What Is Anthroposophic Nursing?
The human body, soul and spirit must be cared for and cultivated, and so must the relationship between human beings and their environment. Care must also be given to the relationships between people. We absorb the air that surrounds us, the warmth, the water, the light, the substances – we sense them, breathe them, eat them – and as we digest them, we transform them and create something new, sensing, feeling. They nourish and sustain us. We excrete them and separate ourselves from them. Human closeness and warmth enable social well-being. Love, trust, security and creativity give meaning and significance to life, they are embedded in the social, cultural, political, economic and historical environment in which we live. All in all, we find ourselves in an infinite cosmos of relationships that are in need of care and that are worth caring for.
“Anthroposophy” means “wisdom of the human being”. And there is so much wisdom in the human body, harmony in the human soul and creativity in the human spirit! Anthroposophy wants to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between the human being, nature and the cosmos. In doing so, the scientific perspective is accompanied by a spiritual philosophical and cosmological one.
What does this mean for nursing care – for the perceiving eye and the helping hand?
Anthroposophic nursing is concerned with the following questions, for example:
- How can we use warmth, light, colors, plants and mineral substances to contribute to health and well-being?
- How can we adopt responsible lifestyles to avoid diseases and make it easier for nature and our fellow human beings to live together peacefully?
- How can we withstand blows of fate and interpret them?
- How can we make professional and technical decisions based on our conscience instead of on one-sided constraints?
- How can the inner attitude of one person have a healing or hurting effect on another person?
All science is based on research. Anthroposophic Medicine and nursing care are only just beginning. Research begins with talking together about what we have experienced and, in a second step, with asking questions that cannot be answered directly from experience. The healing effects of arnica on blunt injuries, administered both externally and internally, have long been known in folk medicine and naturopathy. But what is the optimal way to apply the arnica tincture? Is there an optimal time of day for its application? Do we need to have a certain inner attitude during the application or does arnica work independently? Is there a difference between the two, and if so, what is it? Where did arnica get the power to act as a remedy? It is an inquiring and researching spirit such as this which underlies this handbook for external applications: sharing experiences, getting into conversation with each other, developing further questions, giving courage, learning from mistakes, stimulating research.
This process can lead us to solid expertise in external applications. Then nursing will be an art. It will become an art of healing that is cultivated through the cooperation between patients, doctors, therapists and nurses.
Anthroposophic nursing care is above all an attitude towards the person in need of care. It is practical, cordial and light. Always respectful. It does not shy away from existential questions. It has more questions than answers. It is at the beginning of a great adventure: to take responsibility.
Rolf Heine & Maria Kusserow 2018