68: Trust the Whispers- Judy Ratliff MA, RN, NC-BC

About Judy Ratliff


Judy Ratliff MA, RN, NC-BC


Judy Ratliff has worked as a nurse in healthcare for 30+ years.   She has always had a passion for holistic healing and healing modalities that include body, mind, & spirit.

She has a Master of Arts in Holistic Health and is a board-certified Integrative Nurse Coach.

Judy loves working as an instructor for the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. In her free time, she enjoys spending time in nature and attending music festivals. Continuing with an interest in holistic health, she is a certified aromatherapist and is pursuing a Master of Science in Medical Cannabis Therapeutics. 



68: Trust the Whispers- Judy Ratliff MA, RN, NC-BC Highlights

“As Nurse coaches, we often in coaching sessions, or when we’re talking to people, we often really want to see those big aha moments, or those clients come up with these phenomenal, smart goals.

And sometimes, especially when we’re Nurse Coach students, we think that maybe a session wasn’t overly productive if we didn’t have those.

But it really isn’t about those grandiose, big aha moments, it really is about those subtle shifts that we often are a part of, but we don’t realize that we’re a part of when we’re working with our clients.” ~ Judy Ratliff MA, RN, NC-BC

 Ah-Ha Moments

  • It’s OK to not have all the answers all the time.  Listen for the whispers and follow them.  Trust.
  • Bring joy into your world in whatever way you can- even being a clown!
  • Facing yourself is some of the most important, impactful work you will do
  • Patients are number one, yes, and so are you!
  • It’s imperative that Nurses understand the basics of cannabis and become informed on this topic and how it affects our culture, our patients and the practice of Nursing
  • Death and dying are integral pieces of life and living

Links and Resources

Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast

CannyNurse program

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

End of Life Coaching with Jan Booth

Judy’s email

Judy’s LinkedIn


68: Trust the Whispers- Judy Ratliff MA, RN, NC-BC Transcript

Nicole Vienneau  00:00

Welcome, everyone, to the Integrative Nurse Coaches in ACTION! podcast. My name is Nicole Vienneau. I am your host and also a Board Certified Integrative Nurse Coach. I come to you today from Tucson, Arizona. And today is exciting. We have a Board Certified Nurse Coach all the way from Afton, Minnesota. 

Only four inches of snow up in Afton, Minnesota right now. She is also a Nurse who is in wellness programming. She is senior faculty with the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. She is completing her master’s degree in Medical Cannabis Therapeutics. And she also has a Master’s in Holistic Health. And as we were talking, I was like well, gee, Judy Ratliff, you’re a badass! So, we welcome Judy.

Judy Ratliff  01:00

Thanks, Nicole!

Nicole Vienneau  01:03

We’re so glad you’re here today.

Judy Ratliff  01:06

Thank you. I’m excited to be here. 

Nicole Vienneau  01:08

Good. Yes, we’re excited to have you here. And we’d love to learn and be inspired by fellow Nurses in the world. And so we’d also love to take a trip down history lane, find out a little bit about you and your history as far as how did you discover Nursing? And what’s that story?

Judy Ratliff  01:28

Well, you know, those people that you hear about that say oh I knew from a very young age what I wanted to do, I always knew that I wanted to be a Nurse? Well, that was not me. I actually wound up in college at the University of Wisconsin Madison at the age of 18, and really had no clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. 

I find it fascinating that we think that 18 year olds should know what they want to do with the rest of their lives. But I went off to school and learned very quickly at 18 that when I’m in an environment in a dorm… dormitory with other 18 year olds, studying was not my priority, because there were just 101 other more fun things to do than that. 

So my first year in college, I really kind of floundered. I was like, Oh, what is it that I want to do with the rest of my life? I thought about physical therapy, I thought about social work, I thought about education. And I just kind of eventually fell into Nursing. Only because I really wanted… I knew I wanted to work with people. 

And I loved the sciences. I loved the anatomy and the physiology and all of that, and I hated math. Well, what can I possibly do that will work with that? And I just kind of fell into Nursing. I thought, well, this kind of sounds cool. So, I did that, and I loved it. I really… I loved the classes. I loved the clinicals. 

