Margaret Costello, PhD, RN, clinical nurse in Hematology/Oncology, shares her experience of becoming a Caritas Coach. She will be certified later this month.
What inspired you to enroll in the Caritas Coach Education Program (CCEP) to become a Caritas Coach?
Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring/Caring Science has always inspired my nursing practice. Enrolling in the CCEP has provided me with the opportunity to do a deep dive into the theory and the caring practices.
How has the CCEP changed your nursing practice?
I have become more aware of the relationship between self-care and the ability to sustain caring relationships at all times. Those in helping professions such as nursing are constantly giving of themselves at the expense of their own health. Many of us have decreased time for sleep, healthy meals and exercise, for example. I have learned through CCEP that the love and care we extend to our patients must begin with ourselves and can only happen if we are truly able to bring our best selves to our practice each day. Even small activities, such as taking a moment to pause, breathe and center, require only a minute or less and will help you recharge and be more in the moment with each interaction.
How do you practice the first Caritas process?
By becoming more self-aware and routinely practicing loving-kindness to ourselves first, we will begin to align from the inside out. In other words, how we are feeling, thinking and doing on the inside will be in line with our actions.
It is difficult to sustain loving-caring practices when we are absolutely depleted within ourselves. Therefore, it is important for us to pay attention to our feelings and physical sensations and then take steps to change as needed. This includes practicing self-care activities such as eating well, meditating, yoga, walking and being in nature.
Do you have a favorite Jean Watson quote? Why is it meaningful to you?
“Caring is the essence of nursing.” Nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the United States and I feel that one of the reasons for this is that caring is at the heart of our practice.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience of becoming a Caritas Coach?
I have been honored to be a part of the CCEP for the past six months. During my time in the program, I have met so many wonderful people from around the country who have joined me on this aesthetic, personal, ethical and intellectual journey. Through my Caritas Coach education, I have learned the benefit that caring for the self has on the relationship with patients. Healing from within to bring my best self in caring for my patients has been the most important aspect I have learned in my Caritas education.