Lamp lit sidewalks and study carrols. I love a cameo moment back in college life!

The atmosphere on a chilly night’s stroll through a college campus is a blend of bustle and calm.  Full parking lots, activities, and classroom buildings bordered by quiet, paved walkways.  I’m grateful for a gig that gives me cause to connect with students who are advancing their nursing degrees.

It’s by invitation of a nurse mentor to join together in lecture once a semester at her Augsburg University course.  I get to talk to nurses on the path to completing their BSN about self care in the context of nursing theories that guide practice.  The best part of the night for me is hearing the students share why they chose nursing and how they are honing self care practices that integrate holistic modalities and concepts.

Care for the caregiver raises all our boats.  Who has role-modeled a caring touch that you aspire to deliver to the patients and families you serve?  Consider reaching out to thank someone who has enhanced your practice by modeling and role modeling within the profession.

Dr. Lani Hallenbeck, this is my offering of gratitude to you!  Thank you for your stories and for your ability to model the value of rituals in healing communities. And more, thank you for sparking curiosity in developing nurses about how to care for our practice and profession.




Retreat feels: cathedral windows featuring Mother Nature’s magic.

Aristotle said, "Life requires movement."

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending: Experience the Magic: An Empowering 2018 Retreat, hosted by  Ellie Peterson, creator of the Meditative Movements™  technique.

Participants learned and practiced Meditative Movements™ that spark feelings of centering, energy, and release.  A portion of the retreat (during lunch) was intentionally silent, an opportunity to be fully preesnt to the nourishment on our plates and within some solitude.  We broke the silence by  popping a bottle of champagne to celebrate that which is new and toast-worthy as we welcome 2018.

I believe deeply in creating intentional, intimate gatherings like this retreat.  I'm so grateful to have moved into intentions for 2018 in the presence of Ellie and other participants at the retreat.  Now I'm charting a course to implement what I learned! For me, the retreat built on a daily practice I discovered last year when I was struggling to find a form of meditation that held my attention.

Self care and it's relationship to our ability to care for others is a common theme at nursing salons I host and attend.  I feel grateful for a practice that is serving process and outcomes that release, center, and energize!  You can listen to how I found Ellie and this approach to self care in the episode, Meditative Movements™ for the Relfective Nurse recorded with Leanne Meier, host of the digital talk Voice America talk radio show, Once a Nurse Always a Nurse.

Happy New Year!


Krista Tippett’s book and podcast are among my favorite sources of points to ponder.

Tonight I’ll attend Marie Manthey’s nursing salon. You can read all about this forum at:

Attending nursing salons in Marie’s home was a source of inspiration, comfort, and reflection, during nursing school.  The gatherings have even prompted me to host an annual nursing salon during nurses week.  I believe deeply in the healing power we share in the nursing profession when we are listening to each other and our partners in care.

All participants will answer the question, “What’s on your mind about nursing?”  I’ve come to cherish the headspace of preparing for how I might answer the inquiry during my check-in at the salon.  This weekend I listened to Krista Tippett’s “Becoming Wise” podcast for some food for thought.  When I was doing shift work every-other weekend, Krista Tippett’s, “On Being” was the Sunday morning podcast that carried my commute to the hospital and my inspiration to think about the care I’d be providing on my third 12-hour shift of the weekend.  Now my commute is Monday-Friday...and I’ve found the habit of plugging into other works by Tippett to be as inspirational as the show that first got me thinking beyond the bedside about the importance of sparks and prompts to consider our work as nurses through other lenses.

I still don’t know how I’ll answer, “What’s on your mind about nursing?” tonight...but I have a hunch that a lingering thought from one of the podcasts I soaked up in the pursuit of, “Becoming Wise” will come up.  I’d highly recommend a listen to any of these episodes, available on the “Becoming Wise” show page:

Episode #13: We Chose our Own Tribes | Seth Godin

Episode #15: I Feel, Therefore I Am | Eve Ensler

Episode #16: The Universe Participates in the Mystery | with two Vatican astronomers, Brother Guy Consolmagno and Father George Coyne.

