Nature, Nursing and RBC (by Kathrynn Thompson)

I had the opportunity recently to visit Yellowstone National park.  I was unprepared for the majesty of all that I saw and experienced. I witnessed a herd of bison (mothers and calves) crossing a river and could hear their vocalizations.  The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was magnificent and awe- inspiring.  The experience of wading into the Boiling River with ice cold water from the river and water from a hot springs literally boiling as it entered the river was incredible.  Then sitting in the river at a place where the cold water and the boiling water mixed to a lovely warm temperature was so relaxing: nature’s hot tub.  I believe the experience that affected me the most was watching Old Faithful erupt.  This geyser erupts about 17 times a day, about every 60-110 minutes and eruptions can be predicted with about 90% accuracy. I felt such reverence as I witnessed the eruption and it reminded me that for some people nature is their higher power and for others nature brings them closer to their higher power.


So how does this relate to nursing? Let’s explore this from the RBC perspective.

  1. CARE OF PATIENT- In my last blog I talked about spirituality. Nature is often someone’s higher power. Seeing the majesty and power of nature reinforced that for me. I personally felt the majesty of nature brought me closer to my higher power.
  2. CARE OF SELF-Nature; being outside, experiencing nature; can be a self-care technique. Take a walk, look at the stars at night, sit on your back porch, walk in the rain or take a vacation to experience some of the natural wonders of the world and just feel your stress dissipate.
  3. CARE OF COLLEAGUE- When you notice that a co-worker is having a difficult day (especially you B.E.S.T trained nurses) encourage them to take a few minutes (while you cover their patients) and take a walk outside or sit on the balcony on the 14th Nature helps to put things into perspective and can certainly be a de-stressor.
  4. CARE OF COMMUNITY- Provision 9 of the ANA’s code of ethics states that our advocacy for social justice extends to eco-justice. Per our code, “nursing must advocate for policies, programs and practices within the healthcare environment that maintain, sustain and repair the natural world” (ANA code of Ethics, 2015). Allowing yourself to experience nature helps one to understand this provision and its importance.

I hope anyone who reads this blog will take time to take a walk outside, be mindful and use all your senses to experience nature and take a deep cleansing breath.