Essential Tools for Whole Person Healthcare: Part 2 of 3

Essential Tools for Whole Person Healthcare: Part 2 of 3

by Marilyn Schlitz & Elizabeth ValentinaStrawberry_small


Welcome back for Part Two of three. In Part One we reviewed 1 – 4 of twelve basic tools that are important in practicing whole person healthcare, based on the tremendous insights of health care practitioners. These included: examine your worldview, take an integral perspective, develop healing relationships, and deep listening.

Tools: 5 – 8

5. Cultivate loving kindness. Many healing practitioners note that the greatest source of healing in the world is love.  Offering human to human, heart centered care is at the core of the healing relationship.  Delivering care with loving kindness may transform the health system.  Jean Watson, Professor of Nursing, reminds us that “caring in nursing is not just a job, but something to cherish”. Extending loving kindness to oneself is as important as offering it to those you care for.  Take a moment to define what loving kindness means to you and identify the ways you may nurture the tenderness and compassion of love in your daily routine.

6. Model optimal health.  Many experts have noted that nurses must come to work healthy in order to provide the best care for others.  Each one of us possesses an inner knowing of what we need to thrive and feel balanced, yet too often health care practitioners don’t tend to their own needs.  As Barbara Dossey, PhD, reminds us: “We want to be of service to health and healing, and this requires the integration of self care in our own lives.” [1]

7. Develop a support system. Whether in proximal or virtual settings, connecting with others offers a way of living into new patterns or behaviors.  Find or create social networks that support your explorations.  Working in teams, participating in peer-to peer programs, developing common rituals and symbols to share across the staff, joining a journaling club, or internet based study groups are but a few of many ways to connect, find support and shared interest toward whole person healing.

8. Create healing rituals. Habitats for Healing is a program developed by Janet Quinn, PhD. In it, she invites us to approach little things we do every day as opportunities for healing rituals.  As nurses and health practitioners, you frequently wash your hands; she suggests that while running the water with mindfulness, bless the person you have just cared for while silently saying “I release you” before caring for the next patient as one simple habit to initiate.  This provides a method for becoming more fully present to your next patient.

Check back next week for 9 – 12!

[1] To access tools for creating healthy lifestyle goals visit the University of Minnesota’s Taking Charge of Your Life website