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A Core Value: Humanization of Patients July 20, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Manthey Life Mosaic, Professional Practice, Values.
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Many many years ago I was being pressesd to articulate my deepest passion about Nursing.   Specifically,  what did I believe is the fundamental core value of the nursing profession?     After thinking about it deeply, I came up with a deep believe that  our most important role is to facilitate the humanization of patient care,…. which required that we first humanize the experience, practice and focus of nurses.   Nurses cannot humanize patient care unless they are empowered in their role and in practice.  Humanization of health care for patients  means  engagement of patients and their families in decisions about treatment choices, as well as end of life choices.    This ultimate exercise of free will is the pathway to fulfillment as a human….and the restriction of free will is dehumanizing.

I see this goal  becoming closer to reality in many situations, thanks to nursing’s incredible advances, as well as to advances in technology and  many other societal advances.   However,  I think much work is still needed to promote nursing’s role as patient advocates for their greater involvement in decisions.  The culture change we seek is to humanize patient care.   Nurses must support patients ability to accept responsibility for themselves, and to exercise their own  free will about their treatment and their lives, knowledgeable about the options that are available to them.

Empowered nurses are needed to empower their patients.

Whether the setting is an ICU unit, a Neo-Natal unit, or even hospice. Empowered nurses can make sure the patients and their families have all the necessary information to make their own life decisions – about end of life, or about courses of treatment – and that they are empowered to do so.

The change is coming.   Let’s make sure the nursing profession is ready to fully engage in the humanization of health care. The public is more ready than the health care system.

Happy Birthday Marie! July 17, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, History, Inspiration, Leadership, Manthey Life Mosaic, Nursing Peer Support Network, Nursing Salons, Professional Practice, Thought for today, Values.
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This is Claire talking (Marie’s daughter, and co-editor of this site), checking in with you on this celebratory day!

I know Marie values each and every one of you, and loves hearing from you and having conversations with you – whether in person, in various professional / civic roles, on social media, here on the blog.

And so today on her birthday, I wanted to formally welcome you all back to this blog.

In the last few months, we’ve started to get active again — exploring various kinds of posts with a multitude of topics including Nursing: it’s history, challenges, future, best practices, values & inspiration etc.. as well as CHCM activities, Marie’s life (Mosaic), Nursing Salons, the Nursing Peer Support Network, activities at the University of MN School of Nursing, and so on.

If you have a moment today, would love to hear any preferences from you about types of content, questions you have for Marie, how often you’d like us to post, how you’d like to hear about posts, and anything else to make this blog a win-win.

We never know how long any of us have here. Marie is the epitome of taking care of herself, taking responsibility for her health and well-being, and we hope to have years and years yet. In any case, the more conversations she can fit engage in, the better!

Oh, one more thing- Happy Birthday Marie!

Thanks much for your participation.

Sobriety and Nursing – a Page from my Journal July 15, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Nursing Peer Support Network, Professional Practice.
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I just celebrated (June 26) my 39th year of recovery from the disease of alcoholism.   What an awesome experience this life is.

As I reflect on this period of celebrating both my natal birthday ( July 17) and my recovery anniversary, my gratitude just grows and grows.   In so many ways my experience as a nurse and my experience in recovery blend into one wonder-ful life experience.

Just one example of this deep connectivity and unity is that both nursing and recovery open doors to an unlimited opportunity to grow spiritually…to be open to the universe and all the wonders of nature, physics, culture and relationships.  There is no limit to what can be learned in every aspect of living in either recovery or in nursing.  No limit!

Additionally, both stimulate me to practice non-judgmental acceptance of what is….rather than be embroiled in day-to-day disagreements and conflicts.  Both are helping me put into daily life the wonderful question….DO YOU WANT TO BE RIGHT OR DO YOU WANT TO HAVE PEACE? Think about it!

Thank you for all you have and are giving me.

As it happens: RBC Symposium Day 1 June 19, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Leadership, Manthey Life Mosaic, Professional Practice, Values.
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Today is the pre-conference afternoon of the 2017 International Relationship-Based Care Symposium, here in Minneapolis at the Hilton Minneapolis!

Here are links to the handout materials available at this time:



It’s been great already to have a brunch at my home – to which I invited international guests, several local nursing leaders and CHCM consultants. Conversations ranged over various topics including comparisons between people’s situations in different countries.

