In today’s podcast episode I want to build upon what we’ve been discussing regarding the Trifecta of Trauma as we start moving into the arc of healing. 

We have the individual traumas that we have all endured, and we’re in various degrees of healing-ness with regards to those. And then we have the unavoidable trauma exposure that we experience at work, that is inherent with the profession of nursing.

We also have the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back as they say: the avoidable nurse trauma exposure.

This is often due to  healthcare system inadequacies, such as short staffing, under resourcing, lateral violence, insufficient resources, and a host of other factors that we’ll unpack in a future episode. With clearly defining healthcare system inadequacies as a big part of the problem that is facing our global nursing community, it’s important to bring forth what we’re doing in terms of bringing healing opportunities for nurses who are suffering.

I want to introduce you to an incredible guide and mentor of mine, whose work has richly contributed to my own and that you’re seeing throughout all of my offerings to our global nursing community. This is Dr. Janet Quinn, a nurse scholar, scientist, and healer who was among those who blazed the trail for whole-person, heart-centered care.  On my short list of nurse heroes and mentors, Janet Quinn is up there with our beloved Jean Watson.  I am beyond grateful for their mentorship.  Both of these nursing legends endorsed my book, which filled my healer’s heart and scholar’s soul with so much love.

I’m so grateful for their mentorship and support and for all that they and other nurse leaders have done to blaze the trail for caring science. Also Janet brought forth the whole concept of Haelan.  A concept into which I grounded my life’s work, book, and nonprofit organization.  Janet introduced  The Haelan Effect which means that when we place ourselves or those in our care in right relationship for healing in one or more dimension of bodymindessence (formerly known as the more limited term of body-mind-spirit), there is a shift or repatterning of energies that results in healing.  The Haelan Effect is what nurses do every day – we position those in our care in right relationship for healing, even when curing is not likely.

When we think about what is healing, we all know healing, but let’s define it. Let’s define healing in a way that makes sense for nurse safety. Let’s define healing in a way that makes sense for our professional wellbeing.

As Janet pointed out, the Old English word for “heal” is “hal”.

Similarly, “healing” in Old English is “haelan”, pronounced [ˈhæː.lɑn]

So, haelan is defined as the condition or state of being whole. Really it comes down to one of the core tenets of integrative nursing.  We, our patients, and every person on the planet, are whole human beings that are inseparable from and influenced by the contexts in which we live and work.  

And so if we take this really integrative, this really holistic approach to looking at things, we can see that healing and being a haelan nurse, there are people like you and like me who are coming together individually and collectively and are engaging with healing by reconnecting within ourselves, reconnecting with one another, learning how to be regulated and insulated in our nervous system so we aren’t steamrolled or decimated by the broken healthcare system.  From this whole, centered, and aligned inner space, we can really start to restore our healer’s heart.

Our healer’s heart is our why for nursing. It’s why we got into the profession in the first place. We cared deeply enough to be in service to our patients and to one another and to our communities, to groups and families. We cared enough to endure all that was required to even be qualified to apply for nursing school. And then we got through nursing school and then we passed our licensure exams.  Lastly and most importantly, we survived that critical first year of transitioning into practice.

These are massive contributions and commitments that we made to our profession. It’s devastating to learn and experience the inability to practice to the full scope of our license . . .when we get manipulated like a pawn on a corporate chess board . . . when we are denied the resources we need to provide evidence-based care . . . when we are insufficiently staffed . . . or when we feel like at the end of the day getting out to our car (or our mode of transportation) and kind of slumping over and feeling like, “I did the best I could in a crappy system” 😢. 

In other words, we show up and do our very best in a system that is not doing its best.

All of these are mortal wounds to our healer’s heart, our why for nursing. And so, being a haelan nurse is not only reconnecting within and with one another, not only becoming insulated and really proficient in navigating our inner landscape and the language of our nervous system and vagus nerve, but also restoring our healer’s heart.

And through that as individuals that ripples out in into groups and communities and global communities of nursing where we can really start to affect change not from the broken unhealed places and ways in which nurses are being forced to practice, not there, but empowering ourselves to do the healing within and insulate ourselves from what’s happening in the externals and then start working from that healed inner place to affect unit, organizational, and system changes.

With that in mind, let’s unpack why bodymindessence is a more inclusive term than body-mind-spirit.

Bodymindessence is an umbrella term that encapsulates the totality of a person’s unique and ever-changing lived experience in body (including the physical, etheric, astral, or other dimensions with which you identify), mind, emotions, spirit, relationships, community, traumas, embodied trauma adaptations, implicit memories, legacies of suffering, and the ancestral, generational, cultural, societal, gender, racial, ethnic, patriarchal, colonial abuses, and oppressions.

So thank you Drs. Janet Quinn and Jean Watson for your profound contributions to our profession. And indeed in my work, in my book and in my academies, we leverage The Haelan Effect by positioning ourselves and one another  – as nurses and as individuals – to be in right relationship for healing.

When we think of how leveraging The Haelan Effect can guide us through the current nursing crisis, we’re really doing the deep inner and outer work by positioning ourselves in one another in right relationship for healing in bodymindessence. It really sets the stage for what we’re going to be doing in the bigger picture, in a very holistic and integrative manner.

As individual and communities of nurses, we’re going to transcend this avoidable nurse-specific traumatization that is often misattributed to burnout. And we’ll really start looking at how we can position ourselves in one another and right relationships so we can heal together — as a global nursing community –in bodymindessence.  We can work from our healed scars to start leading the paradigm shift to Nursing 2.0, The Nurse Safety and Professional Wellbeing Edition.

Together we can do just that. 

Thank you for tuning in, and thank you for the important work that you are doing.  You matter.  Immensely.

Until next time, and from my healer’s heart to yours, namaste. 🤍📿


If you haven’t done so already, please accept my gift of a free book chapter from Nursing Our Healer’s Heart: A Recovery Guide for Nurse Trauma and Burnout.  

Just fill out the “Free Gift” form below and check your inbox.  I and your free book chapter will be there with a warm virtual hug!

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