Thanks to a special nurse in my life, Amy Hoelscher, who first introduced me to “Becoming Wise” by way a lovely gifting of Tippett’s book.  We bonded over our love of Tippett’s “On Being” podcast and Amy invited me to attend Tippett’s talk in the spring of 2016.  In an emergent removal of my gallbladder, I had to miss the you can imagine my surprise when Amy gifted me Tippett’s book from the talk.

The special thing  about my tie to Amy…is that we have known each other since before we were nurses. I was a volunteer coordinator and she was a volunteer at the institution we now both serve as nurses. Over the years, I have been inspired by who she has become in her practice.  I fondly remember many conversations we shared in our anticipation of becoming nursing professionals.

Maybe that’s what’s on my mind about nursing.  In this season of gratitude and reflection: how nurses care for each other and how we can serve one another with sparks and prompts.  Let’s keep being good to each other.

Thank you, Amy.




Studio snapshot! Natalie Lu, (left) host Leanne Meier (middle) and Meditative Movements creator, Ellie Peterson (right).

Yesterday I had the fun of being interviewed by Leanne Meier on her radio talk show, “Once a Nurse, Always a Nurse,” with my friend Ellie Peterson, creator of the Meditative Movements technique.

Listen here:

Once you open the link, touch the “Episode Listing” tab next to my guest profile. The show is 55 minutes. We had a lively and interactive recording!  Have a listen and try Ellie’s awesome technique for yourself.

The Gift of Self Care with Ellie Peterson

The seed for a lovely Saturday morning retreat was planted months ago.  That seed finally took root this weekend on the cusp of growing season in these parts.  Five nurses, a physician, (and my mom!) gathered for an experience in meditation and movement like none other.  The group left wanting for more!  I can hardly wait to further explore the overlap in Ellie Peterson's  Meditative Movements™ and the practice of caring for others; starting with the gift of self-care.

I became acquainted with Ellie through a trusted friend and admired Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach, Bekah Rieke of SageSpoonLiving.  Having attended an event co-hosted by The Reflective Nurse, Bekah had a hunch that this following may groove to the unique practice she discovered through Ellie, founder of Power of Positive Workouts.  Bekah was right!

You can pour from a pitcher when something is welled inside.  Once empty we are reduced to going through the motions.  Caregiver fatigue weighs down care-delivery.  The research is out there on any aspect of this truth: patient safety, healing, and connectivity are at risk when we don't refresh processes to care for ourselves as we care for others.

A generous facilitator, with Ellie's permission, I share her "show notes" from our Saturday morning retreat if you care to peak at a practice that might enhance yours:

1. On Ellie's bookshelf:
  • The Heart Speaks by Dr. Mimi Guarneri
  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
  • The Body Keeps Score by Bessel
2.  Sample Meditative Movements™:
3.  Link to free upcoming in park classes.  We practice the Meditative Movements™ in a group fitness setting:
4.  Link to free uplifting daily messages you can subscribe to: 
5. Connect with Ellie via Facebook: 
Do you have a meditative practice that enhances your professional practice?  Comment here or reach out to to share how you align your head, heart, and gut.  Guest blog post submissions are welcome!




Meditative Movements with Ellie Peterson

Happy Birthday, Florence Nightingale!

My Nurses Week 2017 resolution is to enhance my practice by way of trying new personal wellness strategies.

Self care for the caregiver!

If this resonates with you, take a look at an event The Reflective Nurse is hosting with Ellie Peterson on June 10 from 9-11am...and join us!

More info and registration:

Let's fill the room with lively conversation to kick off a week of celebrating our practice!

Please join me for my annual Nurses Week Salon next Friday evening from 5:30-8:30pm in Minneapolis. Space is limited but there is still room for you!

RSVP here or

Dinner will be provided.  Details and location specifics to follow upon RSVP confirmation.

