Health as Expanding Consciousness

I have loved writing my entire life. I mostly wrote about the things I imagined for myself and hoped for. Now I get to combine two of my long term loves. Writing and Nursing. The path I have taken has not been a straight one, and I could not have dreamed I would be where I am now. I couldn’t have even told you two months ago my life would take me to this space. There is so much history, and so much to talk about.

My goal for this blog is to talk and think about human connection and health, specifically to look at Health as an Expanding Consciousness. What does that even mean? The concept is heavy. I get it! I have been trying to figure it out for six years. My work has been focused on that and I still don’t completely understand it. To me it has been about truly unveiling myself and letting my inner soul be open to the patients I come in contact with. My experience with this has been positive. When I allow my true self to surface, people will be more comfortable doing the same. It’s about creating that safe space, that moment where it is ok to be the most vulnerable you can be and feel confident it is without judgement. It’s not easy and yet, it completely is. Everyone wants that safe space, we need it, we are crying out for it. The most difficult part is being open enough to let yourself be who you really are and creating a safe space so someone else can feel the same.

I remember my first experience of it. I was a new nurse, fresh out of the gates. I was working in the community providing services to various demographics, but this particular case was in palliative care. I didn’t have any training in this area and I was very much on my own without a support team or colleague to bounce ideas off of. I had to go to meet this patient and his family and somehow figure out what in the world I was going to be able to offer these people. Even more worrisome was being unaware of what they would expect of me? I was terrified and full of self-doubt!

It turns out that all they needed and desperately wanted was a supportive partnership. They needed me to be open to helping them move through all their various experiences by providing safety, care, guidance and reassurance through every phase they moved through. I didn’t need all the answers, I just had to be open to them and allow them to be open with me, and together we would embarked on the health journey. It was a time that will be etched into my soul forever and has shaped my practice tremendously. It is a honourable nursing role to facilitate a safe space for a family to fully embrace the death of a loved one and help them to experience all the beautiful and painful spaces that surround it.

There is nothing quite like the profession of nursing. It also has moments of such abundant beauty and at other times can be exceptionally painful. Nurses have the unique opportunity to experience the human soul and witness how human connection plays a critical role in each individual’s health. I am so fortunately that this is my work.

I am Grateful… and so the journey on the trail begins.

Emily Aitken

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