4 Nurses Who Excel at Balancing Mind, Body & Spirit


Healthy NurseHow four outstanding nurses are living the Nurses Week 2017 theme

By Debra Wood, RN, contributor

Across the country, nurses are making a difference and living the Nurses Week 2017 theme: “Nursing: The balance of mind, body and spirit.” The theme extols a holistic nursing philosophy of caring for patients, and becoming a healthy nurse. 

NursingJobs.com recently spoke to four outstanding nurses who are doing their part to uphold this philosophy throughout the year.

Adding yoga to holistic nursing care

“I think it’s a fantastic [theme],” said Jennifer O’Neal, CPNP, MSN, RNFA, at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles. She explained that nursing is not just about physical care, but involves focusing on the entire person—something she learned from her mother, who was a nurse for 35 years.  

O’Neal combines her knowledge as a yoga instructor with her nursing job. She shares the yoga postures, breathing methods, and visualization and different ways to think about things with her patients. The exercises can help prevent or treat injuries with patients during rehab, or help those taking part in programs to get in shape prior to surgery. 

“When you focus on the injury or disease state, you miss an opportunity to help that person recover or prevent that injury in the future,” O’Neal said. 

Mind, body and spirit is the hallmark of holistic nursing philosophies. It brings together all the major components of health.

Giving back to the Vietnamese community

Vi Ho, PhD, FNP-BC, GNP, a faculty member at Texas Woman's University in Houston, came to the United States in one of the first flights out of a war-torn Saigon in the 1970s, speaking little English. She graduated from nursing school, worked as a pediatric nurse, and eventually earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees. 

She spends most of her weekends practicing in a free clinic in the Vietnamese community with her students, which reminds her of the struggles she once faced.

“I see how they are trying to get the pieces of their lives together and begin a new life in a new country; [it] touches my heart,” Ho said.

She agrees that concentrating on the mind, body and spirit is an important nursing philosophy, and explained how worries and depression can affect the body. 

“Nurses not only take care of patient’s physical condition and illnesses, we treat them holistically, [including] the mind and spirituality,” Ho said. “I love working in the clinic.”

Making critical connections with knowledge, expertise & caring

Ruth Salathe, RN, CCRN, SCRN, an associate nurse manager in the neuroscience ICU at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, and a member of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), said she “loves helping people, and nursing is the perfect profession for that.” After spending weeks in the hospital as a child, she knew what career she wanted early in life. 

She remembers one patient whose nurses and family never gave up on him after a traumatic auto accident. More than a year later, he returned to the hospital—on two prosthetic legs—to thank Salathe and fellow nurses for their care.

She thrives on that sort of feedback from patients.  

“Thanks to him, we do not give up,” Salathe said. “I think what we, as nurses, bring to the bedside is the knowledge, the expertise, and the caring part. I think all three are needed to have good outcomes.” 

Salathe said that one way she cares for herself and her patients is by attending AACN’s annual conferences and other meetings to network with fellow nurses. It helps her to destress, recharge and gain new ideas.

Taking nursing care & services to the streets

Amanda Buccina, RN, BSN, provides on-the-ground care to the homeless population in Sacramento, California, through Sutter Health’s “street nurse” program. Since its inception in 2016, hundreds of homeless people have received medical treatment and connections to other social services. 

“In my day-to-day role providing care to these individuals, I see emotions across the spectrum, from fear to gratitude,” Buccina said. “Being able to provide emotional support to these individuals, when and where they need it, is an incredibly impactful part of my job.”

“I’m grateful for this position, and being able to do this work. I believe that all people of all walks of life are entitled to balance, and my contributions through this program provide me, personally, with a sense of balance and purpose in my career,” she said.

During National Nurses Week 2017, nurses are encouraged to give thought to how they are balancing mind, body and spirit—not only with patients they care for, but also in their own lives. Those three components lead to being a healthy nurse.

FIND YOUR BALANCE with the right nursing job in your choice of locations—you’ll find more than 11,000 to choose from with NursingJobs.com! 


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