54: How to Integrate Energy with Nurse Coaching- Sandra Rousso, MSN, RN, HWNC-BC

About Sandra Rousso

Sandra Rousso, MSN, RN, HWNC-BC

Sandy Rousso is a board certified Wholistic Nurse and a board certified Integrative Health and Wellness Nurse Coach. Sandy received her BS in nursing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and has four decades of nursing experience. She has completed numerous post-graduate certificates in many healing modalities.


She is the owner of Healthy Lifestyle Mgt., a private integrative nursing practice in New Jersey where she helps people unfold, discover and accept their wonderful uniqueness’s, so they can reach their true potential. This is just one of her many goals.


Empowering others to find clarity, freedom, and abundance is her real joy. Her life interests include spending time with family and friends, cooking, watercolor painting, travel, hiking, Pilates and resting!



How to Integrate Energy with Nurse Coaching- Sandra Rousso, MSN, RN, HWNC-BC Highlights

“And that’s where we get into that fixed thinking, the black and white thinking, And I use this thing where I say, well, it’s not an “or” it’s an “and”. It’s both. It can be both. You can be happy, and you can be sad at the same time. Similar to what I was talking to you when I was with you guys when my brother passed.

Well, I was really sad, however, there were moments there that were just joyful for me. It was both. We’re capable, our humaneness is capable. That’s wholism to me, that’s experiencing the whole. And sometimes I spell holistic Nurse with a W.”  ~Sandy Rousso, BSN, RN


  • Nurses practice under their own license. We are not practicing medicine; we are practicing Nursing
  • Going where you are called, despite what others think, will bring you great joy.  Go there
  • What is your spiritual business plan?  Have you considered this concept?
  • “Sometimes you don’t have all the answers, you just know you need to begin”  Dr. Barbara Dossey
  • When you discover your passion, and connect to it, you will inspire others to find their passion
  • Share what you know, it will help others blossom
  • When we realize we have choice, we realize we are free
  • You have an inner still point, and you can find it and return to it

Links and Resources

American Holistic Nurses Association

Dr Barbara Dossey

Dr Andrew Weil

Integrative Nurse Coach Academy Nurse coach Certificate Program

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! Podcast 17- Find Your Nursing Soulmate: Barbara Dossey

What is Amma Therapy?


Theory of Integral Nursing, Dr Barbara Dossey

Transpersonal Nurse Coach course by the Huntington Meditation and Imagery with Richard and Bonney Schaub


Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti Gawain

Staying Well with Guided Imagery by Belleruth Naparstek 

Don’t Bite the Hook by Pema Chodron

Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

Transpersonal Development: Cultivating the Human Resources of Peace, Wisdom, Purpose, and Oneness


Thank you for listening.  We LOVE Nurses!

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How to Integrate Energy with Nurse Coaching- Sandra Rousso, MSN, RN, HWNC-BC Transcript

Nicole Vienneau  00:00

Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! My name is Nicole Vienneau. I am your host, and I’m also a Board Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. And I am so excited today because today we welcome Sandy Rousso. So, Sandy Rousso and I met way back in 2012.

We were in the same cohort for the Integrative Nurse Coach Association, it was called back then, now it’s called the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. And it was back in cohort number four, when Nurse Coaching was just a baby. And we got to go to New York City three different times and connect and be with each other.

And it was really a life changing experience. If you’ve been following along on this podcast for the past few years, you’ve heard some of my story. And now we’re reconnecting with Sandy. And before the podcast, we were just laughing about all our memories, and just recalling all the joy that we shared together. And so I’m just really thankful that Sandy has agreed to be on the podcast today. And so we welcome Sandy.

Sandra Rousso  01:19

Hi, Nicole. I’m so grateful to be here. And I was so excited when you emailed me. And it was a Yes, right away, because I just wanted the opportunity to connect with you again about all our good times and about Nurse Coaching and holistic Nursing.

Nicole Vienneau  01:36

I love it. Yes, you didn’t even wait but a second. But that’s what we have to do sometimes. Yeah, the opportunity presents itself and we say yes, let’s do it. If nothing else, but to connect with a fellow person who we love so much. And for new opportunities, too, so… Yes. So we’d love to take a little trip down history lane and ask you how you even discovered Nursing.

Sandra Rousso  02:04

So I remember being in high school, and my first love was the French language. I had watched the Gidget movie when I was young— Gidget Goes to the UN. So my thing was I wanted to be a French interpreter and live in Paris. Well, it was the 70s, and I think we were in a recession.

And my parents weren’t so on board with that. And they said, I’m not so sure. So my next love was biology and science. And I knew I didn’t want to be behind a desk all day long. So I was thinking about Nursing. And I think what helped also was I was very comfortable in a hospital because my father had a cardiovascular disease very young.

So he would go in and out of the hospital when he had chest pain. And I would go visit and I was like an 11 year old going down the hallway looking in everybody’s room and being very curious about things in the hospital. So I was very comfortable in the hospital.

And I decided to go to… I put in an application into University of Massachusetts Amherst, and I got my BS degree. And I worked in Boston and New York City after that, in clinical Nursing, allopathic Nursing.

Nicole Vienneau  03:19

I am imagining you as a little girl… “bonjour, bonjour!”

