As I sat in the window seat of an aircraft headed to Palm Springs I was disillusioned by how I was feeling. Usually when I travel I have mixed feelings of excitement and impatience. I surprised myself by feeling neither of these emotions. Confused, I inquired within, “okay, what’s up? What ARE you feeling?” It didn’t take long for one word to come my mind… Home. I felt as though I was headed home. I felt a calm, peaceful and reassuring energy as I watched the clouds floating beneath me.
When I arrived at the American Holistic Nursing Association (AHNA) Conference as the Canadian Holistic Nursing Association (CHNA) representative my interpretations of my feelings were correct. I was surrounded by a fascinating group of people who I felt completely comfortable with. These people shared the same passions and dreams as me, aspiring to combine holistic practices into our nursing careers. Let us treat the patient in front of us- the WHOLE patient- not just the physical manifestation.
I had the opportunity to try many different therapies such as Supreme Science Qigong, Tai Chi Chih, Breema, Ayurvada, Meditation, Drumming, Biomat, Hatha Yoga and Dreamwork. Words cannot describe how amazing these therapies were. As you may have noticed, I am a try it for yourself type of character. Some of the sessions I attended included: Nurse Entrepreneurs, Holistic Nurse Certification Process, Quantum Physics Principles and Communication in the Acute Healthcare Setting, Developing Nurse Magicians: A Model and Tool for Reclaiming Spirituality in Healthcare, Culture: The Path to Partnership, Hypnotic Strategies for Pain Management, Combat-related Post-traumatic Stress in the 21st Century, Holistic Nursing and the Endocannabinoid Connection, Stress Busters for Personal Holistic Self Development, Understanding the Complexity of People Living with Substance Abuse Disorders, and Nursing: Human by Birth Hero by Choice. Is your head spinning yet? Or is your heart jumping for joy like mine?
It was an amazing experience to be surrounded by such intelligent and passionate nurses who are currently changing and challenging current health care practice. Did you know there are pilot studies happening with the use of essential oils in the hospital with protocols and everything? Hospitals are implementing “Code Lavender” for health care workers to prevent or intervene in burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary traumatic stress. Healthcare staff have the capability to initiate the “code lavender” if they are feeling at the end of their emotional rope both personally and professionally. The holistic team then comes in to provide a range of holistic techniques such as Reiki, Healing Touch, Meditation, Guided Imagery, Journaling, Coaching and so on.
They were not kidding around when they picked the title for this conference: 21st Century Holistic Nursing: Reshaping Health and Wellness. Could you imagine going into the hospital as a patient and being cared for by nurses that were less fatigued and more emotionally present? Where you have the option of holistic therapies such as aromatherapy or healing touch to help you relax instead of taking addictive sedatives? It is well known that stress on the body decreases the ability to heal, therefore relaxation techniques implemented in the hospital have the potential for increased healing times, decreased hospital stays, decreased health care expenses and increased patient satisfaction.
I feel so incredibly blessed to be a part of an organization that is truly on the forefront of transforming of our health care system for the greatest good of all- patients, families, and staff. I learned that self-care is as important, if not more important, than caring for others. AHNA/CHNA has brought me back to my Light, Love, and heART of nursing – and for that I thank you.
If you are interested in learning more about holistic nursing or the CHNA/AHNA contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the links below.
What are your thoughts? Do you think holistic modalities incorporated into the healthcare system would be of benefit? Comment below!