Elizabeth Ann Robinson, PhD, RN, CNS
in Santa Barbara
Elizabeth Ann Robinson, author of The Soul of the Nurse, is a fourth generation Californian with maternal roots in Santa Barbara. She received her bachelor’s degree from Samuel Merritt/St. Mary’s College, her master’s degree from UCSF, and her PhD from Pacifica Graduate Institute. Elizabeth has been a staff nurse at Stanford University Medical Center, an administrator of Duke University Medical Center’s, and a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Cardiology and Critical Care at Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City, and Sutter Heart Institute, Sacramento. She works at a local hospital and continues to do research and give lectures/workshops around the country.
ELIZABETH ANN'S PRESENTATIONS
The Soul of the Nurse
BY ELIZABETH ANN ROBINSON, PHD, RN, CNS
@ VOL 14
ON AUG 12, 2015
The nurse is central to healthcare and has always been the most prominent figure in times of vulnerability throughout the life cycle. Elizabeth Ann Robinson, as mythologist and nurse, attempts to recover the complexity and wholeness of the nurse by tracing her origins as far back as Neolithic times. Ancient mythology, folklore, literature, art, and popular culture are explored to reveal the multifaceted characteristics of the nurse and specific images are expanded to deepen the understanding of the nurse archetype. The nurse image holds longing, ambivalence, fear, desire, and vulnerability. Mythology, metaphor, and symbol help to recover the soul of the nurse, revealing new insights, forgotten memories, and devalued capacities. Idealizing or demonizing the nurse is an attempt to break free of her power. The nurse is often portrayed as dangerous and mysterious because she is so close to the archetypal energies of death and eros. The nurse’s body cares for the bodies of others.
Nurses are drawn to work that is messy, peculiar, and unpredictable, thus the work of the nurse is soul work. The soul longs for complexity. The nurse craves intensity, merging, and collaboration. Like Baubo, she affirms life while maintaining an understanding of the brutal frankness and wonder of the life cycle. Her true body consciousness is Dionysian. Over time the image of the nurse has been split into one-dimensional disguises ranging from the angelic heroine to the sex object. Without moralizing or dividing the good from the bad, Elizabeth investigates the dynamic energy of the nurse archetype and uncovers some of what has been lost through splits, repressions, and distortions. Her research reveals why the nurse captivates culture and maintains the status as the most trusted professional in society, questioning what it would take to re-member her comprehensive wholeness.