Sandra Rousso  03:29

I could have spoken French with you!

Nicole Vienneau  03:31

Yeah. Oh, that’s so so wonderful. And then that didn’t work out. Yeah, best laid plans sometimes don’t work out. And then biology, you know, it’s interesting, because I love biology too, so much. And then when I was in school thinking I was going to be getting a degree in biology, I started doing that work, and I realized, oh my gosh, this isn’t really what I want to do. And then that’s how I discovered Nursing.

Sandra Rousso  03:59

Right, right. And my father was very progressive at the time. And he said, “A Nurse,? Why don’t you become a doctor?” He was an engineer. He also wanted me to be an engineer. So I was very fortunate to have, I was very blessed to have parents who were very encouraging with my, you know, education and my path in life.

Nursing had a different quality to it than when I saw the doctors coming into my father’s room than the Nurses. And that’s what stuck in my mind. I loved the caring aspect of it and the humanitarian aspect of it. The docs were in and out— nothing against docs, some of my best friends are physicians. But back then, you know, it was more evident, I think.

Nicole Vienneau  04:40

Yeah. And as a young girl and seeing that, and the influence of that different way of being. Like you’re saying, the physicians come in and they have their thing that they’re doing, but the quality that you saw in the Nurses was much different and that’s what really attracted you to the Nursing profession.

Sandra Rousso  05:00


Nicole Vienneau  05:00

And so we heard just a snippet about what you’ve done in Nursing. Is there anything more that you’d like to say, before you discovered Nurse Coaching?

Sandra Rousso  05:08

I think, you know, I had left… I was in Nursing for about 12 to 15 years, and then I got discouraged with Nursing in the hospital. And I remember, you know, back then, if you were charge Nurse, it wasn’t… it was different than now, you gave pills, you gave meds out to 40 patients at one time in the Boston hospitals.

And I remember, I was giving out all these pills all day long, and every pill had another side effect. And by the time people were 70 years old, which is almost my age, they were on 10 different medications. And the pace, and there was no self-care. So I had left… I left Nursing at that time, I was very discouraged.

I had moved to New York City, I had young children, and I just needed a break from it. So then I, actually, at that time, also got sick. I had Lyme disease and didn’t know it. Which is kind of how I discovered Nurse Coaching.

Nicole Vienneau  06:13

Oh, which is a good transition, which is a great transition. So you were in Nursing, you liked it for a while, it was serving your purpose for a while. And then over time, it was like, Oh, this isn’t really what I believe in and what I think is going to be beneficial for my fellow human. So you stepped aside from that.

Sandra Rousso  06:35

I took a break. And I tried other various fields. And there was something missing in those different fields. And I realized it was the Nursing part. And it was that, what I was talking about, that caring aspect, the relational aspect of being with people at a very real level. So during that time, I also got Lyme disease, but I didn’t know it.

So it was the early 90s, and I spent most of my summers out in eastern Long Island, and there was a deer overgrowth population out there. And of course, I had a dog and I was taking ticks off the dog. My kids were little, they were in the grasses. And I really started to not feel well in the beginning.

I had lots of high fevers and didn’t know what was going on, my body ached. And I was testing negative on all the western blot tests. And my kids were in a camp program, and I met another Nurse, and her husband had come from, actually, Dr. Andrew Weil’s program at the University of Arizona.

And he was out at Stony Brook University Hospital, trying to start up an integrative medicine program. And she said to me, “Go see my husband, Sam.” And so I did. And he said he thought… he was the first one who said, “I think you have Lyme disease.” But I still tested negative, I couldn’t get treatment, I couldn’t… you know, I wasn’t feeling well, it got worse and worse and worse.

So I think it was 1995, I was on vacation and I met a bodyworker. And I was on vacation and I had just got mono. I was about 40 years old and I had this vacation plan with my family, and we were down, I think it was one of the Caribbean islands. And my friend said to me, “Why don’t you go for a massage. You might feel better.” That night, I fell asleep at six o’clock at the dinner table with everybody.

That’s how exhausted I was. And so I went for this massage, and I came out of the massage and I was walking the beach with everybody. So my friend said to me, “Go tomorrow, go for another one!” So I did. So I went back to the same person and I said “I don’t know what you did, but I felt the best I’ve ever felt in a long time.”

And she said, “Oh, I did energy work on you.” I was like, “What? What’s that?” So she told me that she had been training out at Esalen in California and was doing this bodywork and did energy field medicine. And I was like, wow, does anybody do this in the New York area? And so she gave me the name of someone who was working with the New York City Ballet.

I looked him up. I called California… I had to call California to speak to his teacher. He gave me the name of Matt. And I used to go into New York City and get these bodywork sessions with him and I started feeling well. And then I started to… I made a connection at the local health food store and I started taking supplements and I changed my diet and of course the bodywork helped with releasing stress out of my body.

And it was the best I felt in a long time. Now this went back and forth for almost eight years, of not feeling well and feeling okay, and I was managing it pretty much on my own. And at that time, there was a school… well my thought was, wow, this would be great with Nursing. How do I incorporate this with my Nursing background?

So I entered this school, I found this program and there was, you know, it was 1998, the internet wasn’t so popular back then. And it was in Long Island, New York. And it was a two and a half year program where we would meet once a month for full weekend and then work in the clinic once a week.

And I enrolled, and I had no idea what I was doing. In fact, I used to drive out there at six o’clock in the morning and go over the Throgs Neck bridge and see that sun rising and I’d think, please, I have no idea where this is going. But I’m just gonna keep going.

And we learned traditional Chinese medicine and Eastern nutrition and four semesters of stress management, they called it back then, and Eastern nutrition. And it was sort of like our cohort, you know, was a group of 20 women, one man, and we really built a nice camaraderie and we kept each other going.

It was not an easy course, it was five courses per semester. I did not get a master’s degree. I had thought about going back for the master’s degree in holistic Nursing. but there were not many programs back then. There was one at New Rochelle, but it didn’t give me a modality. So people would ask me, “Well, what are you going to do?”

And I said, “I’m going to do Nursing, I’m going to have a Nursing practice.” And they’d say, “How are you going to do that? Are you going to work for a doctor?” I said, “No, I’m not going to do medicine. I’m going to do Nursing.” And so I chose this program because it gave me a modality called AMMA therapy, which is a bodywork based on traditional Chinese medicine.

So when people… so when I opened up my practice, people thought they were coming for a massage. But they didn’t understand, you know, I’d have to talk about the energy field and discuss that. And then we’d go over nutrition, and I did some supplementation also at the time.

So I opened up accounts to, you know, some of the supplement companies and things like that. So that, I started in… I graduated in 2001, and so I started my Nursing practice, I had a home based office at that time.

Nicole Vienneau  11:58

Oh, there’s so much I want to unpack in this. First of all, is the realization that you have been doing this for decades, long before many people. And I would love to know, because, you know, doing something before other people, I’m sure there was quite a pushback on some levels.

But before I even ask that question, I just want to point out what you said that really stuck out for me, was when people were asking you, what are you going to do? What are you going to work for a doctor? Are you going to, you know, basically are going to go back to the hospital too? Like, I’m sure that was some of the questions. And then you said, “No, I’m not going to practice medicine. I’m going to practice Nursing.”

Sandra Rousso  12:43

Right. So would you like me to continue on that?

Nicole Vienneau  12:48

I would love for you to continue on that.

Sandra Rousso  12:50

So, interesting enough, this program that I went to had a massage therapy program, and it was called AMMA therapy, but they also had a small section of it that was for holistic Nurses. So when I went to this school, my thought at that time, because it would not have been understood by the general population, is to become a massage therapist, and have my RN.

So I got into the open house, and we were about two minutes into the spiel. And this woman walks in, you can see my body, very straight, Dutch woman, and very powerful looking, came in and said, “Are there any Nurses here?” And I meekly, you know, raised my hand.

And two or three others were there, other Nurses, and she said, “Come with me.” And so we walked into another room, and her name was Annika Young, and she had connected with the American Holistic Nurses Association somehow. And that program that I entered, not knowing, was endorsed at the time by the AHNA.

And she said, “You are Nurses. You’re not massage therapists.” And she really was stern about it. And she said, “This is the program you’ll need to enter.” So we all looked at each other like, oh, okay, we will. And we did. And so that’s how that came about.

But I remember, you know, friends and my kids were young in school, you know how you go up to school and everybody’s asking what you’re doing, how are things going, and I’d say, “Yeah, I’m enrolled in this program. I’m learning traditional… I’m learning Chinese medicine, and I’m learning…”

And they really thought I was in a cult. I was gluten free. I was dairy free. They had never heard of that in ’98. I mean, you know, maybe, you know. And the teachers that I had— we had to practice Tai Chi because we had to know our energy field in order to work on somebody else. So we had five semesters of Tai Chi, I had to write papers on the philosophy.

I mean, you know, we had yoga, we had… it was very different than what I had ever experienced. However, I was just eating it up, I loved it, it just really resonated with me and all the other Nurses there, too. We were all kind of on that same page, you know. And so yeah, people really thought I was in a cult, they had no idea what I was going to do.

And now here’s another side track here. Another segue here is I had met a shamanic practitioner at the time. And I was using her for spiritual guidance, counseling life direction, and she actually helped me come up with sort of a spiritual business plan, if you will, and really encouraged me to sit down and write out what my intentions were about how I wanted to practice, what this would look like, the hours, how much I was going to charge, you know, that whole thing.

So that was instrumental for me also, because with the program, right away, after like… probably after four or five months, they encouraged us to have clients and charge them $20 at the time. So that, you know, tell them you’re a student, you know, you’re practicing and that kind of thing.

So, yeah, it was quite an experience to kind of… I didn’t realize at the time what I was doing, to be honest with you. I was just kind of going with the flow at the time, and just, you know, I’m Pisces, so that’s…  I can do that. So, that comes natural for me.

So, you know, and I remember Barbie Dossey talking about that, you know, take the first step, you might not know where you’re going. And back then, in ’98, that’s what I did. And it was scary. Let me tell you, it was scary. But it was fun too, at the same time, it was exciting, because I didn’t know, I did it with the uncertainty. And that’s one of the things that I bring a lot into my own practice now, about living with uncertainty, especially in these times. Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  13:43

Wow. You know, Barbara Dossey— and I’m sure you’re going to talk about her again later. Barbara Dossey, her quote, you know, sometimes you don’t have all the answers, but you just need to begin. You just need to begin and things will fall into place. Sometimes it takes longer than what you hoped for, but just taking that one step. That one step.

