Ep41: Appreciating the Energy of the Endocannabinoid System in Nursing- Heidi Irene Martell, MA, BSN, BA, RN, HWNC-BC, HNB-BC, CCBCP, CYT

About Heidi Irene Martell

Heidi Irene Martell, MA, BSN, BA, RN, HWNC-BC, HNB-BC, CCBCP, CYT

Heidi’s diverse life experiences led her to her true calling as a Cannabis Nurse Consultant & Holistic Nurse Coach.


Following a car accident when she was 18, Heidi spent 5 years filled with surgeries followed by periods of recovery and rehabilitation. During this time, Heidi discovered photography as a therapeutic means of exploring & transcending physical pain. She continued these investigations while pursuing her MA in photography and also began expanding her explorations of illness, grief, and healing to include the study of psychology, as well as the alternative healing methods of Mindfulness Meditation, Kundalini Yoga & Meditation, Ayurveda, Reiki, and Pilates.


Upon returning from her yoga studies in India, Heidi gave birth at home to her 3 biological children and adopted her beloved daughter Luna, who was battling liver cancer. As Luna’s cancer persisted, Heidi began studying nursing in order to be able to better care for Luna.


With her BSN RN, Heidi predominantly cared for adult & pediatric stem cell transplant patients. Shortly after Luna’s passing, two of Heidi’s sons received oncological diagnoses. As Heidi had already been researching cannabis as medicine, she incorporated cannabis into her sons’ therapy regimens while simultaneously becoming certified in Cannabis Nursing. Thereafter, Heidi created Colibris Canna Consulting so that she could help other families like hers.


After relocating to AZ, Heidi then became board-certified in Holistic Nursing as well as Nurse Coaching to better collaborate with & provide ongoing support to her patients & clients from an integrative health perspective. Heidi also used this time to become a certified provider of Compassionate Bereavement Care & Pediatric End of Life Care.


To more fully serve her clients, Heidi is continues her entheogenic studies, which hold so much promise for myriad health & wellness challenges—ranging from depression, anxiety, PTSD, end of life fears, addiction, OCD, chronic pain, and so much more. Heidi has particular interests in cannabis & entheogenic education, consulting, and coaching related to pain, insomnia, trauma, anxiety & depression, end of life & grief, substance use disorders, and neurological disorders.



Ep41: Appreciating the Energy of the Endocannabinoid System in Nursing- Heidi Irene Martell, MA, BSN, BA, RN, HWNC-BC, HNB-BC, CCBCP, CYT Highlights

“…when the body is out of balance, the endocannabinoid system tries to rebalance it. We have an actual retrograde signaling with the endocannabinoid system so if there’s some imbalance and the body wants to try to bring it back to homeostasis, you’re going to see this signaling.” ~Heidi Irene Martell, MA, BSN, BA, RN, HWNC-BC, HNB-BC, CCBCP, CYT


  • Nurses must learn about the endocannabinoid system.  It is integral to practice.
  • Nurse Coaching allows Nurses to combine the science and art of Nursing together with healing and desires in a holistic perspective
  • A Nursing career lets us to adapt, change, and adjust to our personal and professional goals
  • There can be a deep grief when a Nurse leaves the bedside to find another Nursing role

Resources and Links

CannyNurse® Specialty Program with the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy

Integrative Nurse Coach Certificate Program

American Cannabis Nurses Association

Colibris Canna Consulting

Speak with Heidi as an INCA Admissions Specialist at hmartell@inursecoach.com

Ep41: Ep41: Appreciating the Energy of the Endocannabinoid System in Nursing- Heidi Irene Martell, MA, BSN, BA, RN, HWNC-BC, HNB-BC, CCBCP, CYT 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 today we are welcoming Heidi Irene Martell. She is living in Tucson, Arizona, and she is the founder and owner of Colibris Canna Consulting and Coaching.

She is also a Board-Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. She is doing amazing things in her community. And I am so excited because I think that we live like a few miles away from each other, and now we’re connecting here for the podcast. And so welcome, Heidi.

Heidi Irene Martell  00:43

Thank you so much. My privilege.

Nicole Vienneau  00:46

So glad you are here. And we’d love to take a little trip down history lane and discover how you decided to become a Nurse.

