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A Salon Start-up in Portland, Oregon September 13, 2009

Posted by mariemanthey in Academia, Nursing Salons, Values.
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Last night another Nursing Salon was started in another state!  This one was in the state of Oregon, at the home Louise Shores, a leader in nursing education and former executive in ANA.  I was invited to attend and help with the process of this inaugural Salon. In the beautiful setting of her yard and deck, a group of about 18 people from various walks of nursing life and from young nurses to “seniors” again experienced the impact of coming together to talk to each other about nursing . We again experienced an incredible sense of oneness. This is one of the most frequent outcomes of a Salon.

The growth of Salons is  so encouraging. No matter what individuals bring to discuss during the check-in, the discussion itself always seems to result in a feeling of  connectedness among the participants and with the values and strengths of our profession. Job differences, education level differences, age differences, status differences … all seem to melt away and we connect in a very positive way. One of the first check-out comments came from a university faculty member who said she had been feeling pessimistic about nursing when she arrived and was now optimistic. That surge of positive energy bodes well for her and for her students.

I continue to believe that the secret to their success is in part due to the fact that Salons are not connected to any agency or institution.   The reality of gathering in homes to just talk about nursing seems to free us to reach deep into ourselves for the meaning of our work free of role-based constraints.


1. Pam H. - September 15, 2009

Thank you for being a leader in helping others to have a safe forum to discuss their thoughts and issues in nursing! I often visit your site to gain pearls of wisdom and inspiration! I had Susan E. do a brief renewing the spirit session for our staff last spring. They too left with a sense of hope and new energy. Thanks again!

mariemanthey - October 6, 2009

Nice to hear from Pam. I just finished a ‘first time’ salon here in Traverse City, MI. Same reaction as usual. All felt enriched and proud of their profession. It is an amazing experience.

2. Sara W - October 14, 2009

It is so true. Being together in a more intimate setting, like a collegue’s home, creates an energy. There is evidence that the excitement of one person creates a force that others can feel. I recently attended a nurse mentor/mentee dinner and left feeling that my gas tank was back on full.

mariemanthey - November 1, 2009

Sara…your comment reminds me of the truth that we have to learn how to manage our own energy. Salons, the dinner you mention and other connecting points can be the source of real healing energy……and if they don’t do that, we probably shouldn’t even be involved in them. Knowing I have choice about how I spend my time and that those choices will impact my energy level was a real epiphany’ moment in my learning curve.

3. Michael Petty - October 21, 2009

My wife, Michelle, and I had a nursing salon at our home on October 14th. With Marie’s encouragement, we have been holding them here monthly since last fall. Each experience has been unique and enjoyable. The number of attendees has varied from quite small to moderately large, and we have found each group size to have its own amazing dynamic.

This month when those in attendance shared “what is on your mind about nursing,” for many the theme was one of discouragement, disillusionment, and uncertainty about the future. One was concerned about finding a job after searching for several months. Another has a job but is finding it difficult to reconcile personal goals with her organization’s goals. Yet another expressed concern that the goals of the institution in which she worked seemed to be drifting away from a patient-centered focus and toward one that was finance-centered. And one of the students present was exasperated with the laissez faire attitude of classmates who seemed not to be living up to what she would have expected of them – and of herself.

The thing about a Nursing Salon is this – each of us has our own concerns and challenges, and we often feel quite isolated and alone in facing those demons. Yet in the environment of the salon that evening, each person was able to offer support, encouragement, and a different perspective on the stressors facing others in the room. In that process, each of us also gained a different view of our own challenges. As we ended the evening, each person “checked out” expressing thanks to those present for helping him or her to face tomorrow with hope that things can be better and that there are others who are experiencing similar difficulties. What more can we ask for than to share our thoughts with others who will listen and understand without grand explanations. It is the reason we keep returning – and the reason new people are joining us.

Thanks, Marie, for your vision and your encouragement to others to follow your lead in holding nursing salons.

mariemanthey - November 1, 2009

Michael, you hit the nail on the head. Life is about a series of challenges and how we respond to (insert learn from) them. I’ve always felt that as a profession, Nursing gives us more opportunities to learn how to live life well than most other types of work. Salons put a laser focus on that learning, because the way we help each other is purely efficient and appropriate. We know what we are talking about better than anyone else….that is why nurses helping nurses cope with challenges is so good. And the fact is that the humor expressed in most salons….facilitate healing better than any medication or other form of therapeutic intervention..

4. Annie Schulein-Fournier - June 30, 2010

I graduated from the U of MN’s Master of Nursing program this past December. Marie, you came and spoke to our class and I can’t remember a more inspiring talk. I felt that every day at the U, I learned more about why my decision to become a nurse was a good one–and your talk drove it all home. I have since moved to Portland, OR and landed a job in long-term care where team nursing is the standard. As a new nurse in a new place, I have craved the connection experienced at a salon (and how I miss the primary nursing practiced at my clinical sites in MN!), so to find this blog post is encouraging. Would you happen to have (and be able to share) any contact information for Louise Shores or any further information about her salon? I’ve looked online in various places and haven’t managed to find a means to contact her.

Thank you for all that you do, and all that you have done!

mariemanthey - July 10, 2010

Annie….thanks for the kind note and congratulations on your job. Hope you can bring in some elements of Relationship Based Care and continuity of assignments to your system. I believe if you go to the website for NWONE (Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives), you will see a listing of Salons in both Portland and Seattle. If not, let me know and I’ll dig in and get a better source. BTW…I’ll be speaking this fall, Sept. I think in Seattle for NWONE. Let’s stay in touch.

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