Sandra Rousso  17:03

Right. And that led me to Nurse Coach. So I hadn’t even thought about what Nurse Coach was at that point, you see.

Nicole Vienneau  17:35

Yeah, because you were laying the foundation for Nurse Coaching to come later. Yes. So you learn all of these amazing, different modalities that you’ve never experienced in conventional medicine or conventional Nursing.

And here you are exposing yourself to all of these modalities and along the way, also healing for yourself. Yeah, yeah. So okay, now… so you did the holistic Nursing, you started your own practice, you know, charging $20 in Nursing school. Like, Nursing school, I think that’s fantastic, right? Because, yeah, already that school instilled that you should be charging for your services. Right?

Sandra Rousso  18:17


Nicole Vienneau  18:18

You know, it was only $20, but also back then that was alright, back then. It’s not that long ago, listeners, it’s not that long ago.

Sandra Rousso  18:25

It’s not that long ago. I earned every gray hair I have.

Nicole Vienneau  18:33

Right! Okay, so then… so you start your practice, and you’re doing a home based practice. So tell us a little bit about that. Like, this isn’t Nurse Coaching yet. You didn’t incorporate Nurse Coaching yet. But just a little bit about that, and what that felt like back then.

Sandra Rousso  18:49

Well, I think I was actually doing Nurse Coaching.

Nicole Vienneau  18:53

Oh, were you? Oh okay!

Sandra Rousso  18:54

And I didn’t know it. You know what I mean? So people thought they were getting AMMA therapy, which was that bodywork based on traditional Chinese medicine. But I would sit with them, you know, for the first 15 minutes and take an assessment. Why were they coming? What did they want out of this session?

And most of them would say they wanted a massage. They thought, you know, that AMMA therapy, but I would always preface and say I’m not a massage therapist, I’m a Nurse, and I’m working out of my Nursing license. So that they understood that this had another layer to it.

So I think I was doing some of the Nurse Coaching though I didn’t have all the theory and the, you know, the didactic or the philosophy, that those skills were more self based. And I was doing something called Guided Imagery back then that people didn’t realize what it really was.

And I used to use Shakti Gawain’s book and Belleruth Naparstek’s books. And of course those things were not on the Internet back then also, it wasn’t like, oh, you know with the IA now I could probably, you know, but you couldn’t back then. And so there was a lot of self study for me also.

I met a couple of like the reps for some of the companies and, you know, I would go to their services, they would come to me. They were very gracious with their information. So I learned a lot about supplementing and opening up accounts with them and putting people on different. And people started feeling better. That was the whole thing, is they started really feeling better.

And I remember, probably now it’s almost 20 years ago, I had one client who came in with a GI problem. I was doing AMMA therapy, but we would talk through the AMMA therapy, it wasn’t a quiet massage, like you think when you go to a Massage Envy or massage studios, you know.

So we would talk through it, it was based on energy, and I’d be massaging the meridians and the acupressure points for certain health conditions, we would train for that. And so she came in with this GI issue, and I suggested that maybe she could do a trial where she was off wheat, gluten and dairy.

And she did it for a month, and she came back, and she came weekly, and she came back in and she couldn’t believe it. And she was so to the T with it. I mean, she never cheated. She always, you know, she didn’t take any gluten at all, no dairy. And so she figured it out through a process of elimination, that it was really the gluten that was causing a problem. And she loved it so much.

She got into finding recipes and making gluten free bread and doing everything gluten free. And at the time, there was another program coming out, it was the IIN, and it was more nutritionally based. And I think it was an eight month program. And I said, “Oh, I think you would love this program.

Why don’t you look it up and see if it would work for you.” And she did. And she started her own business. So for me, those were the joys of like, wow. And she was so passionate, she still is. And I still… she’s become a friend of mine now. But, you know, it really blossomed.

All the work that we learn in coaching, holistic Nursing, for me, it seems like it just… if we could share it— nothing’s original— if we share, keep sharing, it just seems to blossom for everybody when they experience feeling well again. So yeah, so that’s what my practice kind of looked like before I went into the INCA program.

And then I was speaking with Monique Class, I knew her, and she said, “Sandy,” she said, “Did you hear about this program? It’s going to be in Nurse Coaching. And Barbie Dossey is doing it. Like, you should take this course. You’ve been doing this for years.” And she said, “And it’s Barbara Dossey! Do it before she’s not there anymore.!”

So I looked into it, and I was like, Oh, wow, this will give me, you know, validation to what I’ve been doing. And so I signed up and it was your… it was our class. It was our cohort in 2012. And that’s how I got to Nurse Coaching. And it was one of the best programs. It was wonderful.

Nicole Vienneau  23:19

That’s where we met, and met all the other amazing Nurses who took that course too.

Sandra Rousso  23:27

Jan was in it. And Gretchen, and you…

Nicole Vienneau  23:31


Sandra Rousso  23:32

Diana. Right.

