Zen and the Art of Nursing

Zen and the Art of NursingThis book describes basic Zen. It provides readers with meditations that link Zen philosophy to nursing practices. We Western-trained nurses often have trouble putting into words what it is we do for our clients besides the obvious carrying out of medical practitioner orders. In simplest terms, nurses often follow pathways not often walked before, weaving their healing presence into the lives of others. In other words, we Zen it!

There are many similarities between our best nursing practices and Zen, which began in China during the 6th century as a way of looking at the world with a centered and calm mind. Although associated with Buddhism, Zen is not a religion, but a meditative state associated with the search for truth and self-improvement. The meditations that follow will unlock new doors of perception and cultivate your Zen nature.

Many times nurses are listeners whose ears are fine-tuned to pick up on patients’ innermost thoughts. A nurse’s quiet presence creates a shared, safe space where humans can utter their most terrifying thoughts and most shamed actions without worry of being judged. From nurses, clients gain an acceptance that brings peacefulness that often cannot be explained with words, but is realized by the nurse and patient.
Many times healing takes place in ways unknown to us when we operate from Zen-like state of being. That we cannot always grasp how this healing occurs makes such healing events no less significant.

The meditations within Zen and the Art of Nursing celebrate the interaction of nurses with their patients. These experiences often fall into the category of events that are beyond words, and remind us that each movement we make is full of potential and can be rich in rewards.

Many times nurses are listeners whose ears are fine-tuned to pick up on patients’ innermost thoughts. A nurse’s quiet presence creates a shared, safe space where humans can utter their most terrifying thoughts and most shamed actions without worry of being judged. From nurses, clients gain an acceptance that brings peacefulness that often cannot be explained with words, but is realized by the nurse and patient.

— Susan L. Schoenbeck