Heidi Irene Martell  00:57

I had a very winding path to find my way to Nursing, and particularly to Nurse Coaching and consulting. So it was not my first career by any means. So I was working in photography for many years, living in New York City. And at a certain point, creating work for others to view or for galleries and critics really was not what I was passionate about, or why I was creating art.

And I had been using it a lot for self healing, kind of working with my body through photography in order to almost transcend my body through my body, if that makes sense, based on a car accident that I had been in when I was 18 years old.

So I had a lot of surgeries and struggles thereafter with some of my physical health and wellbeing, and I found that art and photography in particular was a really great way for me to explore and manage a lot of the challenges that I had going on.

And Nursing kind of crept its way in slowly as I pursued photography and my Kundalini Yoga training, and mindfulness meditation training. And all things just kind of led me eventually to come to a place where I felt I could unite all of my passions for healing and art and yoga and transformation. And to do that through my career as a Nurse.

I also became a Nurse, most importantly, because my daughter Luna was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma when she was six. And then she had a lot of recurrences. And I really felt that I needed to educate myself so that I would be able to best manage her care and care for her as well.

Nicole Vienneau  02:52

What a beautiful, winding story to discover Nursing. I mean, starting off in the arts, in photography. New York City, you said?

Heidi Irene Martell  03:06

Yeah, downtown. I loved it.

Nicole Vienneau  03:08

Wow. Yeah. But then also noting that you were in a car crash at a young age— 18 years old. And that art and photography especially really helped you through discovering more wellbeing and healings with that and from that. And then you got into yoga and mindfulness along the journey of health and wellbeing— the continuous journey. Your daughter, Luna— and she helped direct you to find your path in Nursing.

Heidi Irene Martell  03:40

Yeah, I think it was actually Luna and my paternal grandmother, whose name is Irene. She had such a strange and interesting connection. So, the car accident that I was in was on September 15th, in 1990. And I had a compression fracture, one of my vertebrae, and my grandmother, four years later, was diagnosed with a compression fracture on that same date of September 15th. And it was just one of those things.

So I think, honestly, you know, she was probably my first inspiration that put Nursing on the map a little bit for me, because I did help care for her at home. She was diagnosed with bone cancer subsequently, and, you know, watching her and wanting to care for her, and then Luna kind of being this other beautiful soul who came into my life. And the two of them, I think, really inspired me not only to become a Nurse, but really to work with oncology and cancer patients predominantly.

Nicole Vienneau  04:43

It’s so wonderful to have such inspiration to guide us to the right path. So tell us also a little bit about how you discovered Nurse Coaching.

Heidi Irene Martell  04:58

Nurse Coaching was such a blessing to find, and I feel this way, I feel so many of us, we just find it when the time is right in our lives, in our careers. For me, I had been living in California originally, when I started Nursing school at UCSF, and worked predominantly in stem cell transplant. We moved to Texas for a clinical trial for Luna at one point.

And I worked there predominantly in a small med surg hospital, to be close to the house— that was close to home for her. And when we made the move to Arizona, I really was questioning my desire to keep working in a hospital or in kind of a fairly acute outpatient clinic setting for bone marrow transplant and stem cell transplant.

And so the move to Arizona gave me a chance to really take stock and see where I wanted to go moving forward, because I was at a change in my life at that point. And so I did make a change to work in pediatrics, allergy and immunology, which was not at all what I had been doing in the past. But it was a really good move for me for a time— I was working at Banner.

And when COVID hit, around that time I had been in— I guess a little while prior to that— I had been in another car accident, unfortunately, and suffered a traumatic brain injury. And that really made me take pause— I need to take, obviously, some time off of Nursing. And with COVID hitting as well, it was extremely challenging for me to wear a mask and glasses and a face shield because my vision had been affected by the concussion and the traumatic brain injury.

And so I started trying to work from home, helping out with a lot of COVID screenings and things like that. And eventually, you know, I said I need to find something aside from my business that I had been running, called Colibris Canna Consulting, working with educating patients and their families regarding the endocannabinoid system and how cannabinoids might be helpful adjunctive treatment for a lot of cancer patients.

