Nurses’ Day Eve

It is the eve of our special day

Can we honor nurses’ caring in a new found way?


Can we as a profession unite?

Centering and shining our healing light.


It’s our own day emerging from here, nurses’ day eve

Supporting one another, let’s believe:


That all nurses can earn a superior pay

That love and caring will rule the day

That hope and healing reign supreme

That we soon shall realize Nightingale’s dream

That we shine the light in any places remaining dark

That each nurse may leave her or his healing mark

That nursing education moves fully toward caring science

That we remain cohesive and united, growing our reliance

Yes, the field of nursing is moving out of oppression

Journeying forward to our own art, science, and caring expression.



With great thanks to the many nurses actively striving to create transformative change, innovations, and holistic-caring practices; keep striving, keep healing, and share your love and light!



International Human Caring Conference: Part I

I think that those of us interested in creating change need to find ways to gather, to heal ourselves, and to support one another in and through the change process. It is a blessing when we as professional nurses can be with other professionals of like mind and like goals.  I was privileged to attend the International Human Caring Conference in Philadelphia, PA this week. There were dozens of trade show displays and booths, of variou new and old non-profits aiming to better the world. As always, the key note speakers were amazing and inspiring: Dr. Jean Watson and Sigridur Halldorsdottir.

Dr. Watson focused on the heart space and unitary patterns, how we are all interconnected and how our own thoughts, intentions, and heart spaces can impact the greater field. Though these are not new concepts for Dr. Watson to express (many of them are mentioned in her 1999 publication Post Modern Nursing and Beyond), there seems to be a growing body of evidence to confirm that the transpersonal human caring states and states of personal peace that come from a heart centered space are able to create a greater unitary space and pattern of healing. Human caring therefore becomes about a unitary place of peaceful connectedness. This concept is confirmed by the fields of quantum theory, the unitary world view, caring science, and the ethics of belonging. Our true power as nurses and healers comes from taking action from a place of an evolving higher vibration consciousness and human caring – peace intentionality. Watson emphasized in her presentation the idea that love and peace are the highest level of unitary consciousness, and it is by dropping into heart space, and enacting our heart ways of being, that we can manifest peace and healing in meaningful ways.

Universal, Unitary Heart

Many people may read this and wonder just how to interact within the heart space; they may assume that it takes great practice and effort to relate to others from a heart space. Watson (1999) did however remind us that we have this power within us already; it is not so much about learning or adding in something, it’s about getting in touch with and remembering who we are- spiritual beings, interconnected from our roots. I like to remember that we all came from our star dust origins.

Some simple techniques to enter into the heart space may include closing your eyes, setting an intentionality for caring, communicating, and healing from the heart. Next, one may start from closing the eyes, focusing on the breath moving in and out of the nostrils. Next take the minds’ intention, by focusing on the “third eye” space or the space between the brows, and from there internally-visually dropping one’s attention into the heart space. Notice how it feels to dwell from this space and intend to be in this space throughout the day. Send the love you feel for and from yourself out to your loved ones, family, friends, pets, colleagues, administrators, your challengers, and the world. This can be done in 1-2 minutes, and one can remember/ return to this practice throughout the day; always returning to the heart space which is the core of our being.

For nurses this should be good news. In a just a few steps, you can begin to create the sort of caring-healing practices that make our work worthwhile and meaningful. Additionally, consider that the more one practices self-care and healing techniques, the easier and more natural it becomes to enter into the heart space. Practices such as yoga, Reiki, meditation, contemplative prayer, and tai chi can help one become familiar with the heart space, and prepared to enter it more easily. Taking good care of one’s being through diet, exercise, and sleep are basic health factors that also enable us to better relate to others from the heart. Within the heart space, nurses can generate peace and wellness for self, others, and all beings of the world. From this place of peace, we can create change within our profession, as we strive to support nursing in our emancipatory process.

Dream of a Healing House & Feminist thought in nursing

Toady I posted on my own blog a “reprint” of the “Dream of a Healing House” that appeared in 1989 in the now-defunct journal Nursing and Health Care.  For those who have become familiar with the NurseManifest project, you will immediately recognize that the dream, and the feminist ideas that I wrote about then are also part of the foundation of the NurseManifest project.  It seems like a discouragingly long time since I first wrote this article, and of course it is even much longer since others have conceived of similar ideas.  But, those of us who have been and are inspired by the ideals embedded in NurseManifest possibilities thankfully never give up the dream!

What prompted me to get permission to “reprint” the dream was a request, by email, from a school in Australia that was facing a routine accreditation review of their curriculum, and in the documents that they had on record describing the curriculum there was a reference to a “dream of a healing house” that was not cited, but that folks involved with the program believed to have been published by me at some point along the way!  They were contacting me to see if this was the case, and if so, where was it published.  I still do not know what their curriculum materials contain, but of course I provided the information they needed and urged them to keep working to make this a reality!

