Healing through Touch in the Acute Care Setting by Kimberly Grey RN, HTCP/I
Originally published in Energy Magazine: The official Publication of the Healing Touch Program June 2006 Issue. Healing through Touch in the Acute Care Setting by Kimberly Grey RN, HTCP/I (Credentials edited 2010)
We all have a story to tell. It is my hope that by briefly sharing the story of my journey with Healing Touch, you will be inspired to embrace and nurture your own story. I am very blessed that the true purpose for my life is to spread “Healing Light Worldwide”.
Professionally, my full-time position at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, is now as a Healing Touch Practitioner and educator, with the official title of Healing Touch Coordinator. My workdays are spent providing healing touch treatments to inpatients, in addition to educating patients and their family members, medical staff, non-clinical ancillary staff and community members regarding Healing Touch and it’s use in our daily personal and professional lives. An equal blessing is that I am gifted to be able to accomplish this in an acute care clinical setting, where I can educate and communicate with physicians and other healthcare providers, while remaining informed of current medical trends and practices. An article was published in “The Tampa Bay Metro” entitled “Quality Care, Tampa Bay’s Medical breakthroughs and Advancements.” It depicted many local healthcare facilities and their technological advancements and contributions to healthcare in the area. I am very happy to report the article included a full-page story about our Healing Touch program.
The initial question that people with an interest in a hospital-based Healing Touch program asks me is, “How in the world did you make that happen?” My initial immediate response is an echo of my prior responses to this repetitive question, “I didn’t make it happen, I held my vision for a program and allowed it to manifest when the universal timing was supportive.” In fact, I chuckle now when I review my Healing Touch certification packet and read my declaration, “I am very passionate about incorporating a Healing Touch program within St. Joseph’s Hospital”. That declaration was written in February of 2003, sixteen months prior to being offered a Healing Touch Pilot Program. I have realized the manifesting power behind my declaration. I didn’t declare, “IF would like to…” or “I hope to…”. I declared, “I am passionate about incorporating a Healing Touch Program within St. Joseph’s Hospital.” I acted as if the Healing Touch Program was already a reality. Ultimately, the success of our Healing Touch program is the result of a carefully laid foundation, nurtured with loving patience over time.
My journey with St. Joseph’s Hospital began in February of 2001 when I returned to Florida from my birth state of Indiana, for what I thought was going to be a brief sabbatical to learn Tai Chi from an Asian Tai Chi Master. My belief at that time was that I would be moving to the mountains of North Carolina to open a Healing Touch practice. After a short, less than satisfying stint with “agency” nursing to sustain myself financially, I accepted a position at St.Joseph’s Hospital on a busy neurology unit. I had never envisioned myself working in Neurology as a specialty, and I surprised myself by choosing to do so. It is my belief that sometimes our choices are for a higher purpose than we can yet embrace. I quickly realized that I chose this area to be my “playground” for doing the Healing Touch work in an institutional setting. The fact that I was also working with a Nurse Manager who was open to my exploration of Healing Touch was also greatly supportive. Once on the unit, I started doing Healing Touch on my patients. The other nurses started noticing the positive effect the Healing Touch interventions were having with my patients and started approaching me to work on their patients. I also became aware that occasionally physicians would be on the unit with various physical complaints. My co-workers would say to them, “Oh, you need Kimberly to do some Healing Touch work on you.” Initially they would respond, “Nah, that’s okay!” Eventually they responded, “Well, what the heck, it won’t hurt anything.” As the outcomes to the physicians’ mini-treatments were always positive, I realized these were my divine opportunities to raise awareness and educate others about Healing Touch. By representing the work confidently, I started gaining medical staff support. After all, experiencing Healing Touch work is often the greatest educator of all. I represented Healing Touch in my daily nursing care for three years at St. Joe’s. I spoke with physicians and coworkers at every wise opportunity.
Offers to do Healing Touch sessions for staff during National Nurses Week every year were always well received. This led to increased interest by staff members to attend Healing Ultimately, the success of our HT program is the result of a carefully laid foundation, nurtured with loving patience over time. Touch educational inservices. I also participated in community health fairs at every opportunity.
My great opportunity for visibility came when our media department “pitched” the Healing Touch work I was doing with my patients to the local media. In June of 2004 ABC news wanted to do a feature story. I approached our senior management with glee in my voice, “Okay, what do you want me to tell the media?” Two days prior to their arrival for filming, and during National Nurse’s Week, I was informed by senior management, “We have a surprise for you, we are going to pull you out of bedside care for three months so you can complete a Pilot Healing Touch Program, then we will see what happens”. That was just the beginning of my wonderful journey. My position has evolved from a staff nurse providing bedside care to that of the Healing Touch Coordinator.
Healing Touch is now done on a referral basis from physicians, nurses, patients and/or family members. The data compiled from our Pilot Program revealed increased patient satisfaction, increased team member satisfaction and a decrease in hospital length of stay-days in some cases. The average pain score on a scale of zero to ten, in over 140 patients, decreased from an average of seven pre-Healing Touch treatments to two post-Healing Touch treatments.
In less than two years since our pilot program began over 900 patient treatments have been provided and over 200 participants have attended the weekend Healing Touch classes, 15 of whom are in their year mentorship for certification.
We are in the final stages of developing of our Volunteer Healing Touch Program. We have been blessed to be part of seven feature news stories, along with other local media coverage, through local radio, magazine and newspapers. We have held two successful annual celebrations for Healing Touch International Day as well. Our Healing Touch Policy and procedure is listed on the Baycare Intranet, and includes the Basic Healing Touch Sequence.
Recently a room manifested to be dedicated to Healing Touch treatments for our team members who work so hard to provide compassionate care to our patients. Everyone associated with the St.Joseph’s Healing Touch program recognizes the blessings we share in having such a program to assist our patient’s in their healing processes.
I share this with you to inspire you to embrace your vision for Healing Touch at your facility. My message to you in manifesting Healing Touch as a path and not just a technique you know and do, is for you to embody the qualities of confidence, trust and patience. It is essential for you to have confidence in your ability to effectively communicate about Healing Touch. You must trust in your powerful presence as a compassionate, heart-centered facilitator of healing, and also in the Healing Touch work itself. The only way for your Healing Touch vision to manifest is to allow it the time necessary to grow through patience and perseverance.
A beautiful Hawaiian healer, whom I was gifted to share time with recently, summarized the essence of my message to you so beautifully when she imparted her core belief about life. She shared, “Life is all about Right Place, Right Time and Right Being,” So, I encourage you to be your heart-centered, compassionate presence, do the Healing Touch work, and hang on for the ride!
Kimberly’s Bio Kimberly Garcia RN, CHTP/I is a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner/Instructor. She graduated from the University of Evansville School of Nursing in 1983. Her nursing background with both adult and pediatric patients includes ICU, Ortho/Neuro, Home Health, Acute Rehabilitation and Pain Management. Her duties have also included nursing management, education and marketing. Kimberly is currently the Healing Touch Coordinator at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida. Her role includes development, implementation and maintenance of the Healing Touch Program, including a Healing Touch educational program. Kimberly is a kind, compassionate, enthusiastic health care provider and educator whose presence is both healing and inspiring.