Expressing Gratitude For Our Global and Local Nursing Leaders

I have been fortunate to have been supported and influenced by many of nurses’ contemporary leaders: I studied with Dr. Jean Watson prior to completing my dissertation by taking 6 units of doctoral level electives with her at UCHS. I had contacted Dr. Watson during my Masters studies, and I was amazed at how approachable she was via email. Watson’s Theory of Human Caring has influenced and directed my work in a way that is immeasurable on many levels; being with her and spending a week in sacred center, studying emerging sacred-caring science concepts brought me to a new vision of how nursing education can and should be practiced.


I also stumbled upon the work of Dr. Peggy Chinn and the nurse manifest project during my early doctoral studies, and soon found myself embraced by the NurseManifest community. I was blessed to have been part of the first Nurse Manifest research project team, and the experience of presenting our findings together was monumental in my life as an emerging nursing scholar.


While Dr. Watson and Dr. Chinn epitomize the amazing academic and scholarly accomplishments of Nurses’ Living Legends, they both also remain approachable, kind, caring, and generous. They reflect back to us a deep love for nursing, coupled with calls toward caring and a level of social justice activism that is highly needed in our process of supporting both local and global healing. There are many other nurses whom I might call “global nursing leaders” who share in this attitude, commitment, and consciousness toward change.


I am also frequently touched by the leadership capacity of my nursing students; the willingness to change their lives, spread their wings, and find ways to bring caring, holism, and healing to the “local” bedside in environments where these concepts often remain fringe in the face of allopathic approaches. The many global nursing leaders inspire nursing students, and the continuum to me is clear; students and nurses need these leaders to raise our consciousness, build our confidence, and lead us into our own leadership capacity at the local level. We need global leaders to shine a light on our professional paths and support our deepening understanding of both self as nurse and our profession’s capacity to create nursing qua nursing as the norm.


I am honored to be working with my RN-BSN students this fall in their leadership coursework. We will look at Chinn’s Peace and power work and also explore leadership through holistic concepts. We will examine burnout and how we can recover or support others in their recovery through self-care. In analyzing our workplaces, we will explore Sharon Salzberg’s (a registered nurse and globally known meditation teacher) Real happiness at work: Meditations for accomplishment, achievement, and peace as a supportive tool for self-exploration around workplace issues.


Many nursing students struggle to perceive themselves as “local nurse leaders”, and I strive to support them to tap into their own leadership capacities, to create the types of healthcare workplaces where they can thrive and support the healing of their patients through integrative modalities and caring consciousness. I do believe one way to provide this platform for students’ emerging leadership is to create a caring environment for students, to support their own healing processes, and to role model shared leadership processes and self-care-healing for, and with, students. In this way, I humbly express my deepest gratitude for those global nursing leaders who have shone their light on my own professional and healing path when it was often far from clear where I was headed.

Nurses and Global Peace

This blog posting will be a bit different from others I have written, but I believe the NurseManifest page is a place where we can open our hearts and souls to the essence of nursing, which is healing, caring, love, and compassion. In a world seemingly torn asunder from fear, violence, and anger, nurses are called forth to support healing on a local and global level. The call comes from something beyond ourselves, and if you stop and listen closely, I believe you will hear that calling. You are a nurse and there is a reason you were drawn to nursing: to support healing through loving kindness and caring.

A few nights before the recent violence spread around the world, from Beruit to Paris, I lay in bed cuddling my 7 year old daughter close. Every night I am blessed to be able to spend some time reading to my daughters and cuddling as they drift off to dreamland. For a few moments that evening, I found myself floating in a space where I felt like the mother of the universe was whispering to me, not in words, but through a deep felt intuitive process. I knew the goodness, the light, and the powerful strength of peace as they came through clearly to me, carrying with them the message that the mother of all, the earth as a complex system, will heal itself. After the moment of certainty passed, I was left with the usual feelings of uncertainty: how will the good and the light prevail in these times of darkness? Who will help make this happen? What is my role in this process?

Then tragedy struck, and violence and war continue to grow. The feelings of uncertainty have not dissipated, so I sit with those, but I also do remain strongly rooted in the belief that as nurses, we can support global peace and healing through our own efforts of creating local peace and healing. And that local peace starts at the place closest to us all, right from our hearts.

As we practice our own healing, creating our own peace and loving-healing processes, we can begin to spread that healing, peace, and love to others. A practice I try and do daily is called loving kindness meditation. I feel on many levels this practice is about my own healing and self-care so that I can be a better nurse, wife, and mother… and it is also about bringing that healing into the world.

I start with focusing on myself, in my heart space, and intending for myself healing through the following words:

May I know peace, joy, love, and ease. May my heart be full. May I be safe, healthy, and happy.

I than send this intention to the loved ones in my life, wishing them all love, peace, ease, happiness, health, and safety: family, friends, pets, students, and colleagues. As the circle of intention spreads outward, I send the intention and feelings of love and peace out to my “enemies” and challengers, and I end with the whole planet, with every being being sent the intention of peace, love, and healing.  The process takes  5-10 minutes.

As nurses supporting healing, we can think and act both locally and globally. Imagine if every nurse sent out an intention, a prayer, a positive thought for healing and peace for the entire mother earth and all of the beings living here. Consciousness studies show that our thoughts and intentions impact our environment and reality.  I think of Jean Watson’s call for us to practice loving kindness and  Martha Rogers’ concept of Unitary Beings. We can reflect the patterns before us, we can create shifts in consciousness to support healing.

Despite the medical system’s over-emphasis on technology-cure-illness management, I still believe that nurses are truly called toward the healing that all beings are capable of experiencing. If you have been called to be a nurse, can you return to that calling, can you spare a few moments to consider the global situation, and what you can do as a nurse to support healing from the truly local level (yourself) and on to the global level?