The conference itself is a very enthusiastic experience! I have been constantly in motion and it’s wonderful. Everyone is very happy to be here and many are saying ‘this is exactly what we need at our hospital!’

This afternoon I was able to be a surprise guest at the Daisy Foundation session. I spoke about the the impact of Florence Marie Fisher coloring in my coloring book, and also what a wonderful thing it was for me to be able to nominate her for the DAISY award. In closing I brought in Florence Nightingale as well.

I enjoy talking about the power of nursing: as I experienced in my lifetime the impact of my nurse when I was five years old.  I like to make it clear that the work that I’ve been involved in leading is directly the result of Florence Marie Fisher coloring in my coloring book.

I don’t think that that concept can possibly be emphasized too strongly: the power of good nursing care!

Much more to come, looking forward to sharing it with all of you!



Authentic Nursing: Past, Present and Future June 18, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Leadership, Manthey Life Mosaic, Professional Practice.
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Nursing is a dynamic profession, constantly moving forward for the well-being of patients and their families.

Let’s look back at one of the early mainstream articles about the onset of Primary Nursing; let’s celebrate recent exciting book releases; and let’s prepare for an incredible week of growth and discovery at the CHCM International Relationship-Based Care Symposium!!

Looking back at the Past:

Primary Nursing: Hospitals bring back Florence Nightingale


This article provides clear details about the way things were before Primary Nursing. This excerpt (from the 2nd page) is talking about Carol Davis, Primary Nurse, who had been ‘foreman’ in a task-based nursing delivery system at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s in Chicago before the implementation of Primary Nursing there.

“I was the kingpin who cracked a whip over a crew of people who were unskilled, making sure they got their tasks done,” Davis recalls. “That kept me running around like a chicken without a head.”

She managed about a dozen or so aides, assigning them to various tasks for 25 to 40 patients. Davis made sure the chores were completed on schedule and recorded on patients’ charts, and that her workers went to lunch and returned on time.

Having her own ‘team’ was unheard of. Her aides, like chessmen, were constantly shifted around to other registered nurses, new patients, new units and new tasks. She didn’t have time to get to know her helpers and their abilities.

Furthermore, she had no time for interacting with patients except at pill time. “We were caught in a system that put procedures ahead of patients’ needs,” Davis says. “Nursing didn’t have much of a human face, yet none of us knew how to correct that.”

Results included a turnover rate of RN’s of 48.7% each year!

Celebrating the Present:

Advancing Relationship-Based Cultures is Creative Health Care Management’s newest publication, just in time for the Symposium! Edited by Mary Koloroutis, and David Abelson, the book explores the  culture of health care organizations, looks at what is  necessary for optimal outcomes, and suggests strategies to achieve those outcomes. Advancing Relationship-Based Cultures explains and expands a fundamental and often overlooked truth in health care: It is the confluence of relational and clinical competence that advances healing cultures.

Not as recent, but very relevant: Transforming Interprofessional Partnerships – A New Framework for Nursing and Partnership-Based Health Care by Riane Eisler and Teddie Potter. The only interprofessional partnership text written from the nursing perspective, it provids a model for partnership with patients and other health care professionals.

Prepare for the Future: The Symposium is Here!!!

And moving forward, the Symposium is here! Next week will be an incredible journey, which we’ll share here on the blog as much as possible.

In addition, there will be content on Twitter, Facebook, and even other channels possibly. Find me at @colormenurse on Twitter and join the conversations!

This will be an amazing event, coming only once every 4 years, and each Symposium has many dynamic, passionate health care leaders from around the world. Attendees this year are coming in from Germany, Switzerland, Brazil, Italy and with the US a large number of states are represented.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you next week and together with you working  to advance healthy workplace cultures for those receiving care, and for those who work there.

RAA Part III – Achieving Full Experience of Will Power June 15, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Manthey Life Mosaic.
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This is part III of an initial series of articles about RAA. Here are links to the previous parts:

RAA Part I



After 10 years of experience applying these ideas to professional roles and organizational structures, I began thinking about them in relation to my own life.

By this time one thing I knew for sure was that when nurses accepted responsibility for the Primary Nursing (PN) role, they experienced empowerment and manifested less victim behavior than before…..and much less than those who’s did not accept responsibility.

I also knew for sure that accepting responsibility was an experiential activity……not an intellectual activity.   You can’t just think you are responsible….you have to experience it, to literally place yourself in the position of being responsible, in order to have full access to legitimate authority.