So I had been working, running that business on the side, and working as a traditional Nurse as well. When I took a step back after the accident and COVID, I was searching how can I work from home and still serve my patients and families and clients. And I was on a Facebook page for the American Cannabis Nurses Association, and happened to see a post that popped up.

Someone was asking about Nurse Coaching programs. And it was just that moment where I saw it, I clicked on it, I started reading about it, and I knew that this was a way I could still, you know, serve people, have those beautiful interactions. I love psychology. I had actually started a PhD program before I left for India in the past as well.

And this is just a beautiful way to marry all of my desires in a way that I could talk with my clients and patients openly with that holistic perspective. I was not allowed to talk with my cancer patients regarding cannabis. That was extremely challenging for me, which is part of the reason why I did branch out and start my own business to be able to help families like that.

And for myself, we definitely have had three oncological diagnoses with three of our children, unfortunately, in our family, and so this was just another avenue of me researching for my children that then led me to a place where I wanted to serve other families.

Nicole Vienneau  08:41

I so love hearing our different Nurse Coaches’ stories and one: how they became a Nurse— that is always so fascinating to me and our listeners— and I know the stories to discover Nurse Coaching. And the very first thing you said was I feel so blessed to have discovered Nurse Coaching.

And the roundabout ways that we find it, and you happened to find yours in a group that you love— cannabis Nursing. And found that, oh, I should probably look into this because it’s gonna help me do what I do.

Heidi Irene Martell  09:18

Part of what drew me to the Coaching as well was that when I provide medical cannabis consultations, I educate and go over research and things like that, but normally, it’s, you know, one kind of long consultation and then occasionally we’ll have some follow ups to tweak things.

But a lot of my families and clients need more ongoing support, so the Coaching piece was just the perfect addition. You know, when you’re going through treatment, or you’re going through loss or grief, or trying to manage or conceive of end of life and what that might look like, it’s really, really important to have the support.

And I know that Coaching has been very, very helpful for a lot of my clients to be able to have that ongoing support and collaboration while they’re going through treatment, in addition to, you know, more educational consults. So the Coaching piece is really important for me to be able to offer my clients and families.

Nicole Vienneau  10:15

So good, so good. Yeah, because you can help people on one level with education, and, you know, that’s good and fine, but there’s this whole other side that, you know, we can tend to be lacking in in the healthcare system, and that is the support.

And that is the discussion and, you know, checking in and making sure that people do understand what’s going on and how they’re feeling about it. I mean, all of those things really affect the way that our patients and clients make decisions and follow treatment as well.

Heidi Irene Martell  10:51


Nicole Vienneau  10:52

So, I’d love— and I know our listeners do, too— we’d love to know, maybe, a day in the life of Heidi Irene Martell. What does it look like?

Heidi Irene Martell  11:06

Well, first of all, it involves being woken up by one of our three cats at about three or four in the morning.

Nicole Vienneau  11:15

Right? Those cats, those crazy cats!

Heidi Irene Martell  11:20

I love them. I love them. They are such amazing fur babies for me and just provide so much love and affection and comfort. So yes, I let them wake me up, and I don’t wake them up when they’re sleeping, because they’re just amazing creatures. So I wake up fairly early I would say, nowadays.

Really just make sure— I still have two of my boys living at home— they’re 10th graders in high school. So kind of make sure they’re up and getting ready and have everything that they need before they leave for the day. And then it really just depends. My work is varied.

So you know, clients for the cannabis consulting will vary from week to week, just depending on, you know, referrals that they received or recommendations. So it’ll depend on how many clients I might have for the consulting piece. The same goes for the Coaching. So that really varies from week to week.

I’m also very grateful and I love helping out with the INCA admissions team as well, because any opportunity I have to hear another Nurse’s story, and to know that they’re going to join and help grow this profession— which I really think is the future of healthcare— it’s just so amazing.

So I also work on a varied schedule with INCA for admissions as well, helping prospective registrants kind of hear about all of our programs and see what might be the best fit for them. So that’s kind of from the workpiece what happens during the day. I also love to either do a practice of Kundalini yoga, or Pilates, or an elliptical. So those are kind of my three movement pieces.

Pilates really saved me after my car accident. I had several surgeries and through PT, I developed an abdominal hernia. And it was a friend of mine who was a dancer and said, “Hey, maybe you might want to try this.” This is a long time ago when Pilates really wasn’t very well known.