I actually had my first senior year because it took me five years to get through college since my freshman year was a bit of a party atmosphere. My first senior year… between my first and second senior years, I had a Nurse student internship in a pediatric hospital. And I actually had my first glimpse of what I consider to be holistic health, which I really didn’t know anything about. 

But I had the opportunity to actually watch a child have a spinal tap performed on them with minimal sedation, using guided imagery. I was fascinated by how I had seen spinal taps done before. And you know, these kids are so sedated and knocked out and then it takes them forever to kind of recover from that. 

And through preparation, this child was able to have a spinal tap with minimal sedation using guided imagery. There was a Nurse practitioner that walked him through this whole procedure and they use the guided imagery. And he did fabulous. And I was blown away at that kind of mind body connection. 

And that was really my first you… know how the universe sends you little waves, little whispers that say, hey, pay attention to this. And at the time, I didn’t know that that was a whisper. But I obviously remember it, you know, 30 plus years later to think wow, that was just really fascinating to me. 

And I just kind of put it on the shelf because I was 22 and a new grad and just starting Nursing and getting used to kind of what this was all about. And I wound up working at a pediatric hospital. And my second little glimpse and whisper of holistic health was I had seen a flyer up at the hospital, it said come to the seminar called Humor for the Health of It. 

And I thought, oh, that sounds kind of cool. What’s this all about? And it was a full day seminar and you got free CPUs. And what’s better than free CPUs when you’re a new Nurse? And I thought, Well, I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go hang out and listen to this, and then realized that I was working night shift and had to work the night shift before that seminar. 

I thought to myself, well, you know what, I’m gonna just go anyway, I’ll just go tired. Having no idea what self care was all about, I’m just gonna stay up and go. And it was actually an all day seminar given by Patch Adams. I don’t know if you remember, they had made a movie. It was actually before the movie came out, so I didn’t know who this guy was. 

But here, this clown shows up for an all day seminar. And it’s Patch Adams, and he talked about the healing power of humor in health. And I was so intrigued. And during this eight hour seminar, he gave a little oh, by the way, another thing I do, if anyone is interested, is I take groups of people over to Russia. 

And we spend two weeks in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, and we clown in hospitals, and in orphanages, and on Red Square and on the streets of Russia. So if you’re interested, let me know. And that was like my second little whisper, because I thought, oh, that sounds interesting. So I wrote to them, and six months later, I found myself dressed in full clown garb. 

I’m flying over to Russia for two weeks. And I really got insight into the power of laughter and humor, and being in community and providing and spreading joy in places that are really struggling with being able to be joyful, and in places where their healthcare is not the best. 

Being able to see that power of humor and laughter and how it works, especially with children, was my second little glimpse, whisper from the universe saying, you know, pay attention to this. But that’s really how I initially got into Nursing. It was not a coming out of the womb saying, oh, yeah, I want to be a Nurse. 

It was just kind of this floundering and this skipping along from from place to place, but that’s really then what caught my attention to think, Okay, what’s this holistic health thing all about? And how do I bring more of that into my life? 

Nicole Vienneau  07:43

Oh, Judy. I really… I really want to see a photo of you as a clown.

Judy Ratliff  07:52

I have a few. I do have a few.

Nicole Vienneau  07:56

Oh, it’s so fun. Right? And I really connected with these whispers, things that people… things, experiences, stories that keep showing up and you don’t always pay attention to. And then one day you do, and you’re like, Oh, tell me more. 

Judy Ratliff  08:19


Nicole Vienneau  08:20

And so this whole holistic way of being—  body, mind, spirit—  first with a pediatric spinal tap, no sedation,  just mindfulness, just imagery to prepare the child. And the positive effects of that, I’m sure, were incredible for the family, for the young youngster receiving that care. 

And then being a clown. Just like joyfully, like you said, joy, bringing joy into what we do. And knowing that we’re more than just physical beings. Yeah. So a little bit of floundering at first in your college years, little bit of fun, nothing wrong with that.  

Judy Ratliff  09:06

A lot of fun. A little flounder.

Nicole Vienneau  09:08

My husband and I were talking, chatting about that yesterday, about just our journeys, and, you know, he had some struggles in going to college and, you know, just trying to figure stuff out like you say, at 18. How are we supposed to know what we’re gonna do for the rest of our lives? 

And we went to a fundraiser yesterday and a Nurse from the Nursing school here in Arizona, in Gilbert, Arizona at Tucson, University of Arizona, but she was in Gilbert, which is just down the road from us here. And she said she knew she wanted to be a Nurse right from the get go, right from when she was a little girl. 

And I am so amazed at all of those… I’m so happy for people who know that, right? I wasn’t one of those people either. I’m certainly glad that I did it. But yeah, yeah. Okay. So now we’re at the point where you have two major influences in your life that were guiding you towards holistic Nursing. Now, where are we at in the story?

Judy Ratliff  10:12

Right. So I spent 15 years working in a pediatric hospital, both doing bedside Nursing. And then I moved into doing inpatient case management, because I got to the point at the bedside, which I loved, and I loved working with kids, but I got to that point where I thought, you know, there’s got to be something else to this. 

I felt like all I had time to do was take vital signs and pass medications. And it was so busy, and you had so many patients, I thought, something is missing. So I moved into doing inpatient case management, where I was setting up families to go home with children who were quite sick, whether it was going home on a ventilator and preparing them for that. 

But just kind of looking more at that big picture about health, and what are we doing? And how do we support families. I did that for a few years, but there was still kind of this something… something is still missing from what I’m supposed to be doing. 

So I left the pediatric hospital and moved into a per diem position doing the same thing, from a case management standpoint, but in the adult world. A level one trauma hospital. Because I thought, well, that will at least give me time to explore what else it is that I’m supposed to be doing. 

Because I’m working full time at the children’s hospital—  I just wasn’t really doing anything else. So I went to an on call kind of a per diem position. And one day, another whisper came across my life as it was a, you know, those informational postcards that kind of show up in your mailbox that say, oh, here, this is what’s going on. 

And on my kitchen island was this informational postcard that said, get your master’s in holistic health. And I was like, what is this? And the fact that the postcard even made it into my house, because normally, Brad will stand in the garage with the mail and the recycled junk mail and everything just goes into the junk recycle bin. But this happened to have made it into my house. 

And I thought, I didn’t know you could get a master’s in holistic health. What is this all about? That little whisper came and then I immediately resisted that whisper because I thought I cannot possibly go back to school. Like, I can’t be a graduate student, there’s no way, I’ve been out of school for, you know, 15 plus years, there is no way that I’m going to go back to school. 

And it kept coming back to me and I kept thinking about this and thinking about this. So I said to myself, and to Brad, okay, I’m just gonna go to this informational session. So I can just be reinforced that graduate school is not what I’m supposed to be doing. 

So I went to this informational session, and the first thing that they told us was, oh, if you are in this program, one of the opportunities that you will get during J term during Christmas break, is to go to India as a class, and learn about their holistic practices and what they do. And I thought, Oh, my God, I guess I’m going back to graduate school. 

And I came home and I said, yes, you know what, I guess this is for me. And I wound up back in graduate school, getting my master’s in holistic health and spent a couple of weeks over in India learning about all of the things that they do. And I mean, it was just a fascinating course and a fascinating program. 

And my first year in that program, I met Lindsay Frey, who was another fabulous faculty, senior faculty instructor for INCA. We met. She was also in the program. And it was our third year in school that she said, hey, I’m going to Miami and I’m taking this Nurse Coaching program. 

You should come with me. Right? Another little whisper. And I thought, oh, well, what’s better than being in Miami in November, instead of Minnesota? It’s Miami, the Miami weather is great. So off we went to this Nurse Coach thing that I didn’t know anything about. I hadn’t really heard anything about it. 

And the rest, I guess, is history. We spent the first… you know, it was still when we were meeting in person before everything went online, so we spent a week in Miami. And I know, Nicole, you have also shared that that whole self development piece of the program was a little challenging, a little difference. 