You can read about The Reflective Nurse Salons here.


Tomorrow I have the honor of presenting a talk to a group of nurses in the AD to BSN program at Augsburg College. I was asked to speak about how I've integrated self-care in my nursing practice to include hosting my blog and nursing salons. I drew inspiration from Socrates', "Know thyself" quotation to explain how honing a reflective practice feeds self care, and ultimately optimizes outcomes for the patients and families we serve.

Today I'm asking: How have YOU integrated self care in your practice?

Feel free to comment or connect here or by reaching out to:

"Maps" is the painted products of Regina Holliday's presence at the 2016 MAPS (Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety) Conference.
Patient rights advocate Regina Holliday painted "Maps" at the 2016 MAPS (Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety) Conference.

I started hosting nursing salons and this hobby blog to curate reflections from nurses and our partners in healing.  Figurative canvases, the venue for a nursing salon or the blank page of an unwritten blog post are spaces to create conversation starters.  Marie Manthey, one of my many dear mentors, often closes her nursing salons by saying, "Conversations change people, and people change the world."

Last week I met Regina Holliday at the Minnesota Alliance for Patient Safety (MAPS) Conference.  Regina is starting conversations that are bound to change the world.  She was the opening keynote speaker, and I first spied her on the side of the ballroom, wearing a hand-painted jacket and wielding a paintbrush like a magic wand.  I never snapped a picture of her in action, but I did my best to create a rendition of her presence with a little watercolor wanderlust of my own this weekend. I processed her message while I crafted an expression of gratitude for her talk at the conference and for the conversations she is starting with The Walking Gallery, a movement you can watch in a mini doc on Vimeo by Eideon Film: The Walking Gallery of Healthcare.

Regina's paintbrush influences the course of events like a magic wand.
Regina's paintbrush influences the course of events like a magic wand.

Regina courageously recounted the story of her late husband Fred in her opening keynote speech at the 2016 MAPS Conference.  More, Regina shared her steps to answer the compelling call to grow into the brave, bold, patient rights advocate she is today.  Just ask her about her "Little Miss A Type Personality" jacket and how she embraced the moniker to start that conversation.

Regina painted on the sidelines of meeting rooms all day following the keynote she delivered, chiming in to participate in the dialogue and creating a colorful canvas that became a painted narrative of conversations started in each of the conference breakout sessions.  That painting is the lead image in this blog post.  The details are rich; and they represent real stories about real patients and real pain and real people gathering at a conference, trying to take steps to prevent history from repeating itself as we study and learn from medical error and failed communication.  In an interview published on Regina's blog, she says her painting style has been described to her as, "often sweet and disturbing at the same time." The MAPS masterpiece is no exception in my humble appraisal.

In seeking out more about Regina's story, I stumbled across one article in Forbes, "Will Regina Holliday Become Healthcare's Rosa Parks?"

In reading Regina's reflections on her blog about her relationship to her work, she says, "My favorite piece is “Are you alright?” In that painting, I captured my late husband Fred. He stares at me from that painting like he is still with me. Still alive on pigment covered canvas. Still urging me to help him, a patient.  And every day I do exactly that."

Cranes of Hope Artist Trading Card
Cranes of Hope Artist Trading Card

Years ago I bought a handful of Cranes of Hope Artist Trading Cards at a local hospital gift shop.  In the mix was one that I've hung onto. I think it was meant for Regina - and I'll be mailing it to her, this week!  Writer, speaker, and painter, Regina is modeling more than The Walking Gallery.  She is modeling the spirit of creativity that starts conversations.  And conversations change the world.

Are you a nurse?  What is your canvas to reflect the change you wish to see in the profession?  Are you a patient or a family member or partner in healing?  Have you found a canvas to paint your ideas, your challenges to the system, or your story?  I'm listening.  Feel free to contact me in the comments below or at about sharing a guest post on The Reflective Nurse blog.