But it focuses on deep abdominal and back strengthening, which was perfect for me, and really was created for dancers who are rehabilitating from injuries. So that was kind of my first passion there. So I will do one of those practices just to kind of keep my body and my mind healthy.

I do usually start my morning with an 11 minute mindfulness meditation. Oftentimes, it’s a Metta or loving kindness meditation, which I love. And then you know, cooking sometimes, sometimes not. Going to soccer games, cross country meets, and all that good stuff.

And of course, you know, I spend time… I love researching, so any new research that comes out regarding healthcare, regarding cannabinoids, regarding, nowadays also, psychedelics and their role in healthcare or their possible role for health and wellbeing. So I spend a lot of time reading and taking courses online or in person when available to make sure that I know as much as I can, so I can offer as much as possible to my clients.

Nicole Vienneau  14:25

It’s a continuous journey, isn’t it? As far as learning and trying to stay on top of things, on top of being a mom, on top of the work, the things you must do. So many things, and I know that you have such a passion for the endocannabinoid system, how that helps your patients and clients, and then entheogens. So maybe you can tell us a little bit more about those two areas or both areas or however you would like to approach it to just help our Nurses understand a little bit more.

Heidi Irene Martell  15:03

Yeah, so I mean, the endocannabinoid system, at this point is really a necessity for all healthcare professionals to learn about it if they haven’t already. It’s unfortunate that, you know, not in my Nursing training and not that I know of in medical training, there was no dedication to teaching about the endocannabinoid system.

And it really is a master regulatory system in our body, and we have receptors all throughout the body. And when that system is out of balance, there is a theory that’s called, by Dr. Ethan Russo, it’s called the Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome.

And that’s really a theory that seems to be bearing out to be true over time with research, but that when when the body is out of balance, the endocannabinoid system tries to rebalance it. So we have a way of signaling and you have an actual retrograde signaling with the endocannabinoid system so that if there’s some imbalance and the body wants to try to bring it back to homeostasis, you’re going to see this signaling.

So the endocannabinoids we make internally— anandamide and to 2-AG— those get released in order to try and rebalance the body, and then they get broken down by enzymes. The problem is some diseases and disorders are more advanced, and our body is not able to bring it back into balance just with our own endocannabinoid system.

And so that’s where phytocannabinoids, or cannabis and certain cannabinoids in particular, can be extremely helpful, either for symptom management, for sleep, for nausea, as well as depression and anxiety, a lot of neurological challenges.

So it’s just a really important tool that we have in our toolbox that when the body is not able to regulate itself as well as it should be, that supplementing with phytocannabinoids as an adjunct to traditional treatment or on its own, can be extremely, extremely therapeutic. And without causing a lot of the side effects that traditional pharmaceuticals do.

And that helps a lot of my families and clients kind of narrow down, kind of move from polypharmacy down to, you know, one or two pharmaceutical medications that they might need. There’s been just so much research in so many different areas, there’s a lot more to do. But there really has been some great strides with brain tumors, which I know a lot about because one of my sons was diagnosed with one.

And he’s done well with a combination of surgical resection and cannabis, in his case. So CBD is a neuro protectant. It’s a wonderful adjunct for someone who’s going through those types of surgeries where you’re going to have a lot of neuroinflammation and potential damage.

So that was kind of my passion initially, was learning about it for my child and then realizing how little information was out there and then gaining access to as much research as I could get my hands on, and doing as much training as I could in order to be able to then help other families. So I truly believe in cannabis as a medicine, depending on the person, the situation.

It definitely does not work for everyone or help everyone, but it does help a large portion of at least the clients that I see. And, you know, the entheogens or psychedelic piece, we’re getting a lot of news around that now. But I definitely have been studying that a lot in the past— I guess, maybe the past four or five years.

Because things like psilocybin mushrooms and LSD and certain other types of psychedelics or entheogens can be extremely helpful when working with patients and clients at end of life. So as a Nurse, it’s extremely, it’s a really, really good tool that hopefully over time, with all the research and pushes to legalize some of these plants and fungi, you know, for end of life cancer patients, having a single psilocybin experience helps so many really become more at ease with their end of life, with where their journey is leading them.

