As we explore what it means to be an affiliate of the Watson Caring Science Institute, we are reminded of the synergies between the Caritas Processes and our care delivery system, relationship-based care.
A foundational value of both is providing loving kindness to self and others, including our patients, their families, our communities and our colleagues. However, we must always begin with self, if we are to ensure that we are fully present in the clinical setting to our patients and their journey through health and illness. The intentions and energy that we bring into this sacred space become the environment of care with the potential to be biogenerative, or life-giving, as opposed to biocidic, or life-depleting.
So how do we ensure that we bring only our highest and best selves to advance healing?
We are currently offering Heart Math, a practice of heart-centered breathing that leads to heart coherence and greater focus, to staff and leadership. Many nurses report using hand hygiene as a ritual to center themselves, releasing the experience of the prior patient so they can be fully present as they enter the next patient encounter. We have several Caritas rooms across the campus where staff can take a moment for reflection or receive weekly Reiki treatments from our wonderful Reiki volunteers.
Finally, and this is by no means an exhaustive list, there is the practice of setting a healing intention, either individually or collectively with the team. This practice has been adopted by the leadership team to begin each meeting and by nurses in several practice settings to begin their day or shift. So the practice of loving kindness for self ensures that we bring our best to those we are called to serve as leaders and clinicians.
One of our wonderful nurse directors, Massiel Ortiz, recently put out to her leadership colleagues a 21-day Caritas Challenge. I would encourage you to follow her lead and put out a similar challenge to your peers. Thank you, Massiel.
Let me share one of the caring intentions Massiel sent us:
“No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action throws out roots in all directions and makes new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” – Amelia Earhart
Continue to be leaders in this work, continue to be examples and continue be kind to yourself and others.
Thank you for all that you do. And remember to save May 5 for our annual Nurse Recognition dinner, an opportunity to enjoy a wonderful evening honoring your work.
Jackie Somerville, PhD, RN, FAAN
Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services