The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world, yet in terms of morbidity and mortality rates, we rank 39th in the world. Among the facts contributing to this miserable statistic — thousands of people die each year due to potentially preventable in-hospital errors, and infections such as MRSA (a virulent type of staph infection) are rampant in hospitals.
I have been a registered nurse for 34 years, caring for health on medical floors; in the emergency room; in pediatrics; substance abuse; and psychiatry. Unfortunately, the above statistics are never far from my mind.
From the outset, I was responsible for patients suffering from a variety of illnesses at the same time. I began to ask myself, “What could this person have done in order to have prevented the disease from progressing to this point?”
I didn’t have to look far for the answer — I was confronted with the evidence on a daily basis. Patients who looked positively at life tended to get healthy more quickly than did patients who seemed depressed or unmotivated. I saw a clear relationship between mind and body, mind and health.
I began to research the connection between emotional, spiritual, and physical health. My studies opened up a new universe of thought outside of the world of allopathic medicine. The result — I fairly flew to get the education I felt I needed in the areas of holistic and energy medicine.
My new set of skills, however, left me facing a drastic dichotomy — I was now better able than ever to care for my patients, but within a system at odds with the very core of my expanded approach.
There was a point in which I thought about leaving the traditional hospital setting, where I had spent most of my professional life, but a gentle voice from within spoke to me and said, ‘Look around, look and see all the suffering right here in your own backyard. Start right here,’ so I did.
While the hospital experience can be overwhelming and frustrating, I continue to resist the urge to leave, quietly, yet persistently stretching the boundaries of protocol and introducing more holistic/alternative health care wherever, and whenever, I can.
With my attitude and practice focused on prevention, I have watched (and continue to watch) our government throw money at a wretched and broken system in which prevention has little or no place and the actual cause of illness is rarely addressed.
Health care professionals are quite literally ‘ill named’ – they are not caring for health, but more often for symptoms, disease, illness and death And, more often than not, this is not their fault. I share my profession with many dedicated individuals trapped within a system where they just can’t win.
“Those who think they have no time for healthy habits will sooner or later have to find time for illness,” ~ Edward Stanley 1823-1893 Unfortunately, within the confines of our present system, many patients still have little choice.