I have been a registered nurse since 2002 and a nurse practitioner since 2008. Try as I may to stay up to date with rapidly changing medical technology, and advances in pharmacy and modern surgical techniques, there are many things that I do not know. There are resources that I refer to, of course, articles that I read, conferences that I attend, but there is always some new drug, surgical method, or syndrome that we are analyzing genetically.
When I did clinical training in hospitals and medical practices for school I had a gamut of emotional experiences, ranging from terror from either having to give report to a cranky staff nurse (who “liked to eat her young”) or obtaining an order from an explosive MD who didn’t want to be addressed by a student nurse, or fumbling panic trying to nimbly perform venipuncture or catheterizations. My classmates and I wanted so badly to be knowledgeable and useful to the Dr’s, but as a student nurse in Detroit, there was plenty of opportunity to feel lower than a skid on a shoe. More often than not, my thoughtful clinical inquiries were greeted with responses that reflected frustration, burn out, indifference, powerlessness.
I do hold very dear other moments that revealed my talents in compassion, conversation, and human experience through simple patient contact, through assisting recovering patients in their activities of daily living (pretty much all you do as a student RN), and then upon graduating, when I became a labor and delivery nurse, the monumental experiences of helping a woman do her best to birth her baby (or babies).
Of course there are “standards of care” that clinicians hold dear, and evidence based practices that reveal therapeutic success or shortcoming to guide our practice decisions and care management, but I have found that it is the more subtle practices, deeds, even energies, that tend to be more therapeutic than many standard measures of medical practice.
I will never, ever forget the letter I got from a former patient from labor and delivery, an anxiously laboring woman thanking me for repeatedly reminding her to breathe. Aside from assisting her to keep moving, into the shower, onto the birthing ball, all the position changes, advising her sweet husband how to apply counter pressure to her aching low back… I keep reminding her to breathe. “Keep coming back to your breath”. I thought for sure at one point she was going to knock me out if I said it one more time… but then she had a baby. She sent me this with the card.
In my current practice, I continue to find this strong connection with my patients, and one of the things that make me proudest to be a nurse practitioner (vs. a doctor or PA, because you know I hear it all the time, “You’re so smart, will you go back and become a Dr?” or the straight shootin’ “Why didn’t you just become a Dr??”), is that I feel like I see a person when I talk to them, not the problem(s) that bring them to me. We do not deal with dis-ease or illness in a vacuum, it is all one. And I refuse to isolate a patient’s complaint into a box with a RX label on it. I just can’t do it.
Which brings me to Ayurveda. I began delving into Ayurveda when my yoga practice became more regular and serious, about 12 years ago. It is an ancient system of medicine originating from the civilizations of the Indus and Sarawati’s rivers, in approximately 3000BCE. The more deeply I study Ayurveda, the more it blooms into a romance. The practices involved look at not just the relationships of ourselves and our bodies, but of that and sustenance in food, the changing of the seasons, our unique body and personality type, our loved ones, our land, our home, even the stars.
Sitting on the couch one evening with my husband, I was telling him of something I was researching recently in Ayurveda practices for women’s health, and it hit me. The love I have for Ayurveda stems from the sensuousness of the system. Literally, the senses. It’s in the delicious and nourishing foods we cook and enjoy, in what we set our gaze upon and surround ourselves with, the perfume of oils and spices we inhale, the sound of our breath through pranayama, or music in relaxation, and the deeply relaxing and detoxifying touch of self massage. What could be more sustaining, more healing, than that?
I can’t think of anything better.
I’d love to talk with you about my discoveries in deepening relationship with the evolution of wellness in our burgeoning, busy lives. Click to schedule a 30 minute Clarity Call with me. I love talking to people who are interested in learning more about Ayurveda, holistic women’s health and yoga.
With love and gratitude,
Determine your Ayurvedic body type/ constitution here: