Skip to main content

Nursing Students and Faculty Experience Holistic Conference

Left to right: Julie Carr, Robin Callahan, Kelly Smith, and Marty Downey
Left to right: Julie Carr, Robin Callahan, Kelly Smith, and Marty Downey

Marty Downey, faculty in the School of Nursing, and three nursing students, Julie Carr BS, RN, graduate student, Kelly Smith and Robin Callahan, both senior undergraduate students, attended the American Holistic Nurses’ Association (AHNA) 2012 Annual conference, June 12-16 in Snowbird, Utah. Boise State alumni, Kamron Keep, BS, RN, also attended the conference as the St Luke’s Health System Integrative Medicine Coordinator.

As one of the conference planners, Downey wrote an editorial in the April 2012 AHNA publication “Beginnings” about the conference noting the keynote speakers, Susan Gordon, award-winning author and journalist of nursing related books and publications such as Nursing Against All Odds  and Michael Bleich, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, published author, dean of Oregon Health and Science University and member of the Institute of  Medicine committee on the Future of Nursing initiative.

Smith and Downey presented a poster on “Promoting Holistic Change Early in the Learning Process,” which was co-authored by Elisha Copperman, a fifth semester nursing student who was unable to attend the conference. Downey also helped present a research poster “Effect of Healing Touch on Post Surgical Adult Outpatients,” as part of her role on the St Luke’s Wood River Research Fellowship team, which authored the poster. The Wood River Research Fellowship team includes Downey, Joan Anderson RN, HTPA,  Mary Kay Foley PT, GCFP, CHTP, Laurie Mallea RN, HTPA, and Karen Morrison, RN.

All the Boise State attendees found it exciting to be present at the conference with their fellow Idaho holistic practitioners and nursing students as well as the many other nationally recognized holistic nurses. The nursing students earned their way to the conference by  assisting at the conference, including passing out nursing pins for the pinning ceremony, helping people find their way around, and offering relief to the AHNA vending table workers.

Carr describes the conference as “a breath of fresh air” that “endeavored to minister to the whole person,” in line with the goal of holistic nursing practice. The attendees enjoyed the beauty of the mountains and the serenity of nature and enjoyed early morning classes geared to enhancing energy and health. Carr, who is also a lecturer for the School of Nursing, states “Through this conference experience (I say ‘experience’ because the holistic nature of the conference was infused into every aspect of the conference) I was able to gain personal insight as well as experiential knowledge.  The understanding acquired from this holistic conference will enhance my teaching methods as well as my patient/student interactions.”