And they feel much more at peace over time and through their treatments to the point where they do end up passing away. But it’s definitely a tool for hospice and end of life that I think would be very important for us to try to incorporate into Nursing practice.

Nicole Vienneau  19:43

Thank you for bringing this all to our awareness, and thank you for doing all the years of research about this too. You know, in your business, Colibris Canna Consulting, there are so many questions that people have about this.

And, you know, your vision of offering this to families, other families who need assistance, who are looking for help, because they’re really not necessarily finding what they need on their journey, and so it’s just a beautiful thing to hear you talk about all of this and your approach to offering this to families.

Heidi Irene Martell  20:22

I mean, in addition, I have to say, you know, there’s so much research coming out with psychedelics showing… I mean, we are at a time in our world where we, I believe, we need much more kindness and connection. And you know, the psychedelics or entheogens, a lot of them create that space for us, they create that sense of, you know, connection and oneness and kindness and loving nature toward one another.

And sometimes, a little bit of dissolution of our own ego, so that we can kind of see beyond it and connect with other people. So I mean, these psychedelic medicines have been helping with addiction, with anxiety and depression, with so many areas of our life where challenges exist, or mental health treatment is not helping in the way that our system is created.

It’s really, in my opinion, extremely broken. And I’ve explored this a lot with one of my sons, the one who has the brain tumor. He’s had a lot of psychological challenges, as well, as a result, and the mental health system is really not in any way prepared to handle and interact with compassion and kindness and grace, with anyone who is struggling with some of those issues.

And so the entheogens, or the psychedelics, are really opening up a new window for help in those areas. And I feel that that is just so important for just us as a local community, and a global community, to have access to some of these tools. And the ability for people to feel reconnected, to feel a sense of awe, or wonder, or belief in the future. And so you can tell I’m very passionate about them.

Nicole Vienneau  22:10

Yeah, I love your passion, and people’s passions for what they love and enjoy and just are so dedicated to are what move our profession forward. If there are not people like you, who are really interested in this, and doing the research for it, then the voices are not going to be heard.

And so I really, for one, appreciate you doing this work and opening our eyes up to it and seeing it and, you know, then we, too, can connect with you. Or we can, you know, go on our own journey and discover more about it. Because just talking about it brings the awareness to it, brings up the curiosity, brings up questions, and then how we pursue that, of course, is our path. So, yeah. So, thank you.

Heidi Irene Martell  22:57

Absolutely. I’m a total nerd, I love doing all the research. That’s my thing. And on top of that, you know, when I first started researching this, I mean, I still… you know, there’s a lot of stigma attached to cannabis medicine or psychedelic medicine. And so it took me a long time to just even put myself out there even though I knew what I had researched and what I believed in.

Just that stigma that can happen, especially when you’re a healthcare professional. And so at a certain point, I realized it was important for me to come out of the closet, so to speak, and really share this because, you know, people would not have even expected it coming from me or a Nurse or, you know, however it may have played out. But I found it was really important for me to at least put myself out there, raise the topics and share what I knew if people had questions or interest.

Heidi Irene Martell  23:18

Yes. And the thing is, is that you have been exploring this in your own family life, as well.

Heidi Irene Martell  23:56

Yes. Absolutely.

Nicole Vienneau  23:58

So, real life experience instead of just textbook kind of experience.

Heidi Irene Martell  24:02

Absolutely. I mean, part of what sent me on that direction years ago and researching it was I ended up coming across research by, and lectures and teachings by Ram Dass (Richard Alpert) originally, when he was doing some of the research at Harvard with Timothy Leary, and he was just a beautiful spiritual teacher— amazing lectures. And I used to… I’d ride the bus.

I was working on a yoga study with breast cancer patients at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, coordinating the program there, and it was about an hour subway ride or maybe a half hour bus ride for me to get there. So two days a week that I worked there, and so I would take Ram Dass’s lectures.

I had a whole stack of them on cassette and I would just bring my little recorder with me.

And on all my rides there and back I would listen just to his wisdom and teachings. You know, that actually led me to the joy of kirtan and kind of singing with Krishna Das and that led me to making my way to India for some of my advanced yoga training as well as to spend some time in the ashram where Ram Dass and Krishna Das first kind of experienced their spiritual awakenings, I guess you would say.

