Anne Boykin Institute

for the advancement of caring in nursing

2016 Summer Academy

Jennifer Reich, 2016 Artist-in-Residence

Jennifer ReichJennifer (Jen) Reich, PhD, RN, NC-BC is a nurse coach, poet, and storyteller. People, animals, nature, and all aspects of the shared human experiences inspire her poems. She is a passionate explore of the healing potential of the creative arts. Dr. Reich loves to write poems from the road and trail as well as at her neighborhood coffee shop. When not traveling she lives and writes in Phoenix, AZ. Her daily blog can be found at poetry-not-poverty@blogspot.com

   “At a recent Summer Academy grounded in caring, I was invited to participate as Nurse Artist-In-Residence and create poetry that represented the essence of the conference. This would be a different process of writing than my usual, so I was both excited and a bit nervous. I reflected on these feelings just prior to the conference. As the participants met for the first time, I realized we shared this experience of excitement and unknowing. This inspired me to write my first poem, “An Opening to Caring.”

        As the conference began, we were invited to create a space where all voices would be heard and honored. I did not have my laptop open, and initially wrote on a napkin so I would not miss the opportunity to capture the sacredness of the moment: “Anne’s Poem” emerged. As I listened further, ‘joy’ was described as stemming from our caring process and I felt inspired to pen a little rhyme about this emotion. As we engaged more in dialogue centered on how to build the foundation for new research projects in caring science, “An Ocean of Caring Science” came through.

        The overarching theme of our time is revealed in “The Language of Caring,” a poem created in a co-creative process. I asked each participant to provide a word or two that they would use to describe the language of caring. I then composed a poem using these words as well as the feelings I experienced as both observer and participant. The last poem, “In Closing,” speaks to the deep knowledge that although our time together was ending, our journeys were ongoing and evolving.”


Jennifer Reich

An Opening to Caring

The art of caring science

Our hearts and every heart

We gather here in dialogue

Unsure of where to start –

And yet we trust the process

The unfolding of our time

An opening to caring

We dance with the subline ~

Anne’s Poem

Every person in the dance

Is connected to our soul

And we share our time as leaders

Always sacred, always whole

We offer our unique gifts

Our knowing and unknown

And surrender to unfolding

In the way that it is shown

(With faith we’re not alone) ~

A Joy, An Opening (Pat)

Joy springs from our caring

The desire to expand

Research as an opening

On our quest to understand ~

Ocean of Caring Science

The ocean of caring science

Varies in dimension

Some spaces deep in theory

While others just a mention –

As as we move the science

The depth must be addressed

Our visibility increased

And nursing outcomes stressed ~

The Language of Caring

The language of caring

Starts from the heart

Expands and evolves

As a science and art

It requires intention

Our presence and gifts

Creating, relating

As energy shifts

It asks for our kindness

To self as a whole

Understanding our oneness

With every one soul

It calls us to action

As peacemakers on Earth

Attending to persons

Through death and through birth

Through all of life’s stages

The pages we share

Our stories that shape us

And call us to care –

It leaves behind judgment

And loves beyond fear

Always helpful and patient

In the now and the here ~

In Closing

We can’t full bring closure

To something without end

So we say farewell for now

On our journeys to transcend –

We give thanks for the sweetness

Our dance in caring space

With gratitude for everyone

In the mystery and grace ~