This kind of connection continues to pop up regularly with the NurseManifest project – someone somehow hears about or sees the web site, and either emails or comments when we meet about how much the web site means to them.  So far we have done no promotion, and I wonder what might happen if we were to find more ways to let folks know we exist?  But regardless, I am so very glad that the ideas are “out there” as part of a much wider and deeper trust that we can make a difference!

If you have had experiences that affirm the possibility that our ideals can, or actually are coming into action, please share here!  Just share a comment about what you have experienced, and let’s build a “log” of things that affirm our conviction that the ideals can be real!

Examining the Nurse Manifesto: Identifying with the Past and Future

Now, seeking meaningful avenues for action, we choose to identify ourselves with the heritage and future of nurses. From nursing history we have learned the fullness of our own potential as nurses, the strength of nurses, the effect of nurses in communities and to individuals. We have seen our own common self interest, and common oppression. Having found these authentic bonds as nurses, we realize we can rely on each other as we seek conscience-based action to shape a new future for nursing and for health care (Cowling, Chinn, & Hagedorn, 2000, paragraph 4).

This is another excerpt form the Nurse Manifesto, a document that calls us as nurses to create avenues of change for the future of the profession. As I reflect upon this excerpt, and our identity as a profession. Where did we come from and where are we headed? How can history inform the future of our profession, and how is it we can come together to create meaningful change?

Nurses Honor the Past By Wearing Caps For A Day

In 2002, I wrote an article about the nursing shortage and how in some respects, the profession has created our oppressive cycle by not coming together to empower ourselves and take control of future and our practices (Clark, 2002). Perhaps reflective of the greater culture, we tend to enact lateral violence, and repeat actions that keep us divided over our differences versus united in the quest to provide the greatest healing opportunities for our patients. We see that our own oppression grows, as we widen the gaps between administration/ managers and practicing nurses, and the dominance of nurse educators over students. Focusing on our differences, creating small factions, failing to care for ourselves, not committing to being lifelong learners, and spreading ourselves thin all contribute to our professional oppression and keep us from focusing on our common goals.

I believe that we can each start right where we are at. The first step is caring for yourself that you may also better for care for others, patients and colleagues alike. Creating work environments of healing and caring is a common goal we can share and explore together on the local level. We can commit to creating a consciousness for change in nursing and healthcare.

As the over-arching professional organization, it would be wonderful if the American Nurses Association could begin to bring us together on a national level. It seems the state nursing associations on many levels are more likely to create local action, but they also need assistance in gaining participation and increasing membership numbers. In my small state of Maine at our statewide meeting last year a quorum was not established as there simply were not enough members present to meet that mark.

I imagine a professional world where each donate some of our time every year toward taking action on the local-statewide level, whether that is writing a letter to congressional representatives, or serving our larger communities, or perhaps sharing our expertise about the human experience. I have served on the local school board, where I helped to foster much-needed changes in the kitchen and the nutritional program, and now I serve on the early education advisory council in my town, where I share and learn about childhood development and teaching and evaluation skills. Churches are another great place to provide healing services and demonstrate your expertise as a nurse. Serving in communities helps us to unit with the community and our patients; this unification process can also foster change as we grow our partnerships and empower communities and individuals toward creating the healthcare system of the future.

One great way to come together is to join a specialty nurses association and attend their conference. I have found great comfort, support, and enthusiasm in the American Holistic Nurses Association; it is rejuvenating to leave the conference and begin to take action based on what was learned there. I have found that the AHNA has a great commitment to changing the future of the nursing profession, and empowering nurses on a meaningful manner.

Lastly, how do we empower the future nurses to realize the potential of our profession? They must understand the path that nursing has traveled, the change process, self-care, and their potential contribution to the unveiling of the new paradigm of healing in our future.

Nurses in the Future


Clark, C. S. (2002). The nursing shortage as a community transformational opportunity. Advances in Nursing Science, 25(1), 18-31.

Cowling, R., Chinn, P.L., & Hagedorn, S. (2000). The Nurse Manifesto.
Retrieved August 12, 2011 from

Change agents – or complicit?

Over the past couple of weeks I have been giving a lot of thought to the issues of integrity that Carey wrote about last week.  Personal integrity is a challenge that increasingly affects Computer cheating cartoonnot only academics, but also practice and research.  And, this is at the core of what we are seeking to address in the Nurse Manifest Project.  So this deserves lots of attention, and I hope that folks will get involved in some of this discussion!

In this post I want to lay some groundwork for things I will write about over the next several days and weeks — ways that we can work toward change, and interrupt ways that we are (often unknowingly) complicit.

Years ago I read Nel Noddings wonderful book “Women and Evil,” which has provided a grounding for me Continue reading