Embodying Caritas: BWH Nurses Share Stories of Caring Science Practice
On Oct. 27 and 28, more than 200 health care providers and individuals gathered in Newton, Mass. for the 22nd International Caritas Consortium (ICC), sponsored by BWH and the Watson Caring Science Center (WCSC) at the University of Colorado, in partnership with the Watson Caring Science Institute (WCSI).
As one of just 11 national affiliates of the WCSI, founded by Jean Watson, PhD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, BWH is recognized for our commitment to infusing the principles of Caring Science and Caritas Processes into nursing practice across the Department of Nursing.
Forty-five BWH nurses and nurse leaders attended, sharing stories of Caring Science practice through plenary presentations, concurrent breakout sessions, poster presentations and informal networking.
Showcasing some of the work being done at BWH in a general session panel presentation was Joanne Hogan, DNP, RN, associate chief nurse for Care Coordination and Ambulatory Nursing, who shared the results of her DNP study which examined caring behaviors of registered nurse care coordinators (RNCC). Hogan found that all 10 of the Caritas Processes were present in RNCC practice, with “Practicing loving-kindness” being the most evident. Based on conversations with RNCCs, Hogan proposed an 11th Caritas Process: Creating intentional caring connections on behalf of personal well-being.
Patricia Reilly, MSN, RN, director of caring and healing modalities, and Teresa Buchanan, MBA, BSN, RN, nursing project manager, both HeartMath coaches, described how BWH is using HeartMath to help nurses improve their health and well-being so they can care more effectively. HeartMath is a resiliency program to help prepare for, deal with and recover from stress, challenges and adversity. Reilly emphasized the importance of being congruent with one’s work self and home self, and how these techniques help us achieve that balance.
Stephanie Ahmed, DNP, FNP-BC, director of Ambulatory Nursing, and Nicolas Peterson, MS, RN, nurse educator for Ambulatory and Primary Care, both Caritas Coaches, presented their Caritas Coach Education Program (CCEP) project which focused on diffusing Caring Science knowledge across ambulatory practices. Ahmed and Peterson created an electronic tool box to support dissemination of the core concepts and practices into nursing practice.
“[Caritas] sets the tone for our work,” said Peterson. “It sets the tone for our culture.”
Since spring 2014, BWH has been on a journey to attain Magnet® designation, which recognizes hospitals for quality of care, interprofessional collaboration and excellence in nursing practice. Like the Caritas Processes, the Magnet criteria extend beyond nursing, as the Magnet® Recognition Program is an institutional designation.
“Everyone is an extension of our healing, caring environment,” said Ahmed.