Notes From Our Nursing Program Faculty

Holistic Nursing: Every Nurse's Specialty

By: Pacific College
Published: May 7, 2020

Dr. Carla Mariano, EDD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAIM
Dr. Mariano had been hard at work with her research and writing efforts.

  • Mariano, C. (In Press). Holistic nursing: Scope and standards of practice. In M. Helming, K. Avino, D. Shields, & W. Rosa, (Eds). Holistic nursing: A handbook for practice (8th ed.). Burlington, MA; Jones and Bartlett.
  • Thornton, L. & Mariano, C. (In Press). Evolving from therapeutic to holistic communication. In M. Helming, K. Avino, D. Shields, & W. Rosa, (Eds). Holistic nursing: A handbook for practice (8th ed.). Burlington, MA; Jones and Bartlett.
  • Hart, J. (2019). The expanding field of holistic nursing – A growing trend. Interview with Carla Mariano. Alternative and Complementary Therapies. February, 2019, 25 (1), 53-55.
  • Mariano, C. (2019). The case for interdisciplinary collaboration. Oriental Medicine. Spring, 2019, 1,4,7.
  • Mariano, C. (2019). Holistic integrative therapies in palliative care. In M. Matzo & D. Sherman (Eds), Palliative care nursing: Quality care to the end of life (5th ed.). NY: Springer Publishing Co.

Dr. Mariano has also been leading weekly meditations for Pacific College students, faculty, and staff during the COVID 19 crisis. Meditation has created a space for people to gather, heal, and be present as a community.

Sondra A. Rivera, RN, MSN-Ed

A Nurse, Just Behind the Frontline…

I am a nurse. A professional registered nurse. I do not always practice at the bedside, I do not always have patients or clients, and I do not practice in a doctor’s office or a medical facility, but I am a real nurse, a professional registered nurse. I am a teacher, an instructor, and a facilitator of knowledge. I do not teach in a classroom or lecture hall or stand in front of a podium, but I am a nurse educator.

In this worldwide pandemic, I find myself feeling both honored and proud of my fellow nurses, especially the brave selfless heroes on the frontlines, even more so toward my former students who are now the nurses on those frontlines.

Yet, I am also feeling terribly guilty that I am not working alongside my fellow frontline nurses. I have years of experience and my heart is always at the bedside, especially with patients on the ventilator. Nevertheless, for my own health reasons, I have made the conscious choice not to be on the frontlines.
It is a personal dilemma that I struggled with until last week when another nurse educator told me not to feel guilty because I am educating and preparing nurses to be on the frontlines. Now, to be honest, it took a few more days to sink in. In fact, it was not until a recent graduate called me to check in and tell me about her experience in the emergency room and to tell me just how she feels about me and faculty that prepared her for this battle.

It was then that I realized I am caring for my patients, clients, family, friends, and my students but not just because I am a professional registered nurse and a nurse educator, but because I am ever present for them in their time of need.

As a nurse I am calling to check in on my patients and clients (and fellow parishioners) from my position as a faith-based health coordinator in the communities of Red Hook, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Bay Ridge. They leave me messages and send me emails with jokes, prayers, intentions, and just a word or two to connect.
As a nurse educator I have the reputation of having my cell phone on until 9pm. That reputation has been put to the test as I am getting text messages, calls, and emails at all hours of the day and night. My students, who are on the frontlines, know I am there for them because I told them to reach out to me, and I will be there. I am always present. Most often I just listen as they vent, share, cry, pray, and even scream. There are times that we just sit quietly and be still and focus on breathing and feeling.

I am Mama, G’ma, and a wife who is now home to cook, clean, and bake more than ever. At home I am a nurse, and now I am the science and art teacher for the 3- and 5-year boys! And I love it! For my family and friends, I am ever present by phone and FaceTime socials! And drive-by visits with 15+ feet of physical distance with air hugs! Daily, I run several prayer chains and intention runs for my friends, family, patients, parish, and coworkers.
I am a nurse just behind the frontlines, so others can be there! I am here!

Caroline E. Ortiz, MSN, MPH, RN, NC-BC

Caroline has been busy with her doctoral studies and is focusing on presenting around traditional wisdom and healing.

  • Nursing Mutual Aid 2020 – “Traditional Wisdom for Healing Trauma,” Twitter Conference @NrsgMutualAid #NMA2020
  • Accepted for Presentation: National Association of Hispanic Nurses – 2020 Annual Conference
    “Susto, Empacho, and the Wisdom of Our Abuelitos,” Miami, FL
  • Accepted for Presentation: Eastern Nursing Research Society – 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions, 2020,
    “Clinical Meditation and Imagery for Self-Management of Pain Post Spinal Cord Injury,” Boston, MA
  • Accepted for Presentation: American Holistic Nurses Association – Annual Conference 2020, “Curanderismo: Traditional Healing Practices in a Diversifying America,” Albuquerque, NM

Eloise Theisen, MSN, AGPCNP-BC

This year more than ever, nurses are being recognized for the incredible work they do. It is an honor to be a part of the most trusted and well respected healthcare professions. Nursing has always offered many different focus areas and opportunities to explore new and exciting areas of practice. Cannabis has become an increasingly interesting area and I am proud to say that many organizations are working hard to provide nurses with the education and platforms to learn more. As the president of the American Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), I am proud to say that we have over 1350 members across the nation. Our mission is to advance excellence in nursing practice through advocacy, collaboration, education, research and policy development. This year marks our 10th year as a non-profit 501C(3) nursing organization. As we continue to grow, we will focus on our credentialing efforts so that cannabis nursing can be recognized as a specialty nursing field. ACNA, in fulfilling its mission, has partnered with other professional organizations such as PCHS and Radicle Health. Radicle Health (RH) has developed on-line cannabis education for healthcare professionals that allows them to learn about cannabinoid therapeutics and how they can apply that knowledge to practice. RH’s curriculum was designed by an informational architect and includes the experience of a cannabis clinician who has treated over 6,000 cannabis patients. PCHS and RH will be working together to bring the most comprehensive and up to date medical cannabis education to the medical cannabis certification program offered through PCHS. I am thrilled to see such strong organizations come together and provide quality education to nurses that will further the field of cannabis nursing.

Rachel Parmelee, MSN, RN, CCRN and Carey S. Clark, PhD, RN, RYT, AHN-BC, FAAN

Nursing Students’ Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes Regarding Medicinal Cannabis Care

In 2018, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing released guidelines calling for medical cannabis education across all levels of nursing. What it did not indicate was who was responsible for ensuring the education reached the nursing population. Our recent research explored the knowledge, skills, and attitudes regarding medicinal cannabis framed by those six essentials advised by the keepers of the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for Registered Nurses. Although we are in the data analysis stage, preliminary data from 1,594 nationwide nursing students revealed the primary source of their learning comes from the media and news. It is necessary to recognize that eight states adopted medical cannabis programs over 20 years ago, and that number doubled ten years ago. It is time for educators to step up. Many of the participants believed that cannabis works to alleviate distressing symptoms for some patients (49% strongly agree; 44% agree). Yet, only seven percent of nursing schools incorporated some type of cannabis education into their nursing curriculum. We are proud to be a part of PCHS- the one leading the way with a quality Medical Cannabis Certificate program for Healthcare Providers.