by Kathie Lipinski, RN, MSN
Since writing the article on Reiki and Nursing in the Fall 1997 issue, many nurses across the country (as well as England and Australia too!) have written me regarding the use of Reiki in their nursing practice. This article will provide other suggestions as to how Reiki can be incorporated into daily practice as well as current issues facing nurses today.
The most important way that Reiki can be brought to any nursing practice is by beginning your day with it. That may be upon awakening, beginning your shift, preparing the room(s) where you work, or preparing for your first home visit. Take a few minutes in your car, in the locker room, sitting at your desk, or at home. First, visualize or draw the distant healing (absentee) symbol, invoke its name, let the energy flow through you and ask, "How can I best serve today?" Remember to be still. Listen and feel the Reiki flow. Then invoke the mental emotional symbol and the power symbol to help balance you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Taking a few minutes at the start of your day can make a tremendous difference in how your day flows. Another way to prepare for your working day is to place all the symbols physically (by drawing them with your fingers) or mentally (visually) in the room (such as ICU, CCU, RR, Dialysis unit, etc.), the office, your car, or wherever you do your work. This helps to calm the atmosphere and promote the highest outcome for all involved for the day.
Nurses that work in endoscopy units, diagnostic labs, and recovery rooms, have told me how putting the symbols in the room before they begin their day calms everyone down and promotes a relaxed and peaceful feeling. Patients seem to do better (less bleeding, quicker recovery, less pain) when Reiki is used. Many doctors and other health care practitioners often remark how patients always do better when that nurse is on duty, or "I don’t know what you’re doing but keep doing it." All verification that Reiki does work.
When passing medications, a nurse can draw (or visualize) the Reiki symbols over the cart, the tray, or the individual medication and say, "let this medication be raised to its highest vibration so that those who receive it will be comforted and healed with minimal side effects." This applies to radiation therapy and chemotherapeutic medication as well. Placing the symbols on diagnostic equipment or surgical instruments before the procedure can also promote a better outcome.
At meetings, one can use the symbols during the meeting to promote openness, calmness, and understanding. One can also "beam" Reiki to the person speaking, or a person "on the hot seat," to help them speak clearly, keep calm, and be open to the issues being discussed.
Those are just a few ways that Reiki can be used in nursing practice.
A more important issue currently facing nurses is what is happening regarding energy work and how it falls within the scope of nursing practice. Many nurses have contacted their state boards of nursing to find out if Reiki and other modalities such as Healing Touch and Therapeutic Touch are included within the nurse practice act in their state. Much of this is because nurses are expanding their roles in private practice; are concerned about liability; are attempting to bring Reiki into hospital settings; are held to different standards than the lay person doing Reiki; and, hospitals are incorporating integrative medicine programs such as alternative therapies to promote their business.
It is important to find how Reiki fits into the scope of nursing practice in your state. Several nurses have developed "organizations" to help define the use of Reiki and other touch therapies in nursing practice. One reason this has come about is that other organizing bodies are trying to regulate touch therapies. One example is in Louisiana, the AMTA (American Massage Therapy Association) is lobbying to enact legislation to keep nurses from practicing touch therapies without a massage license. This would mean that they could set standards for nurses and tell us how to practice.
There is talk of developing a "core curriculum" for nurses practicing and teaching Reiki. Although Reiki is a spiritual practice and many of us are against "standardization and organization" of this simple healing modality, we may need to do this to bring Reiki into the traditional medical model. The use of the nursing process is a great way to start. There is now an official nursing diagnosis, "Energy field disturbance," that we can use.
I believe that Reiki is guiding us in its wisdom to this so that we can bring it into traditional medicine and health care settings. I trust the Reiki energy to guide us in this process. Just as Reiki guided us to its true roots in Japan, I believe that Reiki is reaching out to all aspects of society so that healing can be brought to all, and ALL Reiki practitioners will benefit as well.
Let your voice be heard concerning your nursing practice. With Reiki being the spiritual practice that it is, our role as nurses is to bring this beautiful gift to the traditional medical world in the best way we know how. With our feet in traditional and nontraditional therapies, we are the bridges. With Reiki guiding us, we can build them—then cross them.