Using Mandalas – An Holistic Approach to Practice

Contributor: Ellen E. Swanson
See related Education Exemplar

The mandala emerged while I was working to release the lifelong power of hierarchical influences.  For fifteen years I was determined to come up with a non-hierarchical way of organizing information.  As this emerged, I needed help to know how to interpret the template drawing that finally came forth, so I asked a number of people what they saw.  Hence the template name and interpretations are a compilation of what others contributed, demonstrating the mutuality and inclusiveness the mandala represents. Also see the list of resources below that informed this work.

A colleague noted how this related to Modeling and Role-Modeling Nursing Theory, about which I had no knowledge at the time.  After reading about the theory and other holistic nursing theories, a Holistic Nursing Mandala was created.  Concepts from the seven holistic theories prevalent at the time were included.  This poster was presented at a Society for the Advancement of Modeling and Role-Modeling Conference.  It was gratefully embraced.  The Society then created a mandala for the Society as well as a mandala for MRM Theory itself (see below).

There are thirteen exemplars illustrating the application of mandalas in nursing:

  1. Nursing Organization
  2. Child Development
  3. “Know Thyself” 
  4. Felt Sense Knowledge Application
  5. Dual Organizational Application
  6. Client Assessment
  7. Nursing Department and Neuro Unit
  8. Annual Appraisals
  9. Corporation
  10. Healing the Hierarchy
  11. Miscellaneous Responses to the Mandala
  12. Connecting Theory and Practice
  13. Healing Systemic Dis-ease

Modeling and Role Modeling Theory Mandala

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About the author

Ellen Swanson

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.