So that’s kind of where I started. I had these beautiful teachers, you know, in person, who inspired me and they really opened up my eyes to some of the potential healing through a lot of these practices, as well as some of the plant medicines. So, it just kind of came full circle after maybe 30 years, I guess.

Nicole Vienneau  25:34

I know, I was imagining you on the bus with your cassette tapes. Some of our listeners would be like: what’s a cassette tape?

Heidi Irene Martell  25:41

I know! But it was! They were on cassettes.

Nicole Vienneau  25:45

They are these little plastic things. You put it in your… what were those things called, where you latch it onto your belt?

Heidi Irene Martell  25:54

Oh gosh, I don’t know. I remember I had a Sony Walkman.

Nicole Vienneau  25:58

Yeah, the Walkman! That’s what it is, the Walkman.

Heidi Irene Martell  26:03

I know I dated myself, it’s okay.

Nicole Vienneau  26:05

It is okay. Because we look back to our history, right? I mean, we honor our history. And all of those years of you dedicating your hours on the bus to listen and learn and be inspired and then move into other areas of practice that just make you more of the incredible human that you are, and your willingness to share all of that with so many people.

Heidi Irene Martell  26:29

Yeah, amazing. There’s so many amazing beings out there to learn from, so I just feel extremely privileged, you know, especially in New York City. I mean, they have the Insight Meditation Society there, which is wonderful. You could go to just sit in meditation with really wonderful teachers like Sharon Salzberg and Mark Epstein.

I actually spent some time… Mark is a psychiatrist and medical doctor, and he focuses a lot on Theravada Buddhist meditation, and I had the privilege of working with him in therapy for some time as well. And so I think just meeting all of these people at the time of my life that I did, really gave me so many tools, opened up my world so wide. And you know, I’m just grateful to them every day.

Nicole Vienneau  27:15

So along your journey in Nurse Coaching, all of this beautiful energy and education and passion and connection and learning— all of this gathered up in your heart. If you could share, coming from your heart, what would you share with our Nurse Coaching community?

Heidi Irene Martell  27:40

I feel for me, I really feel that in order to fulfill my soul’s purpose, that my role as a Nurse Coach, and as a human being in so many other categories there, but is to really uplift and elevate and serve all the people that I am working with, and walking alongside, with kindness and compassion and grace. And I really believe that, you know, as a Nurse Coach, we are uniquely positioned to see and interact with the whole being— that client.

And I really feel that through uplifting them, we uplift ourselves, we really serve our soul’s purpose. And it’s why it’s just such a beautiful process for me. Every client I have, every Coaching session is so unique and beautiful. And I always learn from all of those sessions. I get so much out of that work.

And I really believe that all of us— so many of us— went into Nursing with the idea that this is how we wanted to engage with our clients and our patients. This is how we wanted to care for them and walk alongside them. And unfortunately, our medical system is really about disease management and polypharmacy at this point, and I don’t think that’s why most of us went into Nursing.

It was sad for me to leave the hospital because I really loved my patients and did everything I could to care for them, and never had enough time, no matter how long I stayed after or how early I arrived prior. So I did feel a sadness or a loss there. However, I really felt I could do much better work in the capacity that I am now.

Nicole Vienneau  29:23

If you don’t mind, I’d love to chat a little bit more about the grief associated with leaving the bedside. Because I too felt that when I left the bedside. And I left… of course everyone may be leaving, or not everyone may be leaving, although there is such a huge amount of Nurses who are leaving the bedside right now.

They’re not doing that lightly. They’re not making those choices lightly. Nursing is a passion, it is a deep need, a deep seed within our hearts and souls that we love our Nursing profession and we love what we do as Nurses at the bedside. And so yes, let’s talk a little bit about the grief associated with leaving that type of work.

Heidi Irene Martell  30:09

I think, you know, even when I was in Nursing school— I was at UCSF, they have a program with a masters entry program in Nursing. So because I had a bachelor’s in another field and a master’s in another field, I kind of slotted into a more accelerated Nursing program.

