Mary Jewison MAHS'21

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Jewison MAHS'21

“My best friend has a bad case of Crohn's disease and was very sick for a long time.She found relief through holistic health modalities—herbs, supplements and energy healing. It stimulated my interest.

There aren’t a lot of holistic health programs out there. This program just spoke to me. I was surprised by how dedicated the instructors are. They care so much and are so passionate. They’ll help you in any way possible to get through the program.

Healthcare is shifting toward a holistic direction because it’s not just about treating the problem with medicine but treating the person individually and meeting them where they are. It’s moving from reactive care to preventative care. It’s about the mind, body and spirit and identifying the gaps. If you're struggling mentally, maybe start a meditation practice or breathing exercises.

I'm a nurse, so I was looking at the program from a clinical practice standpoint. What I got was so much more. It helped me find my authentic self and the type of nurse I want to be.

I used to be a very reactive person. Now I’m more aware of how I fill a space. I focus on breathing when I get worked up and can control my emotions now. The program opened my eyes to the way the world really is. It gave me the ability to find and give grace to everyone and everything.

My background is hospice, oncology and palliative care nursing, so I streamlined my program toward holistic death and dying. I assisted in the death and dying class and did my practicum with a healthcare organization focusing on end-of-life documentation. Hospice isn’t depressing because I have a totally different view. It’s an honor to be with a patient or veteran at that specific moment in their life with their family. Because you're not just treating the patient, you're treating the entire family. I’m just helping them write their story. I’m hoping to get them to a point where they're comfortable and finishing up things in this life so they can move on to the next—whatever that is. It's guiding them to their own answers, back to their inner selves.

The title of our group master’s thesis was,‘Turning Wounds into Wisdom: An Intuitive Inquiry into Healing Women's Body Image through Creative Expression.’ It's basically about improving one's confidence and self-acceptance. That thesis was a transformational experience for me that brought an aha moment. It triggered this whole self-revelation process and just lit a fire under me.

And now I landed my dream role!I work at theDepartment of Veteran Affairs. I'm now theWholeHealth RN Program Manager, developing an entirely new department around employee and veteran whole health care. We’re lucky to have all kinds of things at the VA—acupuncturist, chiropractic care, Tai Chi yoga, guided meditation, biofeedback, massage, even aromatherapy.

Looking back, I'm so happy I went through the program because, for me, it was life changing. If you’re thinking about getting into the program, don't do it with just a goal in mind. Be open to all the other possibilities it could bring.”