In PN, this only seemed to occur when the nurse established a responsibility relationship with the patient.   The explicit establishment of that relationship was necessary in order for the nurse to experience responsibility acceptance. The closed door of power (personal or other) only opens when an individual experientially recognizes their responsibility.

So, my epiphany moment occurred when I asked myself the question of whether or not I had accepted responsibility for my life.

I immediately remembered with resentment areas of my life where I felt victimized.   My ex-husband, a former boss….etc.   With great clarity I knew that if I had truly accepted responsibility for all aspects of my life, I would not feel victimized by past events. As this thought process evolved, I recognized that accepting responsibility for one’s own life involves the three major components of behavior: thinking, feeling and acting.

So, accepting responsibility for my thinking meant I had to develop new thought processes.  Often, my thinking fell into automatic pathways developed over the passage of life.   These pathways needed to be examined and in many cases changed, as they led directly to victim thinking.

The new thinking required the development of new neuron pathways, and then also lots of deliberate practice until consciousness of choice became my automatic thought process in response to situations and events in my life. This involved learning to make space in my reactions to events and people for the experience of choice.

Likewise, accepting responsibility for my feelings meant I had to learn some skills for handling feelings in an appropriate way which also often involved changing the way I think.   The connection between thinking and feeling began to be more manageable. Further, accepting responsibility for my actions helped me recognize the connection between thinking and acting and how action can positively influence thinking and feeling.

This overall development required me to develop new ways of being in my life, and the results have been increased positive energy, increased choices, and increased well-being.

Personally… Being Mortal by Atul Gawande June 11, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Professional Practice.
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I lost a close friend recently, after a long struggle with some chronic medical conditions.

It’s a sad period, but one comfort is that his last days went as well as they possibly could. I’m reminded of this book: Being Mortal, written by practicing surgeon Atul Gawande.

In the book Atul explores what it means to ensure that the positive meanings of one’s life extend through the final phases of that life, clinically and in all other ways. Atul has completely defeated the normative medical profession’s reluctance to address that period after medicine stops being applicable. He explores what continues to be important for the person themself and their family.

I found it extremely moving and useful – not just for that period but for everyday. Highly recommend!

Additional Resources:

NY Times Book Review

Frontline: PBS Special

Pennsylvania Library Book Discussion Notes

The Guardian Book Review

Belief: Health in Healthcare June 4, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Thought for today.
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From the notebook of Marie Manthey, 1982


CNM (CHCM now) believes that the relationship between mind and body is absolutely integrated and that the state of mind clearly influences the health of the body.

Management of health professionals, therefore, must consist of teaching this relationship as a management value and teaching managers how to manage their lives.

Basic principles of management should be taught at both the humanistic and scientific levels.

Advanced management training programs we developed promote the use of unique creative living approaches to solving complex organization problems.

Hospitals must be healthy so that the staff can help patients regain their health. The organizational diseases of disinterest, apathy, anger, isolationism,  generally negative interpersonal relationships and the illegitimate punitive use of power are manifestations of disease and can be treated by changing attitudes and perspectives and teaching basic truths of human existence and behavior.

Speak to Groups of People?? Never! May 21, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in Creative Health Care Management, Inspiration, Manthey Life Mosaic, Nursing Salons, Professional Practice.
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Honestly, that’s how I felt in the early years of my career! The thought of speaking publicly was a nightmare.

As a student, I made a choice between the two options for my Master’s Degree based partly on which one involved less public speaking!

I was sure that speaking to large groups of people was not and would never be necessary for me – it is not a part of Nursing – and it terrified me.

I was physically affected – I’m not exaggerating – every time I had to do it for some reason.

I had nausea, I had knock-knees, I had so much static in my head that I could hardly hear my own thoughts. Every time I did it I felt like I had failed miserably, and no matter what, I would never do it again.

However, life went a different way for me.

I was part of the team that created Primary Nursing, and other people wanted to know about that process. There were two ways to communicate about it – speaking and writing. Writing took forever! The two articles we wrote in 1970 just took a really long time to put together, edit, format, get references, all of that. Then we did another article in 1973 – again, it just took a really long time. I was Chief Nurse at first one hospital and then another, and my available time was just very limited – it was really hard to fit in time for writing.

Much as I hated speaking, it was a way to deliver the information that I wanted others to know, in real time, most efficiently.

