H ead’s Message Nursing and Holistic Care Prof Chia-Chin Lin Professor and Head The year of 2018 was a highly valuable and monumental one for The University of Hong Kong (HKU) School of Nursing. In the past year, we have incorporated Virtual Reality Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (VR CAVE) and innovative technological elements including 3D graphics, 360-degree videos and robots in the nursing curricula of the School; in addition, the 8th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum cum 2018 International Council on Women’s Health Issues (ICOWHI) Congress jointly organised by the School and Johns Hopkins School of Nursing last December was a tremendous success. As the Head of the School, I was also very honoured to be awarded the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Charity Foundation Professorship in Nursing in early 2018. This endowed professorship sets “Compassionate Love and Holistic Care” as the mission statement for service, which perfectly harmonizes with the philosophy of nursing science, as well as the philosophy of our institution. The philosophy of holistic care is based on the concept of holism – the idea that a given system cannot be determined by its component parts alone, and human beings as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. In the age of accelerated medical breakthroughs, health professionals may be disposed to fixate on the ever-diversifying disease diagnoses, instead of treating patients as complete persons with complex psychosocial needs. Yet, the trust and communication between nurses and their patients allow them to identify and address these complex needs. Holistic nursing is a “mind-body-spirit-emotion-environment” approach to optimize the management and prevention of disease. With holistic approach, nurses can help better facilitate the healing process and enhance health outcomes. Nearly two hundred years ago, Florence Nightingale, who is considered to be the founder of holistic nursing, taught nurses to focus on the unity, wellbeing of the sick and the interrelationship between patients and the environment. Nightingale’s vision of holistic care still holds true today. At HKU School of Nursing, we teach our students to care for their patients holistically with a compassionate aim, focus on the integrity of each patient, and ensure that the patient’s dignity is not compromised in the context of the multiple interventions and invasive technologies to which they are subjected. We thus prepare our students to be ethical, empathetic, knowledgeable practitioners who work collegially with other health professionals and carers, to safeguard the sense of self-worth and dignity of those in our care in classes such as Nursing Foundation and Nursing Care of Adult I/II/III with the aid of advanced simulation wards and virtual reality technology. In addition, we have organised many events and workshops focusing on holistic care; for instance, “Holistic Care Now and into the Future: Implications for Practice, Education and Research” was the theme of this year’s 8th Hong Kong International Nursing Forum cum 2018 International Council on Women’s Health Issues (ICOWHI) Congress, the orientation talk by Nethersole Institute of Continuing Holistic Health Education to prepare our new nursing students on the uniqueness of nursing, the mindfulness practice workshops empowered psychosis patients and their caregivers with skills to deal with negative emotions, the Knowledge Exchange (KE) project to raise the knowledge level on heart attack symptoms and appropriate health seeking behavior among the elderly at the Department of Health operated Elderly Health Centres, healthy ageing promotion in Public Rental Housing Estates, and our outstanding smoking-cessation programme continue to have a long-lasting effect on the wellbeing of the community. The framework of holistic care enabled us to fully realise the school philosophy – “Mission to Serve, Vision to Lead”. As a nursing researcher, I am extremely proud of the comprehensive research scheme here at HKU School of Nursing. Our dedicated research in cancer and palliative care, gerontology and long-term care, maternal and child health, community and mental health nursing, and smoking cessation and tobacco control is the best testimony to our determination to promote and improve the practice of holistic care. We are incredibly proud of our HKU graduates and staff who embrace holistic care in clinical settings and in teaching. The Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Charity Foundation Professorship serves as an honour and a reflection of the educational philosophy of HKU Nursing, and I am confident that the philosophy of holistic care will continue to guide the School to better serve and lead the local and global community. N urseLetter Jan2019 ISSUE 43