Nicole Vienneau  23:34

Yeah, I mean, it was just such a…

Sandra Rousso  23:36


Nicole Vienneau  23:37

Carol. Yes, Carol. Oh my gosh, it was such a blessing to meet everyone and still stay connected to them through the years, to you through the years.

Sandra Rousso  23:48

This is also another example of the camaraderie that gets developed. And I know Barbara Dossey talks about finding your soulmates when you’re doing something new. And this is a sad story, but I’m good with it now. It was 2013, they had offered the advanced training. Do you remember? I think you did that too, right?

Nicole Vienneau  24:10

Yeah, I did. I did.

Sandra Rousso  24:12

So my brother, on the last meeting for our initial training, my brother had called me up. And it was right in the Alma Mathews House, I took his call. And he told me that he had kidney cancer. And it was aggressive. And a year later, he passed away.

And I had signed up for the advanced training. And it was two days after his funeral, and Carol, I called Carol, I said, “I don’t think I’m going to make it.” And she was like, “Sandy,” she said, “let me just point something out to you. What are you going to do? You’re going to go home and be by yourself and cry? Where would you have more support with all of us there?”

She goes, “I’m going to call Susan and Barbie and Bonnie and let them know and see what they think…” and blah, blah, blah. And I went, three days after the funeral, and you guys were… I mean, I get chills. Just… you were so supportive.

And I don’t know if you can… that’s just an example, you can’t explain it, right? It was just… it’s just a wonderful feeling, being with a group of people who are like-minded, and supportive, and kind, and compassionate.

Nicole Vienneau  25:32

Yes, filled with love. And yes, just want the best for each other. Yeah. And then also just tapping on to what you said earlier, just the connection of when you start to begin to feel confident enough to use the skills that you’ve learned and help other humans start to feel better, and how much joy and satisfaction and just continued love and gratitude that brings to your life and to theirs.

So it’s just like a circular, give and take and receive flow of, you know, just feeling good about what we do. And listeners, Sandy and I were talking about this at the beginning, where it’s like, we don’t feel like, oh, gosh, I gotta go to work today. You don’t feel that. It’s like, yay! I get to go to work today! It’s like a different feeling of satisfaction and just joy for what we get to do every day.

Sandra Rousso  26:31

Yeah, I told Nicole— like, for our listeners— that I just don’t see myself stopping this ever. Because I love it. And it’s just so much of a part of me, of who I am.

Nicole Vienneau  26:42

Yes, it becomes part of who we are. And I find it interesting when I do speak with and ask and send emails to Nurses, Nurse coaches out there, who I’ve sent emails to, and you tell me you don’t want to be on the podcast.

Because maybe you’re not up to the standards that you think you should be. And I think that’s so fascinating because we learn these skills, they become part of us. And we evolve so much with learning and growing as humans and Nurses and, you know, that it just… we’re using these tools and skills every single day.

Sandra Rousso  27:18

Yeah, every day, every moment, in fact, like this morning. Shall we tell them, Nicole?

Nicole Vienneau  27:24

Oh, my gosh, Sandy, you have to tell the story. Yes.

Sandra Rousso  27:27

So Nicole’s out in Arizona. I’m here on the East Coast. I have a 9:30 scheduled with her this morning. It’s what 6:30 your time?

Nicole Vienneau  27:38


Sandra Rousso  27:39

And so about eight o’clock, I get on my computer to make sure it’s charged up. And I hear this big pop outside, and my electricity goes off. So then all the emails start with my neighbors, is your electricity off, what happened? Blah, blah, blah. And so I’m thinking, Hmm, okay, I do have 100% charge, I’ll be okay.

And then we call PSE and G and it’s not going to be on ’til 11 o’clock, and okay, it’ll be good. And then the next thing, my neighbor across the street must have had a tree service scheduled. So these big, huge trucks pull up. And the chainsaws come out outside my home office window.

And then the chipper goes off. And I said, “Okay, I’m going to just go upstairs, get myself dressed, and we’ll see how it goes.” And then all of a sudden, all my alarms in the house start going off because of the lack of electricity. And then the dog starts really barking, and I have a shepherd mix dog, so that bark is loud.

And I thought, wow, maybe I just, you know, a part of me said maybe we’ll reschedule, you know, maybe this isn’t gonna work. And then a lightning bolt went off in my head, and I said, wow, and I started laughing because I felt like this was happening because it’s teaching me how to be resilient and regulate my emotions, which I teach in my practice.

And what better way to do it is to just throw this stuff at Sandy when she… you know, calm, go on a podcast, and you know. I said, “Oh, yeah, this is perfect. Okay, take some breaths.” So, I took some breaths. I said, “I’m gonna go outside.” I went out and I pruned my flowers. I love flowers. I garden. I plant flowers all over the place, and I started deadheading my flowers.

I took more breaths, I took my shoes off, I walked in the grass. And I did my practice. And the other thing, Nicole, that you don’t know is that I thought, Oh, I don’t have Nicole’s phone number. And I don’t have any electricity. I hope my phone is charged to email her, and I gotta get a quick email off on my computer.

