Why See a Nurse?
"For the 17th year in a row, Registered Nurses top the list of the most honest and ethical professions according to the latest Gallup poll. More than four out of five Americans, 84% specifically, rated the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “high” or “very high”. There were 19 other professions included in the poll that took place December 3-12, including firefighters, high school teachers, bankers, police officers, lawyers, clergy, and medical doctors." Nurses rank most honest profession 17 years in a row 1-14-2019
The foundations and guiding principles of nursing are completely different than that of any other health related profession. Only Nursing has caring and healing as it's mission. Most every other health profession has the conventional medical model of diagnosis and cure of disease as it's foundation. There are very distinct differences between the nursing and medical models and these differences are reflected in the interactions and caring you will recieve from a nurse compared to any other profession. The differences and special attributes of nurses are summarised below...
Nursing is Based on the Feminine Principles of Healing, Caring, and Relationship
Conventional Medicine is based on the Masculine Principles of Diagnosis and Cure of Disease
Healing is Different than Curing
For centuries nurses have largely kept the spirit of caring and healing alive in Western cultures, whereas medical science has sought a physical answer for every question. Diagnosis and cure of disease is the foundation and focus of modern health care, yet curing and healing are very different.
Curing is almost always focused on the person as a physical entity, a body. When signs and symptoms of disease are eliminated, a person is considered cured. However, this curing may not mean the end of the person's distress. Healing is multidimensional - it can occur at the physical level, but it can also occur within the mind, emotions, feelings, spirit and soul. Healing might occur with the assistance of a therapeutic intervention, but never because of it - it arises from within the whole of the person, and at least a part of the healing process will always be an unfolding mystery.
Curing may or may not be possible but healing is always possible.
Healing doesn't originate from an isolated part of a person (meaning it doesn't just come from the mind or the body or the immune system), but rather healing emerges from within the totality, the whole, of the unique body-mind-spirit-soul of each person.
Healing can occur without curing. Curing usually follows a predictable course. Healing, however, is always creative and unpredictable in both process and outcome. Because healing doesn't follow a predictable path the best way to know if it is occurring is through the inner knowing of both the person experiencing the healing and their nurse . Conventional medicine refers to this inner knowing as 'subjective experience', and it is not considered factual or evidence based and therefore is often dismissed or minimized. Because nursing focuses on healing and not curing, the person's perceptions and experience are a primary focus.
The Feminine and Masculine Principles in Healing and Curing
Conventional medicine is characterized almost exclusively by attributes ascribed to the masculine principle and usually carried out by men. This is because men have been the primary creators of the system and continue to be the dominant culture of the system. While these attributes have been very useful in the treatment of acute injury and disease, without the attributes ascribed to the feminine principle it provides an incomplete foundation for a true, integrative healing and health care system.
A simple analogy is that the masculine principle sees the goal as "getting the job done", meaning curing the disease or disorder. Whereas the feminine principle focuses on "holding sacred space" in order to facilitate healing of the whole body, mind, spirit.
Caring and Relationship
Nursing was founded on the importance of caring for all aspects of a person...body, mind, spirit and environment. This includes your thoughts, feelings, meaning-making or sense of meaning, spirituality, family, friends, home, lifestyle, comfort, and personal sovereignty (respect for your opinions and decisions). Conventional medicine holds the position of paternalistic benevolence, meaning the underlying belief is essentially "I know better than you, you just listen to me...". Because of nursing's caring focus, the position is of advocacy and support for a person's right of self-determination, meaning your right to be told all pertinent information so that you can make your own decisions, and your decisions will be honored.
Nursing is Relationship Based Caring
In order for authentic caring to occur there must be a connection, a relationship, between the two people. It is widely understood that relationships and interactions among people is the primary foundation for all therapeutic and healing activities. How people treat, interact, and care for each other has a profound impact on healing, wholeness and well-being. A prominent belief in nursing, based on transpersonal caring theory (Watson, 1996), is that the foremost role of a nurse is to establish an authentic, caring relationship with the person they're working with (client). The nurse must interact with the client in a meaningful relationship and when this is established it creates the opportunity for unique 'caring moments' in which the nurse and client experience a truly transformational encounter, leaving both the nurse and the client changed (see the description of transpersonal caring at the bottom of this page).
As a profession, nursing has never focused solely on the physical body or the disease entity. Nursing has always taken into account the holistic nature of a person and the person's experience of the condition or situation. One specialty are of nursing, Holistic nursing is especially interested in the person's experience. Holistic nurses, in addition to viewing people holistically, also practice holistically. Holistic nursing practice is defined as nursing practice that draws on knowledge, theories, expertise, intuition, and creativity. Holistic nursing advocates and emphasizes the holistic perspective of caring, and emphasizes wholeness and well-being in relationship to healing..
Wholeness is harmony of body, mind, and spirit and taking into consideration all which impacts this harmony. We recognize that wholeness involves more than the intactness of physical structure and function, or the status of isolated parts of a person (such as just thoughts or just emotions, or just a physical problem, etc.). Holistic nurses help people achieve healing and well-being through relationship-centered care using the holistic nursing process. (Dossey, Keegan, 2005)
As a holistic nurse I will do my best to help you on your path to wholeness, healing and well-being. If I don't have an answer or I can't help you, I will tell you and try to find someone who might be better able to help.
As a sister traveler along the journey of life, my perspective on the relationship we create is best expressed through the words of Rabbi Rami Shapiro...
"To your questions, I offer some answers - not to close a conversation, but to broaden one. I do not claim to know anything you don't know, but if I can help you remember what you already know, I am blessed..."
Transpersonal Caring Description:
A transpersonal relation is influenced by the caring consciousness and intentionality of the nurse as she or he enters into the life space or phenomenal field of another person, and is able to detect the other person’s condition of being (at the soul, spirit level). It implies a focus on the uniqueness of self and other and the uniqueness of the moment, wherein the coming together is mutual and reciprocal, each fully embodied in the moment, while paradoxically capable of transcending the moment, open to new possibilities.
Transpersonal caring calls for an authenticity of being and becoming, an ability to be present to self and other in a reflective frame; the transpersonal nurse has the ability to center consciousness and intentionality on caring, healing, and wholeness, rather than on disease, illness and pathology. - Jean Watson, 1996
Dossey, B., & Keegan, L. (2005). Holistic Nursing: A Handbook for Practice: A Handbook for Practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Jean Watson, Transpersonal Caring Defined, Blueprint 1996, http://watsoncaringscience.org/about-us/caring-science-definitions-processes-theory/#