and spirit that human beings can achieve incredible things when their Healthcare Professionals open their mind to all healing possibilities.  “The traditional healing arts of the East and modern medial technology of the West are complementary branches of the same tree, and that together they provide a far more complete picture of human health and offer far more effective therapies for human disease than either one can possibly do alone.” (The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing by Daniel P. Reed; Shambhala Publications, Inc. 1992)


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