But you answered me right away. And I knew it was probably like now five o’clock in the morning. So yeah, so you know, every moment is really a learning moment, isn’t it? And I said, “You know what, let’s do it. Even if I don’t have power, let’s do it.” And so the trees were going, the saws were going, the dogs barking, my neighbors are all texting me.

And right about 8:30 — 9 o’clock, the electricity goes on. And the guys are done with the chipper across the street, and the chainsaws, and they drive away. So at nine o’clock, you would never know anything. So we did. Our life brings us to Nurse Coaching. And I think we use whatever it is we teach in our own life, right? Walk your talk.

Nicole Vienneau  31:04

Yeah, yeah. How do we show up when those stressful situations arise? Whether we’re at home where lots of stressful things happen on a minute to minute basis, or whether we’re at the bedside, where definitely lots of stressful things happen moment to moment.

Sandra Rousso  31:22

Yeah, taking that breath before you walk into a patient’s room, being in present, you know, bring presence. And that’s another skill, like you had said to me something about how do I use my skills in Nurse Coaching. I think presence is really, you know, the key, you know, balance, presence, how do we maintain our balance in times of uncertainty, how do we get perspective in the moment.

Those are all the things that will, I believe, help us bring peace of mind and clarity, and then abundance. And I think those are the main things that people are looking for, you know, peace of mind. Because our mind can take us on every road imaginable. Just like this morning, I could have gone in all the different directions, you know. And awareness— and awareness practices are huge in my coaching practice here.

Nicole Vienneau  32:19

I feel like I want to take a breath now. Yes. Okay. So speaking of your practice, I went on to your website, sandyrousso.com.

And you have a ton of services that you offer, from stress and anxiety support, relationship healing, changing patterns, getting unstuck, emotional regulation, compassionate inquiry, self reflection, clinical meditation, imagery, awareness practices, acupressure, Ama therapy, energy field balancing, life purpose, meaning, spiritual guidance, and therapeutic touch practitioner.

Yeah, congratulations! I mean, that’s a lot. Those are a lot, girl!

Sandra Rousso  33:13

Well, that took… you know, that’s over many, many years.

Nicole Vienneau  33:17

But that shows your commitment, right? It’s not to show… we’re not bragging. Like, this is my commitment to myself, because some of those we’re learning for self and self-healing and self-care. And some more, wow, I want to learn this, because I want to offer this for my clients. So when a client comes to you, how do you choose, like, which thing they’re going to receive?

Sandra Rousso  33:41

Yeah, well, you know, the first thing I ask them when they come in is what are they looking for when they come to see me? You know, what can I help you with? And sometimes they don’t know, they really can’t define that, you know, so we’ll work on all those wonderful questions we learned in Nurse Coaching.

These non threatening, open ended questions, because there’s so much power in a question alone. And then combined with deep listening, you can really get a great picture of your client and make great assessments with that. And that’s kind of how I choose, and where they’re at, meeting them where they’re at.

You know, I can’t really go into guided imagery if they’re not open to that right away, but we work up to it. So I see my clients, typically, once a week for a while, and then we can go every other week, every third week, once a month. And then sometimes clients don’t come back for years.

I mean, I’ve had clients call me up 10 years later and say, you know, do you remember me? Of course. And they come back in and I call it a little tune up. They come for a little tune up. But yeah, so I take an assessment, and we had those assessment tools in Nurse Coaching, which are really helpful, and we figure out what it is they want.

And then we kind of get to the underlying causes of certain things. So I even work with couples now, marriage situations, you know, because it’s an inside job. And I think Barbie calls it interiority, right? Or something like that. Yeah. And it is, it’s an inside job, it’s about us. And it’s our perspective of what we see, like this morning, I could have seen that as a disaster with the electricity going off and everything.

But I chose, I first became aware of what was going on, and I had choice whether I wanted to go down the doom gloom road, or kind of laugh at it, and text you and think, oh, this is hysterical, the universe is playing a really funny joke on me. And then once I have choice, my belief is that it gives us the feeling of freedom, we feel free, we don’t feel stuck in, you know, and I think that’s really the thing.

And then what I do is, I kind of like walk next to the client, with their journey, listening to their life story. Because I don’t know. I come from that place where I say, you know what, I don’t know. They know. And how can I help them excavate what’s deep inside of them?

You know, even this morning, like, I kept going to my saying to myself, yeah, you know what, it’s chaotic out here, but I have an inner calm and still point. And I can find that, and I have the skills, I know how to find it. And if I can convey that and help my clients, and we practice here, we actually do practice here that, so the practice is for those times in life.

People think, you know, meditate… you could… there’s 150 different ways to meditate, right? But you know, I have to kind of find the one that resonates with that person. So they might be a doer and action person, so they go out and walk. I’ve actually gone on walks with my clients as a session, also.

I had a situation that, you know, this person couldn’t sit still, you know, nervous system regulation stuff. So we would go out on a walk. And we would do it out there. And we would do a mindfulness walk or, you know, have moments talk, mindfulness talk, mindfulness kind of thing.

So you find what works for them. It’s not us telling them what works. It’s them realizing, oh, I kind of like this, or this is what I’d rather do, and hearing that. And I think also determining whether they’re just surviving, and then helping bringing them to thriving, helping them let go of certain things, or be mindful of what’s happening.

