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2016 Linfield Magazine Winter

“It’s fascinating to me that when I work with students, I have to create a picture in their heads or create a visual image about a specific condition or disease. I can’t just tell them, so I cartoon it. This is not art. I’m drawing for language.” – Joanna Rowe Professor of Nursing Winter 2016 l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e - 1 5 Lessons to learn One of the key lessons nurses must learn is to be what Rowe calls “bilingual.” “As a nurse, you can be very smart and know all the anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, but if you don’t have the ability to communicate with a patient in a way that makes them feel safe, you will never be successful,” she said. Students also must understand they are not responsible for the choices their patients make. They are responsible for providing and communicating information so the patient can make choices that match their life, values and beliefs. “Nursing is not about doing, it is a service profession,” she said. “Our job is to bring everything to meet the needs of the patient so they can make choices. We offer options. That is the quintessential nurse. Students come into nursing because they want to help people and make them better. I tell them that you help people by making them safe, but you don’t give advice, you give options.” It is also critical that students stay curious and always ask the question “why,” she said. “If you are not curious you may not figure out the answer,” she added. “If you are curious you don’t get in a rut or jump to conclusions.” Spiritual perspective While Rowe teaches the science of nursing and medicine, she also teaches from a spiritual and humanistic perspective. An important part of what students must learn, Rowe said, is to leave negative energy behind. “You need to be totally present and available for your client,” she said. “That’s what allows you to practice from the heart, which is what nursing is all about – it’s the art and the science together. “I really believe that we bring an energy force with us into a room,” she said. “It’s important that I stop outside that patient’s room and make sure that I leave my negative energy behind. That’s practicing from the spiritual perspective – not religious, but spiritual.” Although once a skeptic, Rowe became aware that there is more at play in the healing process than just art and science. Her natural curiosity made her question why some patients died, while those who should not survived. She began exploring energy fields and energy works and how that can affect a patient’s wellbeing. She has also studied the ancient healing arts of shamanism and reiki. The teachings of shamanism focus on a connection of heart energy that promotes the well-being of all creation. Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the healer who is attuned to energy fields channels energy into a person so that person’s body directs the energy where healing is needed. “The whole idea of what shaman means is that you are working from the heart,” Rowe said. “You can open yourself up to possibilities, and bring yourself into the present to understand the messages of the world or universe. “I teach the hard science, but I also teach the art and the spirituality of nursing,” she added. “I cannot question that there are spirits and energy and miracles and angels. That is a really important part of how I choose to practice. I believe it makes me more present to the students, patients and the world. And I share that with my students.” Rowe earned a master’s degree in pediatric nursing, and specialized in pediatrics and trauma nursing, working as a trauma nurse in emergency departments, neonatal and adult trauma intensive care, as well as in a liver transplant unit working with both adults and children. When she completed her Ph.D. early in her career, she chose to focus on human communication, instead of nursing. “The key to nursing is the ability to talk to people, to guide them through options,” she said. “One of the major ways to remove obstacles is by educating and communicating so (the patient) can make decisions.” – Mardi Mileham Rowe File BSN: nursing, Indiana University MSN: pediatric nursing, Indiana University Ph.D.: human communication, University of Denver • Lead Co-editor Family Health Care Nursing: Theory, Practice and Research (5th edition), selected by the American Journal of Nursing as first place Book of the Year in 2015. • Recipient of the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program alumni award for creating the family case study in the chronic illness chapter, which discusses how to work with families living with Parkinson’s disease. • Research interests/academic interests: Neuroscience learning theory, Simulation in nursing education, Family health care nursing • Prior teaching experience: University of Portland


2016 Linfield Magazine Winter
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