And it was for me too, it was… I was not at all expecting this whole self development thing. And about two days in, I realized, like, oh, I guess I’m not just going to learn the 12 Easy Steps of being a Nurse Coach. There’s this whole self care, self development, self evaluation piece, and I thought, that’s fine, I don’t really need to dive into this world. 

And ironically, when we were in our second year of graduate school, I joined the, “by the way, you have cancer” club, and was diagnosed with breast cancer. So not only was I a graduate student in holistic health, I was a Nurse, and then I got to become a patient, cancer patient in that world, which were all three then colliding, because how did those all work together? 

So then a year later, here I am needing to look into my own self development. And I was not ready for that. So that was actually a struggle. That was a challenge for me, this whole self development piece. And obviously now I’m glad that it happened and things like that. 

But, you know, I often think about, had Lindsay not said, hey, you should come and take this course with me, well, where would I be today? I would not be sitting here. So again, just those little moments that make you say, pay attention. And whether you do or not, I guess it’s our choice. But it’s those little whispers that really make those big changes.

Nicole Vienneau  16:44

And trust. Trust. Yeah. I mean, your friend just says, hey, come with me. We’re gonna go take this class. You know, it’s not just a class, right? It’s an intense learning, and practicing. Let’s travel to Miami. Yeah, that’s exciting. And we’re gonna be in classes the whole time. Right? 

Judy Ratliff  17:04


Nicole Vienneau  17:05

Right. And not even really 100% knowing what you’re getting into. And yet, still, you went. You went.

Judy Ratliff  17:11

Yeah, glad I did. 

Nicole Vienneau  17:13

Yes. Yeah, glad you did, too. And this theme of listening to the whispers, and how often we go through life not really hearing the things we  could hear, we could hear, if we were really slowing down to really pay attention. 

Judy Ratliff  17:35

Right. And sometimes those whispers then need to turn into a little bit more of a yell, right? When we don’t listen, the universe says okay, you didn’t hear that? So let me send you this.

Nicole Vienneau  17:48

Yes, yeah, so true. Sometimes they do turn into a yell, and then basically try and run you over with a truck. Really, you’re paying attention to what the universe really is calling you to do, or try.

Judy Ratliff  18:04


Nicole Vienneau  18:08

So I’d love to just tap back into the self development, self reflection, self awareness, time spent with self, self love, self compassion, and the whole understanding of how important self is in Nursing. I know and see often as I work with Nurses in different facilities, and I work a lot with Nurse residents, Nurses who have just completed their Nursing program and are moving into their first year of being a Nurse in a real facility and working at the bedside. 

I see how there is not a lot of understanding of how important self is. That understanding that our true capacity to be able to care for another person depends on the capacity that we have to care for ourselves. And we’re so pushed and pushed in the direction of, as Nurses in school, take care of the patient. 

Patient is number one, patient, patient, patient. And some programs are starting to implement more self awareness, self love, self respect, all of those things. But I’m still not seeing a huge… I’m still not seeing huge impact on remembering to love yourself really, really what it comes down to. So I’m curious what your thoughts are around that topic.

Judy Ratliff  19:39

I think our Nursing school system needs to change. I think that that need… and I don’t just mean Nursing schools, but medical schools, the entire system. When we think about the systems that we’re in, and how we aren’t focusing on self care of the healthcare professional. 

When you think about medical schools and the hours that they are required to put in, and the lack of sleep, and the lack of diet and the inability to be able to eat sometimes for 24 to 48 hours. And even in Nursing school, right? We’re just pushed through Nursing school, and we don’t really have classes about self care, self development, how do we stop and take care of ourselves? 

How do we stop and fix the wounds of the wounded healer? That isn’t the focus. And we really need to change that from the start. So when Nurses come out of Nursing school, they’re not set up to fail. And they know that if they’re in a system where they’re being asked to do double shifts, and they’re being overloaded with patients, and they need to have those skills to be able to learn: how do I sit with that? 

Or how am I able to say no? How am I able to get through this, and not feel guilty and not put my own health at risk? And when we think about Nursing, just in general, you know, COVID was such a phenomenal example of, in one sense, you know, the first year of COVID, Nurses are put on the pedestal and looked at as heroes. 