And if they were in a toxic relationship, waiting those things out. And on their time, you know, they can’t just leave those things sometimes. And how to reframe things, maybe changing the story that they’ve told themselves for years, their patterns, looking at their patterns.

First of all, trying to see their patterns when it’s over and over again, you say, oh, okay, let’s just take a look at this. And let’s uncover some stuff here. And we’ll do it on your time, we’ll do it gently. And I follow their lead, basically, creating the space for them. Space doesn’t do, really, it allows, and it’s generous, and it’s non-judgmental. And it’s a very yielding kind of energy.

So just creating that here in this room, even— creating a feeling of trust and that they’re safe. Because people won’t be vulnerable if they don’t feel safe, people won’t show their true sides. They could come in here and, you know, kind of fool me. But when you start to also tell them a little of your story, which is very different than what they would get in therapy.

Because a lot of my clients have done therapy, and I love therapy. I love therapists. I have friends who are therapists and I have clients who are therapists. But for me, the therapy addresses two things, the emotional and the intellectual.

In Nurse Coaching, in my practice, I also have the physical where I can do the bodywork and the spiritual part, the thing that’s bigger than them, that thing that they feel is, you know, maybe we call it consciousness, or just presence. So that’s another added feature to some of these Nurse Coaching sessions that I do.

And then it’s just teaching them how to just be curious about what’s going on in their life, not the blame, shame game thing that we often do to ourselves. And then giving maybe some homework, some exercises at home. You know, I have this wonderful balancing exercise, this balance exercise.

So I tell them to take their emotional temperature and their physical temperature and their intellectual temperature and their spiritual temperature. And if they’re on a 1 to 10 scale, you know, where are they on that scale? The key is let’s bring it down, let’s try to get to a 5 no matter where you are. So if you’re, say physical, if you’re exercising like crazy, and you’re at a 9, how do you get back down to a 5?

Or if you’re not, if you’re sitting on the couch all the time, how do you get up to a 5? What do you need to do? Or if it’s a spiritual temperature, you only see your ego self. You know, how do you get to a place where well, maybe there is a little bit more to me than just my ego.

Or if, you know, way out there on the 10 in the spiritual temperature, you know, everything like this way, everything there’s a reason, there’s a cause is this, all that. Or spiritual bypassing is a big thing right now. How do I get myself, you know, not walking around willy nilly in the stratosphere? How do I get myself back into my life and reality here and what is?

So that, I mean, that’s just one little exercise that I do. So, yeah, it’s healing, it’s not curing, because we all know what that is. And using a lot of compassion, I think, opening up to our own suffering, I think, can open our hearts and help see the suffering of others. And when you can see that, it opens up our empathy.

Not that you’re feeling pity or sympathy for the person, it’s a different thing, it comes from a more of a somatic sensory experience with empathy, and then you’re able to help empower others. Nurse Coaching also encompasses, like you said, our life experience. So there’s a lot of non Nursing things in Nurse Coaching too, some of these life experiences that you can bring, and people can relate to that.

Nicole Vienneau  41:58

So wonderful, thank you for sharing all of that. It really… it’s vast.

Sandra Rousso  42:03

It is vast.

Nicole Vienneau  42:06

Yes, and then that is within you. And each of us as unique individuals have this vastness within us, you know, and just connecting to those strengths that we each have to allow those to come to the surface when we’re with clients, and patients, and communities, to allow our selves and authenticity to shine.

Sandra Rousso  42:33

Right. It is. And you know, there’s two other big things after, is forgiveness, the concept of forgiveness also. And forgiveness isn’t for the other person, and it’s not condoning the behavior of the other person. The forgiveness is for ourselves, to open ourselves. And that comes from a heart space and place of compassion and understanding.

And then the other thing is like that intentional work I was talking about, when I was working with a shamanic practitioner, and she said, you know, intend for what you want your practice to be, and putting that out there and then letting it go. Don’t tie up the energy.

And you know, a lot of my practice is learning how to manage your energy field, because most people don’t even know they have one. And it’s basically physics and quantum physics if we really look… people really want some proof of things, you know.

So yeah, so it’s very exciting. And like you said, it is vast, and it’s ongoing. That’s why I feel like I could do this forever, because there’s always something new to learn, you know, for myself and with my clients.

Nicole Vienneau  43:34

Yes. And staying open to that. I mean, really, when you were talking about the balancing scale, what I was imagining was, we have dichotomies, you know, 10 or 1, you know, like, it’s all or nothing. And then there’s the shades of gray.

Sandra Rousso  43:48

Right. Yeah.

Nicole Vienneau  43:50

So coming back to the gray. Like, it doesn’t have to be one thing. It doesn’t have to be balls to the walls, you know, let’s look at some of the middle ground.

Sandra Rousso  44:03

And that’s where we get into that fixed thinking, you know, the black and white thinking, And I use this thing where I say, well, it’s not an “or” it’s an “and”. It’s both. It can be both. You can be happy, and you can be sad at the same time. Similar to what I was talking to you when I was with you guys when my brother passed.

Well, I was really sad, however, there were moments there that were just joyful for me. It was both. We’re capable, our humaneness is capable. That’s wholism to me, that’s experiencing the whole. And sometimes I spell holistic Nurse with a W.

