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  • Ep34: Powerfully Linking Curanderismo and Nurse Coaching- Caroline Ortiz, MS, MPH, RN, NC-BC

Ep34: Powerfully Linking Curanderismo and Nurse Coaching- Caroline Ortiz, MS, MPH, RN, NC-BC

Caroline Ortiz, MS, MPH, RN, NC-BC

basking in the sunshine

 

Growing up bicultural and bilingual along the U. S.-Mexico border in the Texas Rio Grande Valley, Caroline encountered a myriad of perspectives on health. As the daughter of a nurse, she took her medicine and followed the doctor’s orders.

 

As the granddaughter of a Mexican woman, she drank her herbal teas, submitted to body sweepings with an egg, and followed the recommendations of the local curandera.

 

Now with over 25 years of nursing experience, Caroline’s work, which has been shared locally, nationally, and internationally, centers on promoting individual and community health through holistic approaches. Currently, she is an associate professor in holistic nursing at Pacific College of Health and Science and a doctoral candidate in nursing education at Villanova University.

 

Caroline is apprenticing in curanderismo, the traditional Mesoamerican medicine from Mexico, and researching the use of traditional medicine by Mexican American women living in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. This path has brought her back to where she started as a child with a foot in two worlds.

 

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Ep34: Powerfully Linking Curanderismo and Nurse Coaching- Caroline Ortiz, MS, MPH, RN, NC-BC Highlights

“I see much more of my own learning in this learning about Curanderismo and these practices. And not just the practices, obviously, but the outlook on life, the cosmology, the philosophy of how to live a right life, or in right relationship, because it certainly is much more than medical practices and rituals and remedies.” ~ Caroline Ortiz, MS, MPH, RN, NC-BC

Ah-Ha’s

  • When we can listen with our whole selves it creates a safe space for everyone
  • It is powerful to listen and to be listened to
  • Listening can happen in reading and writing, and in any situation
  • Curanderismo is a Spanish name given to the healing practices from Mesoamerica
  • There is a synergy between nurse coaching and curanderismo
  • Nature as a Healer
  • We are our own Healer

Resources

Traditional Mesoamerican Medicine for Healing Trauma

Ortiz, C. E. (pending publication). Curanderismo: A Traditional Healing System in Today’s America.

Ortiz, C. E. (pending publication). Current Experiences with Traditional Mexican Medicine by U. S. Women of Mexican Origin: An Integrative Review.

https://medium.com/nurses-you-should-know/caroline-ortiz-381f268d6e94

Caroline Oritiz on LinkedIn

Ep34: Powerfully Linking Curanderismo and Nurse Coaching- Caroline Ortiz, MS, MPH, RN, NC-BC Transcript

Nicole Vienneau  00:00

Welcome, everyone, to Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! My name is Nicole Vienneau. I’m your host, and I’m also a Board-Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. And today it is exciting because we are welcoming Caroline Ortiz all the way from Manhattan, New York.

She is an associate professor at Pacific College of Health and Science in the Holistic Nursing Program. She’s also a Board-Certified Coach, and Curandera of One. Welcome, Caroline.

Caroline Ortiz  00:30

Thank you so much, Nicole, I really am appreciative of the opportunity.

Nicole Vienneau  00:34

Well, I’m so happy you’re here because your story needs to be told, you are doing such exciting work. And I know all of your stories will be very inspiring to our listeners. So, we’d love to take a dive back into history and learn a little bit about you by asking the question: how did you discover Nursing?

Caroline Ortiz  00:55

I discovered Nursing very early on, because my mother is a Nurse. And although she retired after 52 years, I believe, she is still a Nurse. So, it was something that I grew up with. My intention was not to become a Nurse, initially. Neither was that the intention of my older sister or my younger sister.

But all three of us are also Nurses now. We kind of all started off wanting to be something different or wanting to do something completely different, but all found our way into Nursing. And the exciting thing about Nursing is that we’re all doing something different within Nursing. So, I grew up in a house of Nurses and still am surrounded by them at Thanksgiving.

Nicole Vienneau  01:47

I love that. I mean, it’s funny too, because oftentimes as children, we see our mom, and sometimes we want to be like our mom, and sometimes we don’t want to be like our mom. And in this case, your whole family almost ends up being Nurses.

