How We Have Failed and What We Can Do About It

There’s a good reason Eastern philosophies of mind, body, spirit integration have made their way into our western thinking. They round out our stern western Judeo-Christian teachings and culture. Eastern teachings not only focus on high values, but they also introduce how to achieve them. Eastern practices cultivate personal life skills:  forgiveness, gratitude, surrender and overcoming fear and pride, going beyond our ego-selves, and more.


Being American and growing up Catholic, I have spent my adult years undoing several engrained mindsets and learning new healthy life skills through education, therapy and years of self-improvement using mindbodyspirit integration practices.

What I know now is that all nurses require personal life skills to have in their cache of tools for Caring.

Nursing has failed to acknowledge and address nurses’ unique need

for ongoing development of personal life skills.

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These essential personal life skills serve all who seek to be healthier or more effective in life and work. Good values and principles were taught to us in schools and churches that became platitudes that we were to apply without question or thought. But now we know that to authentically live these principles, it requires ongoing personal skill development.

These life skills grow from self-knowing which are cultivated from personal knowledge. Self-knowing is the basis for one’s sense of self; and a healthy sense of self leads to healthy relationships and a deepened sense of humanity. These are universal skills that lead to healthy communities, nations and beyond.

So how is it that the nursing profession has left these essential  personal life skills out of our disciplinary culture? My guess is that we don’t know how to corral this tiger. Where do we begin? And who’s responsible for developing these skills?

In the vacuum, it’s been left up to each individual nurse.  And it’s true that these personal life skills are just that – they are personal. They …

  • Originate within each nurse
  • Are nurtured by each nurse’s internal resources
  • Can only be sustained by each nurse


And because of this, we as a discipline and profession are dependent on each nurse.

We can begin by acknowledging the need and beginning the dialogue, nationally and locally. By opening this door, we can learn, grow and get in step with where our society is going.

New Age thinking emerged in the 1970s and was a mix of religious and spiritual beliefs and practices that developed in western nations from the mainstream to the extreme.

Since then Eastern wisdom has taken hold in western societies as their principles have been validated by the new sciences – quantum physics, complexity science, etc. Evidence of mind body integration is now accepted throughout the medical and scientific communities.

The mindbodyspirit integration practices have gained voice as we strive to improve our health and to find deeper meaning in our lives. These have become a dominant foundation for healthy life skills and are widely available to all.

These personal life skills are beyond our current image of self-care. I am speaking of …


an intentional, life-long practice of self-knowing that involves self-awareness and self-growth as a comprehensive practice of self-care

Of course, the ultimate goals for essential life skill development are always …

Life Harmony and Balance

For Saving Nurses, the goal for these life skills is for each nurse to start anew their self- knowing through practices of self-awareness, mindfulness, emotional hygiene, new mindsets and self-care.

The outcome will be the beginnings of a refreshed sense of self for each nurse.  This will open the doors for ongoing self-growth that will generate greater inner health and more authentic caring. 


Watson J. Nursing – The Philosophy and Science of Caring, Revised Edition. Boulder: University Press of Colorado; 2008.
Chopra D. Perfect Health: The Complete Mind Body Guide. Revised and Updated. New York: Three Rivers Press; 2000

2 thoughts on “How We Have Failed and What We Can Do About It

  1. pcrowe says:

    Very well said, pmc!

    1. pmcclendon says:

      Good… Good … Good..

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