A call for rethinking in the nursing profession

On March 15, 16, and 17, there will be a presentation at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles of Harvard Medical School's symposium "Spirituality & Healing in Medicine—11." (See related editorial on page 30 of this week's Sentinel.) In just one of many conference sessions, faculty member Janet A. Macrae, Ph.D., R.N., who is in private nursing practice and who teaches part time in the division of nursing at New York University, will be talking about "Nursing Spiritual Healing Practices with Emphasis on Florence Nightingale."

It's a subject Dr. Macrae has often discussed in her lectures and in her books. Michael D. Calabria and Janet A. Macrae, eds., Suggestions for Thought by Florence Nightingale: Selections and Commentaries (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994). Macrae, Therapeutic Touch: A Practical Guide (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1987) . She points out that Miss Nightingale, in her work and philosophical studies in the mid-nineteenth century, saw God as a perfect being who regulates the universe through law, not caprice, who is the essence of order and benevolence, and who would not let the human race remain in a suffering and fragmented state. Miss Nightingale saw no conflict at all between science and spirituality. In fact, she felt that science was actually necessary for the development of a mature concept of God.

In an informal conversation with Dr. Macrae, we talked about some of these issues, and about her own commitment to healing.

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The healing light of nursing
March 10, 1997

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