I would love to hear from nurses and how they are supporting peace and healing around the globe. The call has been made, how will you answer?


peace-signs-clip-art-peace-signs-clip-art-10h call has been made… how will you respond?



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!



When nurses have a bad day

I had a mostly wonderful experience today. I used to teach medical surgical nursing with nursing students and today I was afforded the experience of observing and “evaluating” a nurse educator on a medical surgical floor. I think I was more excited to be there on the floor then anybody else; I still love the bedside, though my academic endeavors have taken me away from that experience.

I found myself more co-teaching with the instructor (as you know if you are experienced teacher, it is pretty difficult to sit back and simply observe) and getting to know the patients better while the students and instructor were scanning meds. This afforded me the opportunity to act as a role model for the students and help them to get to know their patients better, but the students were nervous about doing injections and having me along as a second observer may have increased their anxiety a bit. Speaking with the patients and really connecting with them made me long for that experience I realized I had been missing, the transpersonal caring space.

The rose colored glasses were soon to be abruptly removed.

We had gowned and gloved up to go into an MRSA patient’s room. A woman (wearing no identification, no lab coat, and none of the required PPE) admonished us after we knocked and stated we had medications for the patient. She angrily and abruptly came to the door and shut it in our faces, stating she had to talk privately with the patient, that she was arranging discharge. I could hear her abrupt and angry tone with the patient and after a few minutes she swung open the door to leave.

The instructor I was with said in a very friendly and positive tone, “Oh did you know this is an isolation room?”. And the reply of the discharge nurse was, “I didn’t touch a single thing in this room and I certainly know what precautions are”. She maintained her angry and abrupt tone and without washing hands she left the MRSA contaminated room and headed off to the next patient.

The instructor and I were both taken aback and after finishing the work with the patient and student, I asked her what she thought of the situation, should she perhaps “report” the discharge nurse to the manager. The greatest concern of course was patient safety; and the nurse’s failure to take proper PPE precautions was of concern to me as she was now potentially putting more patients at risk for contracting MRSA. This is how MRSA usually spreads in hospitals, from healthcare workers who fail to take the proper precautions of using PPE and washing hands.

My secondary concern was that this nurse’s palpable anger was being directed wherever she went: toward patients, students, instructors, other nurses. Her anger and stress were creating an environment of stress activation for others and we know that stress leads to a hindered immune system response and impacts one’s ability to heal. The nurse was, all by herself, impacting others in a negative way and she seemed either unknowing or uncaring about the impact of her actions.

The instructor and I agreed the incident should be reported and later when we saw the nurse manager, we made our concerns known. But as an instructor this can create a bit of a tenuous situation; we absolutely must act as the patient advocate, but we are not employees of the hospital, and if the complaint is followed through properly, the discharge nurse will indeed know who made the complaint. As the instructor relayed the incident to the nurse manager, she mentioned several times, “maybe the discharge nurse was just having a bad day…”.

And this is what I am left struggling with, because the discharge nurse was definitely having a bad day…or week… or month… or maybe even life. I am even now struggling with finding my compassion for this nurse who I intuitively sense as being in stress mode and likely burned out. The safety risks she was willing to take for having a bad day are in my mind inexcusable, and yet how do I find ways to let go of my anger about the situation (which would also impact my immune system!) and move toward a place of caring and compassion for this person? I suppose if I was there for longer then this one time of a few hours, I could devise ways to care for her myself better, to eventually ask if she was having a bad day, and to let her know I would like to support her. Or perhaps I could just create a “vibration” of love and caring around her, letting my heart’s electromagnetic field reach out to her unspoken pain and anger.

As we head into Nurses’ Week 2014, I would love to see nurses banded together in practicing self-care and caring for and loving one another. I want to see us also create room for supportive, loving, and constructive conversations for those nurses who are seemingly continually difficult and angry, whose bad day after bad day turns into a life driven by unresolved anger, compassion fatigue, and stress. We all deserve love and care, and if you find you cannot have overt conversations with the tried, angry, and frustrated or with difficult colleagues, patients, or family members, then I would suggest taking this action on internally, and seeing if things change over time.

For instance we know that HeartMath(TM) is used in many hospitals to assist providers in creating caring- healing presence. This is all about a process of tuning into your heart space, and hospitals have used it to help support staff in creating patient-centered healing experiences. However, one can also simply imagine coming into a full heart space, and imagine oneself as overflowing with love for this person who is clearly suffering. Sometime it helps me to picture the person as an infant, or a young child, in need of love and I send that love out with an intention for healing. I am not perfect at, but when I catch myself thinking negatively about someone, I strive to turn that feeling around. I then often include them in my loving-kindness prayers for well being and healing.

As we enter nurses’ week, let’s follow our caring-healing guiding nurse theorists, like Jean Watson and Savina Schoenhofer, and see that our work as nurses extends towards creating caring-healing environments. To celebrate this special week, let’s strive to remember that we can care for love all we come into contact with.


Nurses’ Week: A Narrative Poem of Light, 2013

She will come and be with you

Guiding you on that deep and personal journey

Shining a light ahead for you

A light that only comes from within

And creeps into your lonely places of suffering.


He will speak kind words in the dark of night

Opening your windows to fresh air

Holding your hand gently and bringing about peace

And acting as a guide for you on your path toward the unknown.


They will walk with you

On your personal healing journey

Supporting your capacity for healing, and ending suffering

All brought about by Love

And skills developed during the nurses’ own healing journey.


These nurses of healing and light

Inspired by Florence Nightingale and purveyors of human caring,

They are shining the light into the darkness of healthcare

They are healing the heart of the world.