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Beyond the Boxes: Mandala Introduction and Nursing Organizational Application

Guest contributor: Ellen E. Swanson
This post introduces the new “Practice Exemplar”
describing the application of Mandalas in nursing

See related Education Exemplar

We have constructed so much of our society based on the traditional hierarchical or linear organizational model. This model has dominated and influenced our thinking and behaviors. The linear model has also affected how we organize various types of information in the educational, health care, social, religious, economic, and political arenas. This hierarchical organizational chart looks familiar to all of us.

The energy is linear and we are all in boxes. I want out, don’t you? So, let’s play with this. In place of the hierarchical chart, a new circular model in the form of a mandala template is now available for organizing information. One translation of a Sanskrit root word for mandala means “that which is the essence” (Huyser, 2002 p. 2). In the recent Nursology Education Exemplar highlighting a class at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, “Nursing Theory Mandala Based on Modeling and Role-Modeling Theory”, we showed the mandala template application to holistic nursing and also to the specific theory of Modeling and Role-Modeling.

© 2011 Ellen E. Swanson, all rights reserved

The template features four rings and a center. Each ring has a suggested definition for application.

Visuals are powerful, affecting us consciously and unconsciously. So how then might we use this template visual where energy is circular and therefore synergistically self-enhancing to show the essence of other topics? Let’s start with an organization and look at the application to the MN Holistic Nurses Association. The definitions of the four rings above apply. For an organization, in ring 3, the body segment could be values or purpose, the mind segment could be the mission statement, and the spirit segment could be the vision statement.

© 2011 Ellen E. Swanson, all rights reserved.
The Minnesota Holistic Nurses Association has included their mandala on their website at Minnesota Holistic Nurses Association. This mandala makes visible the holistic nursing theory concepts of trust and collaboration as experienced in the organization.

Download the PDF file of the MinnHNA Mandala here

This mandala makes visible the holistic nursing theory concepts of trust and collaboration as experienced in the organization.

Source:
Huyser, Anneke. (2002). Mandala Workbook for Inner Self-Discovery. Havelte/Holland: Binkey Kok Publications.

About the Author

Ellen E. Swanson, MA, RN, BSN, PHN, HNB-BC (Retired) had a 46 year career that included ortho-rehab, mental health, operating room, management, teaching, care managing, and consulting. For fifteen years she had a private practice in holistic nursing, focusing on health and wellness teaching and counseling. She served on the leadership council for the Minnesota Holistic Nurses Association for ten years.

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