Caroline Ortiz  02:03

Yes. And we certainly saw not only the beautiful parts of being a Nurse– of, you know, people coming to my mom for help, both, you know, in an official capacity, as part of her job, but also the other family members and the neighbors and people always asking her for medical advice, or can you look at this thing? Or can you look at that thing? Or what can I do about this or that?

I remember it in my memory as constant and at all hours of the day or night, and in all situations– birthday parties and quinceañeras and just family get togethers, the random barbecue. Like, there were always people searching her out.

And I will say that to this day, it still happens. And it’s beautiful. I think it speaks to the heart of Nurses in sort of conveying that approachability, conveying that expertise and knowledge, and conveying that trust from the community that we have.

Nicole Vienneau  03:10

Yeah, and I think of… first of all, I was imagining your whole family sitting together at the dinner table, all Nurses, and the discussions that could be had at dinner.

Caroline Ortiz  03:22

My father, who is not at all into anything medical and is a little skeevy, would be like: “Ladies, can we change the subject, please?” It’s like: oh, yeah, sure, I guess.

Nicole Vienneau  03:33

Sorry, dad. That’s great. And I also know that in the Gallup polls, Nurses have been voted, you know, the most trusted profession and the highest ethical standards or… shoot, I can’t remember what it’s called anymore, but we’ve been voted that for almost 20 years in a row.

Caroline Ortiz  03:55

Mm-hmm.

Nicole Vienneau  03:55

Yeah. And that’s really shown up in your experiences, as watching your mom. And I’m sure you have it in your own life as well.

Caroline Ortiz  04:05

Not as much as I saw it in my mother, which is just fine. Yeah, we grew up in a small town on the Texas Mexico border. And where everybody knows everybody and I was probably related to 50% of the people in the town in some, you know, in some degree of relation. So yeah, so it was a close knit family and my mom was a pillar of the community for sure.

Nicole Vienneau  04:32

So how did you discover Nurse Coaching?

Caroline Ortiz  04:34

So, Nurse Coaching came into my path, oh gosh, I’m going to say 2013 ish. I was in cohort eight of INCA. And one of my very good friends had taken the Nurse Coaching course– she, I believe, was in cohort three or five and just had nothing but wonderful things to say, and what a transformational experience it was for her.

I already knew and would consider myself, you know, friends with Susan and Barbie, and have always held the utmost respect for them personally and for their work. And so when my friend told me about the program, and just how amazing it was to her personally, I was in.

I wanted to do have that transformation, also. So, I came across it, and this was when they were still doing it in person in New York. And yeah, I had the wonderful opportunity to join such a wonderful group of Nurses and visionaries. Very inspirational.

Nicole Vienneau  05:52

And you mentioned the word transformation and wanting to experience that yourself. What were the things that you noticed in yourself that may have been considered… that you may have considered transformational?

Caroline Ortiz  06:04

So, that is easy for me to select, although there were many, many experiences and various things, both as a group and reflecting upon the work we were doing in practice. I remember sharing this with Susan, that the biggest takeaway for me, that I will forever be grateful to them for, and to all my teachers, my fellow classmates, who were also my teachers, is that learning to listen.

And not listening so that I can think of what to say in response, not listening to see how I can fix whatever needed… I would identify as needing fixing that was before me, but listening with no ulterior motive other than to listen. Listen with my whole self, listen with the intention of providing a safe space for that person to communicate, and to assure that… ensure them that I heard them.

So, it was… that is my number one takeaway and what I would say was my biggest aha– how much I wasn’t listening, and how powerful, how really deeply powerful it is, when someone knows that they are being heard.

Nicole Vienneau  07:40

And so when you realize that listening and being with someone was your biggest aha, your biggest takeaway, what were you noticing from the person who was experiencing that exchange?

Caroline Ortiz  07:53

I think people have a need to feel heard. You know, throughout that process of practicing listening, how to and what does it look like, what does it feel like, comes the realization that when we have an opportunity to share, to voice, to organize in our head, and then vocalize whatever it is that we’re thinking or feeling or describing, that is a therapeutic processing for the speaker.

And that’s a wonderful, helpful healing process, to have to vocalize and communicate or organize your thoughts and feelings in such a way so as you can communicate to the other. But I think the other piece of that magic, I’ll call it, is when you feel, when you know, that someone has then received your communication.

Not that they do anything about it, especially not that they judge it in any way, but that someone has received it. So, someone else now knows your own thoughts and your own feelings that you’ve communicated. And I think that’s the piece that then builds that community– that feeling of I’m not alone, and that is powerful. The feeling that you are not alone in your thoughts and feelings, and now someone else knows them, too.

Nicole Vienneau  09:20

Beautiful. Yes, thank you for sharing that. So, maybe you could tell us a little bit about how you are using Nurse Coaching in your practice.

Caroline Ortiz  09:31

So, my Nurse Coaching practice is informal. As you noted, I work in a Holistic Nursing Program at Pacific College. And the students that I have are all already licensed Nurses. So, they’re coming back to school to get their bachelor’s, or they’re coming back for a certificate program in Holistic Nursing or a master’s in Nursing.

And I find that, exactly what we were just talking about, that ability to just listen and to be present in the listening is what I use most with my students. And you know, you would think that being a teacher is all about you communicating what you know to students. Yes, and it is also about what are they getting from what you’ve communicated.

And there’s where that listening skill comes to be very valuable in what they, you know, share with you verbally, also listening in what they write in their assignments, or their emails to you, or their texts to you. And really being comfortable with allowing them space to communicate.

I remember a time where I was in a traditional classroom– meaning in person, because now I teach solely online– we were sitting around a table, and one particular Nurse was having just a really difficult day, but that was on top of just a really difficult season in her life. And so she was communicating, verbally, a lot of distress. And it was aimed at everyone and everything. And I remember telling myself internally: just listen, just listen.

And so I let her talk, and she did for a while. And then the emotion, the heightened emotion, was kind of over, and she calmed down. And we talked, you know, we talked it through to sort of close that time with everyone together, and everyone left.

And then later in the hallway, one of the students that had, you know, been sitting in the classroom with us and had witnessed the outburst, she came to me with what I still remember as sort of this sense of wonderment and sweetness. And she says, you’re such a good listener, almost like I can’t believe you let all that happen. You just sat there and listened. And it was fine.

And I’m still struck by that, you know, it was a moment in time, and this was years ago, but that Nurse was amazed or impressed by a response that was just listening and holding space, holding safe space enough for that person to move through her emotions, and then move on.

And so I thought, you know, that that was so validating for me and so wonderful to see that someone else can pick that up, who is not a coach, who is a Nurse, and who is a person. And the value of that remembering, the value of that remembering that we don’t have to have the answers, we don’t have to fix it, we don’t have to correct it. Like, first, let’s just start by just listening and holding space.

Nicole Vienneau  13:08

So powerful. And I’m thinking of the observers watching you hold that sacred space. And they were so curious about that, or this particular Nurse, and very curious enough to ask you about it. And I think to our normal– I’m putting the quotations up– our normal Nursing environments, and how we can potentially feel like we don’t have time to listen, or the space or capacity to listen in those really fast-paced environments.

And so, would you be willing to offer some tips or tools for Nurses who are working in fast-paced environments and how they can take a moment to listen?

Caroline Ortiz  13:58

So, I think that part of our sort of automatic reaction to the whole listening piece is if someone shares with us a patient or a client or, you know, even a family member, a friend, that if someone is sharing something, an issue, a challenge, something they’re working through, and they tell us, that we feel we have to fix it, or we have to give them advice, or we have to point them in a better direction, or we need to educate them in some way.

And that’s a lot of pressure, because we may not agree with what they said, we may have, certainly, very heightened feelings about what they said, or just not know how to guide them or, you know, what to say. And if we can remember that just listening is therapeutic for that person, then that is invaluable, because so many times I see people having– I overhear– I see people having a conversation.

And it’s two people in conversation, but neither one is listening to the other. It seems like they’re each just waiting to give… to contribute to the conversation about their views or their opinions or what happened to them that was just like what that person just said. But one person is in the plane, but there’s nowhere for them to land because the other person is trying to fly their own plane at the same time. Sorry, that’s just the image that comes to me.

Nicole Vienneau  15:32

I love it, because I’m imagining that, too. Going in different directions, too.

Caroline Ortiz  15:37

Yeah, they’re both just flying around, trying to find a place to land their plane, but the other person is not providing a landing pad. So, everybody’s just sort of in the air. And that’s hard. That’s hard, especially when the person who is communicating something, it’s very meaningful to them. So, I think that it is a matter of reframing or rethinking your role when someone is sharing something with you, that you don’t have to fix it.

And in many cases, you couldn’t, even if you knew how. Or maybe you can, maybe there is something in just giving them the opportunity to voice, there’s something you can do, big or small, or subtle for that matter, that you can do that might just shift things for them, make things a little better for them.

And I think that’s another part of the listening that because we may not know, or be able to do something about what they’re sharing, we don’t want to be… we don’t want them to be disappointed, so we don’t even give them the opportunity to sort of reach out.

And I do agree, though, that in many environments, there’s just so much hurry, hurry, hurry, that it does really feel like you don’t have the time to sit and listen, because for many people, and in many cultures, what they might tell you in a bullet point takes a whole story to tell you, because they need to tell you the history and the background and they need to tell you the whole story so you can get the whole picture of what they’re, you know, what they’re feeling or thinking.

And that’s a very practical conundrum. Because we may not have the time to listen to a whole story. So, do I have tips? I don’t know. But that it is a valuable, worthwhile, meaningful thing that we can do is to offer the space to listen? Yes. And by the same token, communicating that need to others to listen to us.

You know, so many times… and again, my mother, people would come to her with stories and issues and problems of all sorts. And, you know, I think now what does she do with all of that heaviness? Because it was, I don’t know, listening to it– I’ll say eavesdropping, because that was me as a kid, I was always the eavesdroppers of adults… of adult conversations.

It’s like, oh my goodness, now what’s going to happen? You know, so I even knew then that it was sort of burdensome, it was a predicament. Now what’s going to happen? So, that I would say for Nurses, we are people, too. We need to be listened to, also. We need to communicate what we desire, what we need, what we want, what we hope for, also.

With that hope that we will, too, walk away from exchanges feeling like we had a safe place to land our plane, that someone listened, and not to fix me, or to give me advice, or to do something for me instead of me, but just to listen. And I think in that is so much healing, the beginning of that healing, because healing is a process.

And that community building– to feel like you have a community. And community can be one other person, that you have someone who you can share safely and they will listen, they will hold space for you.

Nicole Vienneau  19:13

So, what I think I’m hearing you say is it takes two people to listen and hear. And even in a busy environment, maybe Nurses could consider: maybe it’s just time for me to listen, instead of offering the advice, instead of offering the quick fix. Many times people don’t want the quick fix. They just want to be heard.

Caroline Ortiz  19:38

And sometimes people think they want the quick fix, but not realizing that they have the ability to fix it themselves. And in that is that feeling of self-efficacy and self-empowerment and self-control. They just need to feel that they’ve shared it, now… okay, now there’s the next step for them. There’s something that you said that had a little light bulb go off.

And it’s sort of connected with my work and Curanderismo– traditional healing practices from Mexico, more specifically. So, when you… and I’m not… I understand you said this because I said this: one other person to listen to.

I was in a course recently with a traditional healer from Oaxaca, Mexico about two weeks ago, and one of the things he said was if you’re going through a challenge, or you’re in an argument with somebody, or you want to burst out yelling and tell someone off or something, the other listening piece doesn’t have to be a person.

And many times it shouldn’t be a person because we’re emotionally charged. Go to a tree, go to Mother Nature, tell the river, tell your favorite plant, you know, what you’re feeling. Share it with Mother Nature, basically, share it with a star, because there are some things that are safer for us, in the moment, to communicate and to share with not another person, because we don’t know how they’ll react.

And if they’re not great listeners, then that could cause more problems than it was worth, but that we also have the natural elements, you know, tell it to your pet. And that also, you know, we’re talking about communication, and we talked about listening, but now we’re talking about, like, telling.

Who are you going to tell and who are you going to share with? And he says: Mother Nature and the natural world, our plants, our trees, our animals, our bodies of water, they are safe, and all they ever want is our best self. All they ever want is to live in harmony, to be together, to survive and thrive together in a balanced, harmonious way.

So, that’s something that came to me when you were talking about finding one other person. And I know that it comes because I said it, but now I’m rethinking that, or I’m expanding that, I’ll say. I’m expanding that, because there are some things that you may not want to share.

Nicole Vienneau  22:27

Oh, this is so beautiful. Because I think of Mother Nature as a neutralizer, as well. And every morning I go out and I go out to water my plants. I have some cacti that I don’t water everyday, but I walk by them and I say, “How you doing?” I check in with them. And I had never once thought that I could go and have a conversation with them. And some of our listeners are probably like: okay, Nicole, that’s crazy.

Caroline Ortiz  23:01

This whole discussion just turned a corner! I don’t know what’s happening here!

Nicole Vienneau  23:06

But I look at them, and I’m amazed by their beauty. I’m amazed by their ability to stand out in the hot sun of Arizona and still continue to grow, and the resiliency that they have. And just the thought of me now having access to have them listen to a story of mine that I may not want to share with anyone else, it really opens up a new possibility for me. So, I really appreciate you sharing that. Yeah, so thank you.

Caroline Ortiz  23:39

We will be appreciative to Don Larenzio from Oaxaca. Mexico for bringing that into our discussion.

Nicole Vienneau  23:46

Yes, absolutely. So, you did mention the Curanderismo… I’m still learning the pronunciation. So, thank you for helping me. Curanderismo. So, I know our listeners, they heard the word and they want to know more. Tell us more about this work.

Caroline Ortiz  24:10

So, Curanderismo is a Spanish name given to the healing practices from Mesoamerica. So, from central South Mexico, Central America, the Peruvian Andes and the Amazonian area. The Spanish root… the root of that Spanish word is cura, which means heal. And it’s a very general term, as like, you know, healing.

The practice of healing is what Curanderismo is. And the region that I’m focused on in learning that system and those, what a colleague calls “health ways” of Curanderismo, is really specific to Mexico and kind of Southwestern US. My background is Mexican American, I’m Mexican American, I grew up on the Texas Mexico border.

And so, I grew up in this area that was very bicultural, bilingual, traditional yet, you know, very modern. So, it was a really wonderful area to grow up that I also didn’t quite understand, especially as a Nurse.

I didn’t understand that things that my grandmother did– and by things, I mean, like healing techniques, or rituals that my grandmother did and her community did– was traditional medicine or that it really was anything but… not just what I understood it to be as sort of superstitious things that they did.

Because they didn’t know any better, or they couldn’t afford to go to the doctor, which was my thought for many, many years, not just as a kid. But many years later, when I got into this world of holistic Nursing, complementary integrative care, alternative medicine, I was learning all of these other practices– meditation, guided imagery, breathwork, yoga, aromatherapy, you know, Reiki, all these other practices, but never thought: what does my own culture have?

These are all practices with origins in other great civilizations, in other great societies. But I never thought about looking at my own. And that came with me and my studies– and I’m getting a PhD now and working on my dissertation– I chose to research Curanderismo, thinking what was it that my grandmother knew to do?

What was it that so many women, and not just women, but in my experience, primarily women, knew about home remedies, and these little rituals that they… that I had performed on myself, and that they performed on members of the community that would seek them out? And even, you know, what mom would do in the kitchen.

Not my mom, because she’s a Nurse, and that wasn’t her thing, but my friend’s moms. You know, making a tea for this, or a salve for that. And so, when I had to focus on a research project, that’s where I came back to, is what was it that my grandmother and her community did?

In a way, in a big way, it really was like returning home, to now give respect and give credence to that world, that wisdom, that science that I had never really thought of before to look at in that way, as a science, as a wisdom practice, as medicine.

Nicole Vienneau  28:07

And in your journey of discovering all of this– first of all, I do have to touch on the whole fact of you mentioned your grandmother and her practices, and then your mom, who is inserted into the medical model, and may not have been using some of the traditions in her life.

And yet, she is very much a pillar in the society and in all of that, and people came to her. And now you are coming into your own in understanding all of this. And so, where are you seeing this moving and applying into your life for your future?

Caroline Ortiz  28:52

Oh, goodness, for my future. I don’t know, but I know it’s going to be there. I’m open, I see much more of my own learning in this learning about Curanderismo and these, you know, these practices. And not just the practices, obviously, but the outlook on life, the cosmology, the philosophy of how to live a right life, or in right relationship, because it certainly is much more than medical practices and rituals and remedies.

It is about creating a right relationship with yourself, with other people, with the natural world and beyond. And the more I learn, the more beautiful it gets, and the slightly more questions I have and confused I get at the same time. It really is a whole learning process and an adventure and a journey and fun.

You know, I see my mom who, last year, was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through chemotherapy and radiation and surgery, and in that process, I introduced to her some of the work of healers that she might want to consult, for spiritual support, for physical support. And yes, you know, she’s a Nurse, she certainly is someone who has a difficult time looking at Curanderismo as a healing wellness system for many, many reasons in her upbringing.

So, she had a… she was skeptical, she too thought it was just kind of superstitious. And I must say that Curanderismo, where I’m from, in that South Texas part of the world, Curanderismo is synonymous with witchcraft for many people. And so, that’s kind of a huge barrier.

And it wasn’t until I found other teachers and professors at a summer course at the University of New Mexico that they’ve been holding for 20… 21 years now, that I saw Curanderismo as a valid medical approach to health and healing and wellness.

Because I, too, always thought that it was, you know, kind of playing with the dark side. And you don’t want to do that. And it was scary, and it was weird. But I knew that what my grandmother and her community did was not that. So, it was something very hard to sort of fit together.

So, going back with my mom, she wasn’t open to it at first, when I was making suggestions about connecting her with a healer or with healers. But the more I learned, the more I shared and her trust in that I have some notion of what I’m talking about was open to the whole: “well, it can’t hurt” sort of thing. “I’ll try it.”

And so, she was open to expanding her circle of community that was going to be helping her through her cancer, with really great results. And so, now she’s a believer again, I’ll say. She’s a believer, again.

Because she, too, grew up with a lot of these things, a lot of the home remedies that come from traditional knowledge, but it was also sort of wrapped up in people who had other intentions and did other things that aren’t necessarily of the health and wellness realm.

And so, I’m really happy to have played some role in introducing or reintroducing Curanderismo to her in a way that just… that was so eye-opening and had some benefit for her, especially spiritually and physically. So, that’s what I would like to… where I see my direction going. I sort of come with… I come to the term of like a liaison.

If my being a Nurse and my having some credentials behind my name will help get open doors and get me in front of groups and people who are curious or are open to learning about another traditional healing system that is really not talked about in this country, yet, we’re almost 20% Hispanic in this country, that’s what I would love to do.

Is somehow connect groups with the medicine, connect people with Curanderismo and uplift both. I don’t know, it’s still somewhat ambiguous, but that part is very clear, that I somehow will have a foot in both worlds and be a connector.

Nicole Vienneau  34:13

I love that. I see you. I see all of that happening.

Caroline Ortiz  34:19

Oh good, Nicole!

Nicole Vienneau  34:23

Well, I also see this connection, you know, here we have all of this history, cultural history, and a lot of that was squashed. Colonialism. We took away a lot. I say “we”, right? History took away a lot of these traditional practices, and they were considered witchcraft by some of the population.

However, for centuries, these traditions were working and they were being utilized, so bringing them back so people can reconnect with their culture, with the things that were being done centuries before they were ever alive, is beautiful.

And you know that you mentioned the spiritual aspect and the cultural aspect, all of that, we’re so much more than just the black and white, that we can sometimes be forced into a box of, you know, this is how we do it.

And so, you know, just this exploration and your courage and willingness to reconnect to it, despite some of the, I’m sure, pressures of: don’t do that. And just opening doors for people and allowing that self expression and that exploration is a beautiful thing.

Caroline Ortiz  35:45

Well, thank you, it has been a truly personal process, because even in selecting, you know, Curanderismo the focus of my research for my doctorate, I had to get comfortable with that, because I was embarrassed. I thought I was going to be judged by academia, or people who know so much more than me and have, you know, a status higher than I, or just feeling of one: no one’s interested, and two: is it really a real thing?

Or is it just sort of superstitious, you know, things that those people do, whoever those people are. And so I came to realize and be shown time and time again, that that fear, that feeling of inferiority was all me, because I have had nothing but people expressing, if not interest, at least openness and curiosity. And it was me that had to get over it, and let go of those feelings. I had ideas of where they came from, but accepting that those were my feelings.

