Caring for the Whole Person

A Message from Beth Houlahan, DNP, RN, CENP:


I am pleased and proud to share a few of our stories and accomplishments from 2017 that amplify the art and science of UW Health nurses. First described by Florence Nightingale, the confluence of art and science in nursing practice leads to caring for the whole person, not just treating a diagnosis.


The art of nursing involves establishing relationships with patients through compassionate, empathetic care, as demonstrated in the "Heart of Gold" article about one of our most accomplished nurses whose remarkable care and outreach has impacted countless lives at UW Health, and even crossed international borders.


Beth Houlahan, DNP, RN, CENP, Senior Vice President, Chief Nurse ExecutiveHealing occurs by meeting patients' needs including consideration for their mind, body and spirit. This was especially apparent in the story about our cardiac intensive care unit and how they made one patient’s "graduation" extra special.


Providing care sometimes includes a "gut check" when a nurse's keen intuition is not aligning with what they see before them. Encountering unpredictable situations, nurses must use sound judgment and innovation to determine the best course of action. There's no better example of this than our amazing nurses who helped with several national relief efforts, and how they overcame insurmountable challenges while trying to provide patient care to hurricane victims.


The science of nursing is replete with discovery through scientific research, deploying evidence-based practices and application of theoretical frameworks to practice. The addition of our new pediatric nurse scholar position is a testament to this philosophy. I encourage you to read about Anne Ersig's role and the amazing collaborative work she's doing.


The scientific foundation of nursing transcends mere knowledge of human anatomy and physiology and rather underscores the interplay between factors intrinsic and extrinsic to the human body, impacting an individual's health and well-being.


The intersection of art and science of nursing is critical to providing excellent patient-centered care. I believe you will find that the stories we're sharing, as well as the other depictions of nursing practice by UW Health nurses, represent such excellence in care.


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