Contributor: Ellen E. Swanson
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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.
The template features four rings and a center. Each ring has a suggested definition for application.
- Ring 1: Outer rainbow ring – seven resources or sources of energy for the chosen application topic.
- Ring 2: Teaching and learning ring – what each resource or source teaches or contributes.
- Ring 3: Inner resources ring – resources available from or applied to the body, mind, and spirit either literally or figuratively (ancient cultures included emotions in the mind arena).
- Ring 4 and center: Manifestation ring — based on the Feng Shui Ba-Gua system and its life aspects.
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.
This mandala makes visible the holistic nursing theory concepts of trust and collaboration as experienced in the organization.
Frisch, N. (2013). Nursing theory in holistic nursing practice. In B. Dossey & L. Keegan (Eds.) Holistic nursing a handbook for practice, 6th Ed. (pp. 117-128). Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
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.