And so, you know, especially the Nursing world, and to all of you that have heard me talk about this in some format or another, thank you for being so open and so kind to me and to my passion, because I can talk about this for days. And that my intention is to be a good steward, for sure, of representing the people, representing the knowledge, representing the practice and being a link to it for others who may be curious or interested.

Nicole Vienneau  37:34

Well, I look forward to following along with you on your journey to see how this all evolves. Yeah.

Caroline Ortiz  37:42

It’ll be a wild ride, Nicole!

Nicole Vienneau  37:44

Alright, let’s go! I’m up for it. So, as we tie things up, I always love to ask the question: what is on your heart that you would like to share with our listeners?

Caroline Ortiz  38:00

So, this is not hard for me. When I think about that, it’s actually a lesson that was shared with me, and it was a comment, really, from a healer, a Curandera– Donya Rita, whom I met in New Mexico and she’s from Mexico. And it’s linked to what I submitted to you as sort of my second title, which was Curandera for One or Curandera of One.

So, a Curandera is a healer in the tradition of Curanderismo, and Maestra Rita is a curandera. And we were having a moment together in class, or actually outside of class but on the campus, and I don’t know what I was telling her, probably sharing some sob story about something. And her response to me is what is on my heart now and on my wrist. I have a bracelet on my wrist that she gave me as a visual physical reminder of this.

She says: “tu eres tu propria Curandera.” And in English is: “you are your own healer.” You are your own healer. And so my title of Curandera of One is I am a Curandera, I am a healer, but of myself. And it’s my intention to keep reminding myself of that, reminding myself of my extraordinary ability to heal.

To heal myself. I am in control. I have agency. I am confident. I am important and worthy and valuable and beloved. And it starts there. It starts there. And so whatever I impart, or I do, or I assist with, with patients, clients, family, friends, as a Nurse, and as a person, it should be through that same lens.

It’s not, you know, we go back to, I’m not fixing them, it is not my job or role, or do I have the capacity to do that, but to share that they, too, are their own healer, and to start there with that absolute knowing. And it is so important because we lose that, we forget that, and we become–

And I say “we” because I’ve seen it in so many people and certainly in myself– we start searching and grasping and looking for things outside of us, or people outside of us, forgetting or ignoring or worse, doubting, that we are our own healers.

And so, that’s what I hold in my heart, is that I remember that. And first start with myself. And let me say I’m still working on that. But I loved that she said that. She is a highly regarded and respected and knowledgeable and capable curandera, and even she told me: “tu eres tu propia curandera.” You are your own healer. That was powerful. And I’ll be forever grateful. And the best gratitude and appreciation that I can give back is to live that, truly. So I will share that with you.

Nicole Vienneau  41:42

And we will take that into our hearts. It is very powerful to be reminded that, yes, I am my own healer. Yes. Well, Caroline, this had been such a wonderful conversation, and I’ve just picked up so many little tidbits of wisdom and powerful, powerful things to think about. So, as we tie up our last few moments together, if people would like to find you, how could they connect with you?

Caroline Ortiz  42:14

So yeah, so you can certainly find me on LinkedIn. That is sort of the extent of my social media presence, as far as I know. So yeah, I’m on LinkedIn, and really happy to connect with anyone.

Nicole Vienneau  42:30

Awesome. And we will share our links, share the links on our show notes. In addition, you have a few publications that are coming out, don’t you?

Caroline Ortiz  42:39

Yes, I appreciate the plug. They are articles that are about my preliminary research in the use of traditional medicine from Mexico, among Mexican American women in South Texas. So, from my home area. I’m looking at, you know, what traditional medicine do they use? What do they use it for?

How did they learn it? What do they wish their healthcare providers knew about what they do at home? So, all related, and that is all part of my research. But they are still looking for a journal home. So, we’ll see.

Nicole Vienneau  43:23

Good. Yeah, we all are looking for a place to land, aren’t we?

Caroline Ortiz  43:28

We certainly are.

Nicole Vienneau  43:29

So, Caroline, thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing your wisdom, your beautiful spirit. We’ve learned so much from you.

Caroline Ortiz  43:41

Well, I really am appreciative of your generous time and reaching out and the opportunity. So, may it live on in whatever form it needs to.

Nicole Vienneau  43:52

Yes, yes. Thanks, again.

Caroline Ortiz  43:56

Thank you.

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