Nicole Vienneau  44:40

Yes. I love that. Yes, thank you. I’m soaking up all this. I just took a breath in to just take it all in. It’s good. It’s so good. So we have a few moments left together, and I’d love to ask the question: what is on your heart that you would like to share with us today?

Sandra Rousso  45:05

What is on my heart that I’d like to share. I just feel filled with joy right now, in this moment, just connecting with you, and just to be able to share some of those concepts that I use in my practice. And if one person hears this, if a listener hears this and gets one little pearl out of it, I am really joyful.

And to do this with you and to know that, you know, there is really good in the world. And I think we’re in a time where it’s really rough in America and through the world. And I just hope I’m helpful. That’s what’s in my heart right now.

Nicole Vienneau  45:51

Well, I was just thinking, like, I have a whole necklace of pearls over here. I just kept adding them on to my necklace.

Sandra Rousso  46:00


Nicole Vienneau  46:01

Yay! Okay, so I have a few fun questions.

Sandra Rousso  46:08


Nicole Vienneau  46:09

You can’t think too hard about what the answers are, you just have to just roll with it. So let’s go lavender or mint?

Sandra Rousso  46:20

I love both, actually! Can it be an “and” not an “or”?

Nicole Vienneau  46:30

It could be an “and”, it depends on how you answer the question, right?

Sandra Rousso  46:34

It’s so funny, because what that brings up for me is this: I’m going to be moving out to a very rural area in East End, very far out in Long Island, and it’s called the North Fork, and there’s a beautiful lavender field. And that’s what came… that’s the image I had. So okay, I’m gonna say lavender.

Nicole Vienneau  46:51

Because you’re thinking to your new adventure that’s coming. That’ll be exciting.

Sandra Rousso  46:57

I want to spread the Nursing practice out there.

Nicole Vienneau  47:02

Spiders or snakes?

Sandra Rousso  47:04


Nicole Vienneau  47:05

Tell us why.

Sandra Rousso  47:07

Well, energetically… Well, you know, it’s funny because spiders, I like all the little legs. But I don’t like either one of them, to be honest with you. But the snake energy is the healer energy, right? And the spider, I can’t remember. The spider is probably, with you know, all the reaching out with all the different legs.

Nicole Vienneau  47:33

Awesome. Right, we can have “ands” on those. It doesn’t have to be an “or”. Okay, so Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! ACTION is an acronym. Here are the words: authentic, curious, truthful, inspiring, open, nurturing. Authentic, curious, truthful, inspiring, open, nurturing. Which word stands out for you the most?

Sandra Rousso  48:11


Nicole Vienneau  48:12

Authentic. Tell us a little bit more about that.

Sandra Rousso  48:16

I think if I’m authentic— I love all of them. I love all the words. I think if I’m authentic, then the others just kind of fall into place and include all of that. So if I’m authentic, and you say something to me, and I have a curiosity, I answer it.

And I listen to my authenticity. And will ask that curious question. And you know, it can go… it will trickle down to being nurturing. And, you know, if I’m authentic, I feel what someone’s going through, you know, and come from a place of compassion and nurturing. And I think that for me, that’s how it works.

Nicole Vienneau  48:55

That is a beautiful way to look at this. I’m just pondering that, because I think your answer is spot on. Like it matters what I think, right?

Sandra Rousso  49:09

It does, of course it does!

Nicole Vienneau  49:11

Oh my gosh, well, Sandy, I’m so thankful, our listeners… I know the listeners are going to gather up all of these amazing pearls of wisdom that you’ve shared with us. And we’re so, so grateful that you chose to say yes right away to come on to the podcast. And so thank you so much for your time and wisdom here.

Sandra Rousso  49:32

Oh, it’s been such a pleasure to be with you for this last hour. And, you know, I also want to say that if anybody wants to reach out to me, I am happy to help anybody, Nurses, you know, who are looking into this, who want to try to start even a private practice. That’s what I know best. Then I’d be really happy to answer their questions or help in any way I can. And it’s just been great. It’s so nice connecting with you.

Nicole Vienneau  49:58

Yes, and of course we’re going to share your contact information in the show notes. We’ll also share some of the great resources and books that you mentioned, and also the podcast from Barbie Dossey— Finding Your Soulmate.

Those will all be in the show links. So listeners, please go there, and please use those resources to support you and your Nurse Coaching journey or Nursing journey. And we look forward to reconnecting again and again, Sandy.

Sandra Rousso  50:25

Thank you so much. And one resource I’d like to share is the Transpersonal Nurse Coach course by the Huntington Meditation and Imagery with Richard and Bonney Schaub. That’s been invaluable for me. And their book, one of many, is called Transpersonal Development: Cultivating the Human Resources of Peace, Wisdom, Purpose, and Oneness. And I use those awareness practices a lot and they’re very powerful.

Nicole Vienneau  50:56

Yes, I have my book right here! I love this book. Bonney and Richard are doing amazing work.

Sandra Rousso  51:05

Amazing people. Yeah. Really. I hang on every word that they say.

Nicole Vienneau  51:11

I’ll definitely put this book into the show notes too. And their resource, their website, too. Huntington Meditation and Imagery. Yes. Thank you.

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