And within almost that same year, they’re demonized, because they potentially have opinions about a vaccination. You know, what other profession do you encounter that type of scale with? So just to be able to teach Nurses those skills to say, you know what, I am going to take care of myself, I am going to put myself first and it’s okay. 

I’m not a bad human being because I’m going to care for myself. We need that in Nursing schools so we can set people up for success and for a healthy Nursing career, versus hitting that moral injury and then leaving the profession because they don’t want to be there anymore.

Nicole Vienneau  22:07

Yeah, and both you and I had this… a similar experience, when we were encouraged to actually look at ourselves and face ourselves. All the stories we told ourselves, and, you know, we want to just learn the facts, just the facts, coach, and I don’t need to really worry about myself, because I’m just going to do the things for the others, right? I’m going to take care of someone else. 

And you know, I was a Nurse, at that point, for almost 18 years, I think it was around there. That was a point when I took the Nurse Coaching program. And I had not learned any of those skills along the way, or thought that that was important. I did know… I did understand that I would do a lot of working out and eat right, I had those skills, but none of the skills of like, recognizing that I have a spiritual side to myself and a mind and emotional side to myself that I had been ignoring. 

And no one had ever questioned or had the conversation with me that those were things that were very important for me to be able to continue to do what I was doing at the bedside. Yeah. And so now we’re like, oh, crap. Now, in this program, we are forced… in a loving way, right? We’re not forced. 

I mean, we are choosing. We’re still choosing. Did we want to really pursue that discussion? Did we really want to dive deep? Because we know ourselves in the coaching role, as a coach, you can only go so far with someone as you’ve gone with yourself, and looked at yourself and your own inadequacies and your own needs and things you need to deal with.

Judy Ratliff  23:58

Exactly. I think that… and that I think is part of the, you know, part of the challenge that students hit with this program. I love it. I think it’s great that this program is based… the foundation is about self development. But it really does, especially if you have never encountered that before, you’re kind of thrown into this. And I certainly was not ready. 

You know, I had dealt with cancer the year before, and my way of dealing with that was just to get through it. And what I realized when I started this whole self development piece was, oh my gosh, Judy, you not only need to get through it, but you need to maybe spend some time just sitting with it. 

And that’s not something… that’s not how I coped back then, right? It was like, let’s just get this done. Let’s just get through this and move on. And then here comes this program that’s going to tell me, well, now you need to self reflect. I was like, what? 

Like that’s not really what I was planning on doing, thank you very much. I’m just gonna move through this too. So it really does force you to kind of look at yourself, but how can we coach others if we’re not willing, you know, to look at our own vulnerabilities and things that we need to change?

Nicole Vienneau  25:11

Yes. And it’s such a life long set of skills. You know, it’s not like I just oh, found myself and I’m done. Like, every day I’m more aware of myself. And even yesterday, having a conversation with the dean of a Nursing school, and I felt some triggers as she was talking to me, of being a young Nurse. 

I felt those triggers, those things bristling up on the back of my neck that I don’t agree with anymore. You know, and I had to choose, you know, do you want to say something? Do you want to just let that just be with that…be with those feelings? And maybe talk about them with someone else later? 

Because it wasn’t the time for, you know. But those decisions, like in the moment, I almost found myself saying something, and then I was like, no, it’s okay. You can be with what you’re experiencing, this uncomfortable feeling of disagreements and come inward a little bit and see, why am I feeling those things? 

At one point in time, I may just have blown up, you know, or just shut down completely as well. The two dichotomies of that, right? So yeah, I definitely am so appreciative of the skills that I learned in the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy’s Integrative Nurse Coach program, because they really, truly have changed the way that I show up in the world. I’m very, very thankful for them. 

Judy Ratliff  26:41

Me too. 

Nicole Vienneau  26:45

Yes. Okay, so you went to the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy, Integrative Nurse Coach program in Miami, Florida, with your dear friend, who’s now also senior faculty with the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy. 

Judy Ratliff  27:02


Nicole Vienneau  27:03

Yes. And so you completed the course. And then what happened? What happened from there?