But even then, when I was writing papers, and I was looking at how I could improve on the stem cell transplant for how I can improve in the kind of labor and delivery floor, what was evidence based, what wasn’t, and all the papers I wrote, and all the research I did was really trying to figure out how we could fix some of the broken parts of the system and really implement evidence based care.

Part of that being, you know, having a palliative care console upon getting admitted to the stem cell transplant floor, you know, just to have people introduced to all the possibilities and services that may be available to them through their treatments.

But what I found was, regardless of how well I wrote, or how much research I could provide, to support the idea of maybe changing a practice in the hospital, there was just so much bureaucracy and so much pushback that, you know, I even started feeling discouraged as I was studying to become a Nurse in that sense.

I obviously still carried on, I wanted to learn, I was still passionate, but what I found was, over time, like working on the floor, I could never… I never had enough time to properly care for any of my patients. To the point where, you know, I had six patients, I’m giving blood to one, I’ve got someone’s O2 saturation dropping in another room, I can’t leave one, my charge Nurse is on a code somewhere else.

The situation just was so unsafe, and I could not, no matter how quickly I worked and how much I did, I could never properly care for any of them. And that made me so sad, because in part there were some Nurses, unfortunately, who really did not love their career anymore as a Nurse. And so they were really kind of just going through the motions, but not really attending to patients the way that they needed to be.

And so I knew my leaving was going to take away my care for those patients. But at the same time, I realized that, you know, I am eventually going to make a mistake that I will not be able to live with, because I’m going to harm someone just because there were too many patients, too much going on, and not enough support. And so there was a grieving process for me to leave that setting, because I loved it so much.

And I love my patients and the interactions and all of it, but I couldn’t stay under those circumstances. And I think that’s why a lot of people are, you know, continuing to leave the field and hopefully coming to grow our side of thing. Not that we don’t need hospital based Nurses, but I really do think we need a lot of changes in that system to support our Nurses, to support evidence based care.

Nicole Vienneau  33:11

So true. Yes. How do you feel that Nurse Coaching can support our Nurses?

Heidi Irene Martell  33:16

Well, I mean, I would love to have Nurse Coaching on every hospital floor, to actually be present for the Nurses on the floor. You know, not as a resource Nurse, but really as a Nurse Coach. You know, whether it’s burnout, something’s going on in your life, what you’re trying to work toward that’s going to make you feel more supported, and better able to support your clients and your patients on the hospital floor.

So I really think it’s important to have Nurse Coaches introduced into that system. But in addition, a lot of people, they’ll go see a primary care doctor, and they’re managing diabetes or congestive heart failure. They go in for their 20 minute appointment, the doctor tells them what they need to be doing, you know, top down, and then they leave.

The patient doesn’t even necessarily understand why they need to be doing what they’re doing. Or, you know, even what the doctor is suggesting, why it needs to happen, or how they can make it happen based on their circumstance. Do they not live in a community where they’re gonna have access to, you know, fresh fruits and vegetables, when you’re being counseled, this is what you should be eating.

Do they have the funds to do that? You know, there’s so many areas where that one 20 minute, 15 minute appointment does so little to actually help improve the health and wellbeing of any of the patients.

And so I feel that having a Nurse Coach on board in traditional medical practices, in naturopathic practices, functional medicine practices, I really think that’s where we can actually support our clients to help them achieve those modifications and interactions that they want to have in their life.

But that they cannot just do by having that one 20 minute appointment where they’re told: okay, you need to do this, cut back on your weight, eat this and, you know, go home, without any additional support about how to make that happen, or questions about why it’s not happening right now.

So I really see Nurse Coaches in all walks of life. I don’t see them as case managers, which oftentimes, jobs are now mentioning Nurse Coaching in regard to case management. I do see it as different from case management, because with Coaching, the clients are coming… choosing to come to us.

So there’s already that first step, that pre-contemplation step, as opposed to calling someone up to manage a disease as a case manager, and providing information or guidance that people aren’t, you know, reaching out to you on their behalf to get that information.

Nicole Vienneau  35:44

Yeah, I see that a lot, too, in job descriptions of more Case Manager. Navigator is another one that I see. Yeah, we definitely in those roles, you could be using Nurse Coaching skills, however, though, the relationship I think is a little bit different as specifically in the Coaching process. And using that, just utilizing that.

