Eric Utne's introduction to, The Joy of Conversation, describes salon gatherings as a potential turning point in American history today, where talking amongst ourselves can in fact be glamorous and evocative of 17th century Paris (Sandra, 1997). Glamor aside, connecting through live, intimate conversation is being proven once again to meet a basic human need of connecting to each others' light.
As a student nurse, I attended Marie Manthey's Nursing Salon to get a flavor of some real-world education and insights into the profession I was growing into. Marie's home, hospitality, and thoughtful facilitation of meaningful dialogue always left my heart (and belly) full and my mind hungry for more. I think I told her that I dreamed of starting something like her salon someday at each session I attended.
The Reflective Nurse Salon
Fast-forward seven years, I held my first nursing salon on Nurses Day, 2015. Three bedside nurses, a nurse educator, a mental-health nurse, a student nurse, and a physician joined me at my dining room table for a home-cooked meal and home-spun conversation about the work we share. Themes in conversation gave me enough food for thought to write regular blog entries to last a season, to be sure. Feedback from attendees filled my heart in a similar vein to the palpable enthusiasm I felt years ago, attending salons as a budding nurse.
To be added to the mailing list for future salons, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to continuing this rich tradition of salon facilitation in tandem with my growth opportunity as a writer as I start my blog and aspirations to create educational offerings inspired by salon topics.
Sandra, J. N. (1997). The Joy of Conversation. Lens Publishing Company, Inc.
The most rewarding moments in salon facilitation are rooted in feedback from participants. A few salon guests have held up the mirror to consider the value of attending The Reflective Nurse Salon. Each voice in the following comments reflects a piece of the collective mind that expands as we grow in conversation.
"My expectation for the salon was simply to discuss the issues surrounding nursing and healthcare. The different types of nursing represented and the presence of a physician added to the discussion by way of varied perspective. I took away a deep appreciation for working well with others within our profession and with those who work alongside of nursing. Discussion outside of our work environment expands our perspective. Sometimes we get so focused on our given role, we forget there is a professional community that exists beyond our current place or phase in the profession. As a nurse educator, I am invested in lifelong learning opportunities for myself and for the professionals who surround me. For this, I am excited to attend another nursing salon and would love to invite others to do so as well!" ~Penny P.
"I enjoyed The Reflective Nurse Salon. I loved the diversity of opinion and safety of having honest conversation without judgement. It was great to have dialogue with a diverse group of great nurses and a physician. Loved the great food and treats too. Interacting with nurses from diverse background expands the knowledge for all parties. Would be great to have CEUs for this meeting. I don't know what it takes for CEUs, but it would be great to document/memorialize these valuable meetings. The salon is a safe platform to have dialogue. This meeting style provides topics that are relevant today. Nurses speaking to topics of passion and experience provides learning that cannot be captured in text books.Not only would I invite others to a future salon, I would highly recommend attending. I was honored to be part of such a special group of individuals." ~Monicah G.
"I need to thank you tremendously, Natalie. Just at a time when I was becoming so discouraged in my profession, you invited me into an amazing journey. I was not sure what I could bring to the table at the first nursing salon, or what I would say...but as the night unfolded, my little kindle of fire became a bonfire. So many unique and diverse nurses and perspectives around the table. All the women in salon attendance intrigued me, but I was most inspired by Alex, the new graduate nurse. She was so excited, passionate, and energetic. She had a passionate twinkle in her eye that so often disappears in many of us as we age in our profession. It was exactly what I needed to dig my foundation out of me, to get back in touch with why I became a nurse...and with why I would never choose any other profession. Thank you, Alex and Natalie for helping me remember this; rejuvenating me and helping me get my twinkle back. Good luck in this new and exciting adventure, Alex. I look forward to the next salon and to continuing this amazing journey of rejuvenation with fellow nurses!" ~Sarah W
"Recently I had the honor of participating in The Reflective Nurse Salon, hosted by Natalie Lu. As a recent BSN graduate of the College of Saint Benedict, attending this nursing salon gave me a sneak peek into my future as a RN. I had the opportunity to talk with RNs from a variety of backgrounds as well as a MD about their thoughts on the profession I am joining. It was amazing to hear their stories, their accomplishments, and the struggles that have helped to shape them into the individuals they are today. I was able to make real connections with these women. As I left Natalie’s house that night, I had a new feeling of excitement to graduate and become a RN. I reflect on my experience that night frequently as I think about the topics and experiences we discussed. Natalie has been my mentor for the past year. We have met on a regular basis to talk about the process of graduating from student to professional nurse. The Reflective Nurse Salon exposed me to five more mentors to help me further realize why I want to be a nurse and why I love learning so much." ~Alex A.
"My perception of The Reflective Nurse Salon was that it would be a discussion geared at challenges in the nursing profession. However, I found the conversation to be stimulating, thought provoking, and varied in several relevant topics. These ladies were intelligent with really interesting backgrounds, defending varied principles that made me think harder about my own paradigm. I love the idea of the conversation salon, and in reality, it's even better." ~Yeng Y.