Judy Ratliff  27:07

Yeah, so Lindsay and I, you know, you take the course. And then you come back for six months, and you do your coaching, and then you go back to Miami. And the one thing that we noticed when we went back to Miami, was the profound change that we saw in our fellow Nurse Coach students, and how they were so inspired by this program, how they had these kind of aha moments over the last six months, how they had found a renewed love for Nursing. 

Because so many of them, like so many students seem to be drawn to this program, when they’re really looking for help, when they’re looking for support. When they’re thinking, I’m not sure that I want to be a Nurse anymore. But in my heart, I know I do. But in the environment that I’m currently in, it’s not working for me. 

And we were so inspired by the changes that we saw in our fellow people, that we thought, you know, we were both still in grad school together. And so we decided to do our master’s thesis actually on this program and the profound changes that Nurses experienced going through this program. 

So we did our masters on that, and we graduated. And again, I was still at this hospital working per diem. And the more I got into Nurse Coaching, the more I realized the position that I was currently in in the hospital was not… was no longer fitting me. So I left that role just to kind of see, alright now, again, like what else is out there? 

And I came across a job through indeed, and it actually said, Wellness RN, was the title of the job. And I thought, that does not exist, what kind of a job role is this? There’s nothing I know that’s called Wellness RN. Well, come to find out there is, and it was a job that was under a grant at the time. It gave me the opportunity to go into senior living facilities. It was myself and a social worker. 

And we were just basically available to anyone who lived in that senior living facility that wanted to make lifestyle changes. And it was probably my dream job because I was not under any timeframe. I did not have a schedule. I did not have an agenda. I was not working under a provider. It was basically an open door policy where individuals who come in and sit down in our office and just talk. 

And we got to listen to story after story after story. And, you know, just sit and help people who wanted to make changes at the age of 60 or 65. And it was fabulous. And you know, unfortunately, it was a year into the program when COVID hit. And the focus changed from keeping us funded to dealing with COVID, especially in senior living facilities. 

So, unfortunately, after about two and a half years, we did lose the grant. But it just reinforced to me the power of listening to story, as we do as Nurse coaches, and providing space, providing space for somebody to share what they need to share, and then working with them to motivate them to make the changes that they want to make. 

It was an amazing job. And that’s actually where I found interest in cannabis. Because as people would come in, and once we kind of established trust, they would start to ask me questions about, you know, they would say, Judy, do know anything about that BDV? Or they would name off these letters. 

And what I would realize is that they were actually asking me about CBD, which has become kind of a common thing around here. It’s kind of a well known thing, like, oh, CBD will, you know, treat your pain and do all these wondrous things. And I was so fascinated when people would come in, and they would have a list of 15 to 20 medications, pharmaceuticals that they were taking. 

And they were still miserable, they still had pain, they were still inflamed, they still weren’t sleeping, they still had depression. And I thought, oh my gosh, how are they taking all of these medications, and they’re still not happy? And I actually didn’t know much about CBD at the time, but it piqued my interest to learn about it, and to learn about cannabis as medicine. 

And that’s how I then found myself back in a graduate program, which I never thought I would do again, but found myself getting a Masters in Cannabis Therapeutics, just so I knew about the plant. It’s becoming legalized in more and more states. And I think it’s going to become, you know, part of healing. It’s already kind of on its way, but I think it’s been more accepted. And as we learn more about it, it’s definitely going to be part of the healing health system.

Nicole Vienneau  32:31

What a great story. I love that, I love, you know, our seniors coming in, 75, 80 years old, hey, what’s that, you know, PSQ?

Judy Ratliff  32:42

Exactly. And being still a little hesitant to even want to ask because cannabis has, still has, such a stigma behind it. And it’s been under prohibition. And when you actually learn about its history, and how it got to be where it is today, it is a fascinating topic. But there still is that stigma and that fear because it’s federally illegal. 

And I was working in a low income housing facility, and they were fearful that if they were caught using it, they would lose their funding. So there’s still a lot of challenges with being part of that industry. But you know, it’s coming around. 

