This is a story about nursing and about Healing Touch. Healing Touch is an energy therapy in which practitioners consciously use their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to support and facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Janet Mentgen, RN, BSN formally created Healing Touch in 1989. The goal of Healing Touch is to restore balance and harmony in the energy system placing the client in a position to self heal. Healing Touch emphasizes compassionate, heart-centered care in which the provider and client are equal partners in facilitating wholeness.
At the end of March 2010 I was notified that I had been selected by the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing Board of Advisors to receive one of six Florence Nightingale awards to be given at a banquet in April. Over 200 nurses were nominated for the award. The six of us each received a beautiful bronze bust of a young Florence Nightingale and a check for $1000. We were also invited to speak briefly at the dinner before 700 attendees. Nurses can be nominated by colleagues, patients and anyone in the community. I felt so privileged to be chosen for this award during the International Year of the Nurse and the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Florence Nightingale.
The woman who introduced me that evening quoted from some of the nominating letters the committee had received. One letter told the story of Jim, a regular in the soup kitchen where I work as a parish nurse. Jim came up to me one morning and asked me to look at his head. He and I had met often as I moved through the table area offering people an angel card or word for the day but he was a man of few words.
He had never even asked me to take his blood pressure. For him to ask me to do something for him was a big deal. He removed his knit hat to reveal a large burn on his scalp. Some kids had thrown a firecracker into his hat causing a severe burn, which was now clearly infected.