I say just utilizing that— we of course are also using our science base and our art of caring in every relationship that we are coming to, and I feel it is the beauty of Nurse Coaching that we have so much knowledge base behind us. And we are practicing from an evidence based… in an evidence based way.

And we are coming from it knowing the perspective of the healthcare system as well, and understanding it in order to help our clients navigate through that as well. So there are so many benefits to using a Nurse Coach. And I really appreciate your idea of having Nurse Coaches on the floors to help fellow Nurses as they navigate their own space in healthcare as well.

And the trauma associated with some of the things that Nurses face on a daily basis. And the things going on in their personal lives and how that affects them at work. I even think of pre-menopause and menopause and the stages of life that Nurses go through and how we are really supporting, and actually really not supporting Nurses at the bedside. And that’s why so many Nurses are leaving.

Heidi Irene Martell  37:29

Absolutely. I mean, in addition, you know, as a Coach, we get to bring in all our varied backgrounds and knowledge. So, you know, when I work with a client, like I can bring in some of my study that I did in India of Ayurvedic healing, and I can bring in kundalini yoga, I can bring in mindfulness meditation, I can bring in Reiki, you know, all of the things that I was passionate about that I wanted to learn, that I felt were so beneficial, I can now share that as well with my clients in that Coaching setting.

And it’s just… it’s so well suited. And that’s the way that I feel like I can interact with so many facets that my client has, so that I can see them in so many different lights. So I just… I feel that Nursing is just the culmination of all of my passions.

And so many of us as Nurses have a lot of other skills and talents and healing modalities to offer their clients in addition, you know, through those Coaching sessions. So I just find them to be so incredibly powerful and healing in ways that it’s very challenging to find in traditional medical model at this point.

Nicole Vienneau  38:40

Yes, everyone listening, sign up to work with a Nurse Coach.

Heidi Irene Martell  38:47

Nicole, I have seen that, I saw a few postings on doctors’ websites. You know, need some extra support? You need a Nurse, right? So, I’m really, really… it’s very encouraging to see some of that now, where doctors are already, as part of their model, including links or reference or having someone on staff that’s a Nurse who can actually, you know, help them move forward with those goals. So, I love it.

Nicole Vienneau  39:16

Yes, yes. It’s so overwhelming to get the list of to do’s at the end of the 20 minute doctor appointment and then figure out where in the world am I supposed to start? And the Nurse Coaches can help with that and help, yeah, in so many ways. You’ve already mentioned so many wonderful things. Oh, my goodness, our time is almost up. But we could talk about this for hours, couldn’t we?

Heidi Irene Martell  39:42

I’m so sorry, I’m a little chatterbox.

Nicole Vienneau  39:44

No, this is wonderful! We could chat about this. I mean, we’re so passionate about it and, you know, getting the word out about Nurse Coaching. So, how can people find you if they’re looking for you, or when they’re looking for you?

Heidi Irene Martell  39:59

They can go to either my website, which is colibriscanna.com. Or they can write me directly: heidi@colibriscanna.com. And of course, I also have my special hmartell@inursecoach.com. So you can reach me any of those ways. I’d be happy… you know, I love sharing what I know, so if anyone is passionate or has questions, please feel free to reach out.

Nicole Vienneau  40:31

Yes, you can reach Heidi in so many different facets— one as an Integrative Nurse Coach Academy Admission Specialist. So, Nurses if you are thinking about becoming a Nurse Coach, you can speak directly with Heidi, and I’m going to share the link and the email for Heidi to reach her as an Integrative Nurse Coach Academy Admissions Specialist.

And you could also reach out to Heidi through Colibris Canna Consulting and Coaching, as well, to discover more about what she’s doing with her business. And Heidi, I just want to thank you so much for joining us on Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast. You brought so much knowledge and wisdom and wonder to our podcast today.

Heidi Irene Martell  41:17

Thank you so much. It has been such a privilege and I just want to close with one encouragement, as it may be, that INCA has so many specialty programs in cannabis, in end of life, in meditation. We have a yoga coming up in 2023, in addition to the Coaching and functional medicine.

So, I really encourage all people who are listening to this to consider some of those programs to just add more tools to your toolbox to work with your patients and clients, because the programs are beautiful and it just opens up the world of what we can offer.

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