Patricia Reilly, MSN, RN, Program Director and Teresa Buchanan, BSN, MBA, RN, Project Manager, Caring and Healing Modalities

From left to right: Teresa Buchanan, BSN, MBA, RN, Carol Vafides, acupuncturist, and Patricia Reilly, MSN, RN, at their poster presentation at the International Integrative Nursing Conference in Iceland in May

From left to right: Teresa Buchanan, BSN, MBA, RN, Carol Vafides, acupuncturist, and Patricia Reilly, MSN, RN, at their poster presentation at the International Integrative Nursing Conference in Iceland in May

The Department of Nursing’s Caring and Healing Modalities Program is continuously evolving. New ways are being discovered for patients, families and staff to grow as spiritual beings, heal and more effectively manage their own stressors, fears, anxieties and physical symptoms. A major goal of the program is developing and presenting educational offerings in which a variety of self-care strategies that meet the varying needs and styles of our diverse BWH community are taught.

One of the newer educational offerings is Acupressure Level 1 & 2. Acupressure is a technique arising from traditional Chinese medicine, where pressure is applied to points along the body’s energy pathways (meridians) through which life-energy (qi) flows. Ancient practitioners discovered that optimal health is dependent upon the free flow of this energy within the body.

Acupressure is one technique that utilizes specific points along the meridians to release energy blockages and promote well-being. The classes include instruction on Chinese medicine, use of acupressure points for specific symptom management, techniques for teaching acupressure to patients, and how to document these sessions.

The acupressure level 1 course focuses on management of stress, anxiety, sleeplessness and GI symptoms, and is a pre-requisite for level 2 course, which focuses on pain management. These classes are taught by Carol Vafides, a licensed acupuncturist.

New patient education videos to promote relaxation, lessen anxiety and foster healing are now available on the BWH patient television channels. Over the next year, new videos will be added to provide adjunct support for management of various symptoms, such as nausea and sleeplessness through accupressure. BWH harpist Nancy Kleiman’s harp video will also become available as a “loop” and can continuously play for any patient wishing to fall asleep or rest to the comforting sound of the harp.

Additionally, a new educational offering on building resilience that utilizes HeartMath techniques is being piloted on Tower 10CD, Tower 14AB and Shapiro 8. Resilience, as defined by HeartMath, is “the capacity to prepare for, recover from and adapt in the face of stress, challenge or adversity.” This offering’s goals include increasing personal resilience and energy levels, developing the ability to think and communicate clearly and effectively even under pressure, and diminishing the physical symptoms of personal and professional stress. If you are interested in your unit participating in this program, please contact Pat Reilly at pmreilly@partners.org or Teresa Buchanan at tbuchanan@partners.org.

Registration for all classes can be done through the Center for Nursing Excellence page at www.brighamandwomens.org/Medical_Professionals/nursing/nursinged/Courses/CourseCalendar.aspx