And people did share with me that they were using it, using cannabis, not just the CBD part of it, but using the THC and all of that that goes with it, and it was helping their pain, you know, more than the dozen other medications that they were on. So there is something to it. We just need to research it more and accept it as the medicine that it is.

Nicole Vienneau  33:46

Absolutely. Yeah, it is becoming more prominent. More prominent, more understanding, taking away the stigma of its use and seeing its value. Yeah, interesting that the older population, you know, they’re seeking help in different ways, as well, you know, and saw its value, and want to know more and understand more. And I am also hearing that that was a whisper for you.

Judy Ratliff  34:18

It was. Something that initially I thought, alright, let’s not go there. So I thought, okay, well, I’m gonna take a certification program and just learn the basics about it. And then of course, once I was in the certification program, I was offered this master’s program and thought, how do I resist this? 

Well, I found a couple of ways initially and thought, no, this isn’t going to be for me, but eventually again, that whisper turned into a another life change in my path of where I was going. But it’s all turning out.

Nicole Vienneau  34:52

It is all turning out. I really feel that you’re at the beginning of something here. You know, you’re at the beginning of us truly understanding how cannabis will support our fellow humans going forward. And so it’s almost like you’re going to be completing this Master’s in Medical Cannabis Therapeutics. 

And then you’ll be like one of the few out there who can really work but really with a true understanding, right? It’s not just here, take this. It’s, no, I have a master’s in this. I’ve dedicated time, money, resources to understand truly how this plant can affect us. Yeah.

Judy Ratliff  35:38

Right. And it is going to be something that Nursing is going to want to know. The National Council of State Board of Nursing have come out with statements saying that there is a certain amount of education that Nurses need to have about cannabis. 

And it’s really kind of been ignored for the last… it came out about five years ago, their statement, and it’s really kind of been ignored. But I think as legalization happens in more and more states, and that the American Nurses Association has recently acknowledged cannabis Nursing as a specialty, that it is going to be something that we can no longer ignore.

Nicole Vienneau  36:19

That’s right. Well, the Integrative Nurse Coach Academy definitely has a specialty program, the CannyNurse, so Nurses who are seeking more information, that may be something that you would like to look at as far as advancing your understanding and being able to use that information with patients with clarity, instead of just misinformation. 

Yeah. So where do you see yourself using this information? You got your coaching, you’ve got your coaching program, the cannabis Nursing, a Master’s in Holistic Health, and all of these layers on top of your life and then Nursing. So you know, you’re combining all of this together. What’s your vision going forward? What do you see? You may not have it yet, but it might be fun to just talk about that for a few minutes.

Judy Ratliff  37:13

Right? I would love to be able to do cannabis education, both with healthcare professionals and people that want to use cannabis. So education, and consulting, and then just kind of figure out from a consulting coaching cannabis standpoint, where does that fit in? 

And what I’m finding is when people ask me, what am I currently up to, what am I doing, and I talk about cannabis, the conversations just open up. And it doesn’t really even seem to matter where I am or what I’m doing. I was actually at the dentist just having a cleaning the other day, and my hygienist was asking me about what I’m doing. 

And I brought up cannabis. And it got to the point where she was asking me so many questions. And I thought, you know, she has her fingers in my mouth. And she’s doing this cleaning. And she kept asking these questions. And then I wasn’t able to answer because I have these, you know, suction catheter or a catheter in my mouth. 

And she was so interested and so intrigued that she just had to stop doing what she was doing and ask me these questions to allow me to answer. But people are really interested. And I think that there’s enough interest out there that people want to be educated. 

And we need education in this topic, just because it hasn’t been talked about for so many years due to prohibition, and people are getting the wrong information. And the industry is taking off. And we need… we just need to have that knowledge and we need to learn about it correctly. 

And we need to have the right information. So it’s not being used incorrectly and we can get rid of that stigma. So I think education and consulting is really where I see myself in the next, you know, 30 years, right?

