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May 2020 HBB President Update

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 May 2020 President Monthly Ezine

As I put words onto the page today, it is Mother's Day. It also is the middle of Nurses Week. These two events meld profoundly in my mind.
 
I've written before about my mother's death. I was by her side, holding her hand when she went into cardiac arrest after offering her Chakra Spread. In the midst of all the chaos that followed, there was one constant.
 
It was a nurse who literally held me up, bracing me from collapse in the corridor as the crash team worked to revive my mother. It was a nurse who helped me to call my family, frantically imploring them to rush to the hospital. It was a nurse who checked on us every hour on the hour in the ICU waiting room. It was a nurse who comforted us, who hugged us, who helped us to honor my mother in final moments and navigate our way following her death.
 
And it was a nurse who did those same things the following year when each of my mother's parents died and whenever my family has lost someone we love.
 
I have been privileged to spend my academic career in the collaborative camaraderie of nurses. I have witnessed not only what they do in emergent health care situations, but also the ways in which they steer their novices into becoming what remains the most trusted of professions. I have learned a great deal from these nurse colleagues.
 
It was a nurse who founded the Center for the Study of Complementary Therapies at the University of Virginia and sustained that Center for 20 years. It was a nurse, that same founding director, who saw in me the ability to become a successful health sciences researcher, offering me a postdoctoral research fellowship and guiding me as a mentor to this day.
 
It was a nurse who founded our organization and worked collaboratively to create our course of study and certification. It was a nurse who taught my Healing Touch classes. It was a nurse who mentored me to certification.
 
Nurses have served in every leadership position within our organization. Nurses hold many of these roles today. Nurses have guided our community through the fire during times of hardship and rejoiced with us in times of joy.
 
I am the first president of our organization without a nursing background. Many of our students, practitioners, and instructors are not nurses. But it diminishes me in no way to acknowledge the nursing lineage of our beloved therapy and organization. In fact, given the acts of heroism nurses have always done and continue to do, especially during the current pandemic, I am humbly grateful for and to be part of this lineage.
 
We've all seen the images. The nurses on the so-called frontlines, covered in personal protective equipment or the bruising imprints of wearing those masks for hours on end. Of the nurses comforting those with COVID19 and their families. Of the nurses comforting each other as they continue to provide compassionate care as we live through this moment in history. Given all that they do, are doing, and have done, the Board of Directors wanted to offer something to them.
 
A strength of our organization is the role our members have played in creating the research evidence base to support the practice of Healing Touch. Many of these studies have been led by or involved nurses and nursing scientists. As a small token of appreciation to all that nurses do, we've crafted a fact sheet from our Research Brief as a resource for nurses. Please feel free to distribute this fact sheet to the nurses in your life. Thank them for their kindness, their compassion, their resilience. Remind them that we are here for them.
 
I'm currently working on a position paper with colleagues from the Colleges of Nursing and Engineering, making the case for why nurses should be involved as a stakeholder in any effort to use technology in health care. During that conversation, one of my nursing colleagues said, "well, every patient has a nurse." And it's true. We may engage with health care professionals of all stripes and workers of all sorts in a hospital or health care setting. Indeed, it takes a village and the contributions of all are needed. But it diminishes none of those allied professionals to acknowledge and appreciate the nurses who stand by our sides.
 
The World Health Organization designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in acknowledgment of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. Nightingale rose to prominence during the Crimean War by establishing infection control practices and standards that saved lives. To get her point across effectively, she applied data visualization to the data she was collecting. While this may be one of first documented instances of innovative thinking and action by a nurse, nurses remain nimble in their holistic approach to the health care they provide. Healing Touch is just one of those examples.
 
I shall never forget the nurses who have quite literally held me up throughout my life. I am grateful for all of their work and for working with me, and us, to spread healing light and create wholeness on Earth.
 
Sincerely,
Joel G. Anderson, PhD, CHTP, FGSA
President, Healing Beyond Borders

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