John Weeks February 2013 Integrator Round-up covering the topic of Professions American Journal of Nursing Honors Coaching Book, Linda Bark’s Wisdom of the Whole
Upon receiving the news that the American Journal of Nursing has named Bark Coaching Institute’s course companion, “The Wisdom of the Whole: Coaching for Joy, Health, and Success” a 2012 AJN Book of the Year in the Professional Development and Issues category, I wrote to author Linda Bark, RN, PhD, NC-BC. I shared that I would report it and noted to that the award for her long, pioneering labor must feel good. She approved me sharing her response which captures the moment of acceptance by nursing, of integrative coaching.
“Thanks John. Yes, it does and from the mother ship–AJN! A little over a week ago, I was notified by email about the award and was very happy. That night I woke up at 3am and thought OMG I won first place in Professional Development by the AJN. I started crying remembering the times I wondered if I could continue to call myself a nurse. Sometimes I felt I was doing things sooooo differently from the main stream. I think I had been in shock earlier in the afternoon.
“I also went through a period that night when I wondered if they really did read the book. Did they see all the things about energy and alternative healing methods? I decided they must have done so and that things are really changing. I told this story to one of my faculty and she laughed and said, ‘Linda, you are still on the edge of nursing but now it is the leading edge!’
“I had a colleague, who is a nursing leader in a very large hospital system, tell her nursing senior management about my award. This group is REALLY conservative. At various times, she has mentioned similar types of information and the group didn’t even acknowledged her comment. However, because this was from the AJN, they listened, ordered books, and began thinking that I should come and present to them! Both she and I are amazed!
“I am having other experiences like this. I was asked to keynote at a nurse executive conference. I thought it somewhat odd that they wanted me and agonized over how to present to them. I finally decided to explain my model and do a very experiential presentation. I had no idea how my get off your chairs, get into your body, look at sense of purpose, move around, and collaborate with others approach would work but I already had my sizable check so if things went very poorly, I could make a run for it. To my complete surprise, they loved it.
“I am not sharing this for publication but to you personally to let you know what I am seeing. It has been a long road for many of us all but things are changing. Hooray! Finally!”
Bark concluded with a note that her other coaching book, which she co-authored, is now published by American Nurses Association, is entitled The Art and Science of Nurse Coaching: The Provider’s Guide to Coaching Scope and Competencies. She adds: “All good news…I feel like we are in the fun and easy part of this journey now, Do you agree?”
Comment: Bark documents a shift that is profound, from external aggravation to internal ownership. She captures how the mainstream of medicine, as it begins to dis-associate from its past in order to make change, now can look across a chasm and explore and make its own that which was profoundly other. Bark’s comment on us entering the fun and easy part of this journey seemed Pollyanna to me on first reading. Then I dis-associated from my past and recalled how open many dialogues have become, and agreed, yes, it is, if not east exactly, easier, and, yes it’s a word, funner.
Note: A related article in developments in this field is The Strategic Role of the Nurse-Coach in an Integrative Care Model by Susan Luck, RN, BS, MA, HNC, CCN.