Nicole Vienneau  39:12

Education and consulting can you be, you know, where you’re just… if you’re gonna live to about 108, so you got… Exactly. We’re just beginning, we’re just beginning. Oh, this has been so fun to hear more about your story. And understand more about where you come from. I love the theme about listening to whispers and you know, following those whispers and sometimes those whispers are not just those, they’re also shouts.

Judy Ratliff  39:51


Nicole Vienneau  39:56

And following what the universe may be bringing to you, right? Yeah. So we have a few more moments left. And I would love to ask the question of what is on your heart that you would like to share with our listeners today?

Judy Ratliff  40:19

Oh, that’s a good question. You know, I think as we’ve been talking about listening to those whispers, that as Nurse coaches, we often in coaching sessions, or when we’re talking to people, we often really want to see those big aha moments, or those clients come up with these phenomenal, smart goals. 

And sometimes, especially when we’re Nurse Coach students, we think that maybe a session wasn’t overly productive if we didn’t have those. But it really isn’t about those grandiose, big aha moments, it really is about those subtle shifts that we often are a part of, but we don’t realize that we’re a part of when we’re working with our clients. 

And that we don’t underestimate those small whispers, those small shifts that we might help facilitate with a client, and they may walk away, and we think, oh, my gosh, that was the most unproductive coaching session ever. And the next week or two, they come back, and they’ve made all these fabulous changes, or they themselves have had this aha moment. 

And it was maybe instigated by those small subtle shifts. But it’s those subtle shifts that I think actually make sustainable change. So to not get frustrated, or flustered when we think a coaching session didn’t go well, or that we’re not making progress, because we probably really are, we just maybe don’t realize that at the time, because it’s still just a whisper.

Nicole Vienneau  42:04

Subtle shifts, subtle shifts. 

Judy Ratliff  42:08

Say that fast three times!

Nicole Vienneau  42:09

I can’t! You try it three times in a row. Go! Thank you for your wisdom. It’s true, it’s true. You know, so many times you think the coaching session may not have gone the way you planned, and you can’t know. We’re just… we’re trusting, we’re trusting that just listen to a story, being with a person instead of at them, sharing those special moments together is really important. 

So I’d love… I’d also love to ask, what book… what books are on your list of right now have that you have found to be influential? Maybe read it in the past? Maybe recently. What book would you like to bring to us today?

Judy Ratliff  43:10

You know, I read the book, Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. And it’s such a fabulous book about how we look at death and dying. How we look at: how do we avoid the process and the conversations surrounding death and dying? And I think actually read the book after I took Jan Booth’s Reimagining the End of Life course through INCA.

But I read the book and it really started to make me question, what are we doing with death and dying? And having had worked in senior living facilities have seen how we really avoid those conversations. Society really avoids those death and dying conversations until we hit crisis. 

And then it’s too late. It actually inspired me to volunteer as an end of life doula for a hospice program because it’s so important to have those conversations with people who are dying and even before, you know, they’re in that dying process. But to find out how do you imagine the end of life? And a lot of times we don’t have control over how we die, but some things we can control. 

And if we can look at death as really the sacred event that it is, I think it can really change our whole focus on how we work through the end of our life. So I just thought it was such a great book because he really brings up those conversations about our attitudes towards death and dying and how might we change those. So that’s one of the books on my shelf.

Nicole Vienneau  45:01

I love that. Of course, we’re gonna put the links in all of our show notes. And Judy, how can people find you if they’re looking for you to ask questions about all of these things?

Judy Ratliff  45:15

Well, I don’t have a website yet. So probably my Nurse Coach email, which is… I have to remember what it is. I never email myself.

Nicole Vienneau  45:27

It’ll be in the show notes anyways. 

Judy Ratliff  45:28

Okay. All right. That’s perfect. It’s probably the best way. But yeah, I don’t know my own phone number either, right, because I never call myself. 

Nicole Vienneau  45:41

No problem. We’ve got you covered. We’ll put it in the show notes. And that’s how people can get a hold of Judy, of you. And, yeah, thank you so much for being with us today, for sharing all of the amazing things from clowns to CBD to death and dying. We’ve covered the gamut here. We’ve covered it all.

Judy Ratliff  46:06

Well, thanks, Nicole. It’s been really fun to be here.

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