So for those initial five years of talking about Primary Nursing, it was excruciating every time. Every time I had knock knees, nausea, static in my head, the physical costs were huge. I would actually feel sick to my stomach just looking at my calendar and seeing a speaking date written on it. But I just had to go out there and do it anyway, because the importance of the message demanded it.

For me, getting up and speaking was a much more effective way to get the word out, than writing. People were curious and I wanted to let them know about Primary Nursing and its benefits for the nurse-patient relationship.  The effect Primary Nursing had on the patient’s experience – that’s what was so important. My passion about that essence of Nursing just saw no boundaries.

So, I made myself learn how to do public speaking, even though for most of the first five years, nothing got better. It was just as horrible, just as debilitating, just as uncomfortable every time as it always had been, for years on end.

Years later, little by little, it started to get better. I began to get some sense of self-confidence about it, to the point where I was actually able to look at  a speaking date on the calendar and not get terrible anxiety about it.

After that, I began slowly to not only be comfortable speaking, but to enjoy it. I began to be able to take in the visual and auditory feedback of the crowd and use that information to fine-tune my delivery. I learned how to be present with my message, and also present with the people I was delivering the message to.

And for these decades since then, speaking has been a huge positive for me. It’s still all about getting the message out – about Relationship-Based Care and other ways to enhance the nurse-patient relationship – in the best way possible.

The power of conversation is really what it all comes back to. I am engaging in a one-way conversation when I speak to audiences. I very much want for the audience to engage as well though, always. That’s why I like to speak within a schedule that allows for break-out sessions. I want folks listening to me to be able to speak with and listen to each other and me as well, and to have their experiences also be part of what is shared.

Nursing salons are another extension of that important need to connect – to hear each other and share each others’ experience.

Conversations Change People, People Change the World! – Margaret Wheatley


Blast from the Past: Feisty Former Chicagoan (1978) May 13, 2017

Posted by mariemanthey in History, Inspiration, Leadership, Manthey Life Mosaic, Professional Practice, Values.
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Primary Nursing: Hospitals bring back Florence Nightingale


This article was one of the first in mainstream media about Primary Nursing, Marie Manthey .. and Florence Nightingale!

The picture on page 1 is so wonderful, isn’t it?

Here are some excerpts from the article, which you can see directly via the links at the top of this post.

“We’re not just dealing with inert lumps of flesh that hurt” Davis says. “We’re dealing with people’s emotional well-being, too. And that’s what makes nursing exciting again.”

Chicago Tribune: Sunday, February 2, 1978

by Joan Zyda

Sometime after World War II, the American registered nurse was forced into being less like Florence Nightingale and more like a factory foreman.

The shortage of nurses resulted in assembly-line nursing, which brought with it an assortment of nameless, often uncaring persons who trained for brief periods before being turned loose on patients. They were practical nurses, vocational nurses, technicians, orderlies, nurse’s aides, and nursing assistants.

If you’ve been in a hospital in the lst three decades, you have seen this production line in action. Somebody took your temperature, somebody else gave you a bath, somebody else took your blod pressure, somebody else brought in your food tray, somebody else …

Conducting this “orchestra” was, and still is, the chief duty of the registered nurse in most hospitals. Despite years of learning to care for sick people, she ends up in a supervisory job that takes her out of the mainstream of patient care. If she sees patients at all, it’s only briefly when she gives them a shot or a pill, or if there’s a “problem.”

“The patients are completely perplexed and often get irritable or depressed by this fragmented and impersonal care; it frights and frustrates the doctors; the morale of nurses sinks to an incredible low, resulting in a high turnover rate and absenteeism; and it has caused a decline in patient care at many hospitals,” says Dr. William Shaffrrath, diretor of the National Joint Practice Commission in Chicago.

The commission was set up in 1972 by the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association to solve the growing dissatisfaction with hospital nursing care.

Teh solution, with which the commission has been shaking the pillars of medicine, is to put the registered nurse back at the patient’s bedside, where she can use her training. Some hospitals have already done this, including Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, University of Chicago Hospitals, Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove, and Evanston Hospital.

“Most nurses we talked to are frustrated. They don’t want to be supervisors,” Schaffrath says. “They prefer hands-on nursing in the Florence Nightingale tradition. They want to walk cot to cot, tending to and cheering on the patients.”

Schaffrath credits Marie Manthey, 42, a fiesty former Chicagoan and now vice president of patient services at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut, for blowing the whistle on nursing. She has advocated for the “return to the bedside” alternative in articles in several prominent medical journals.

As a registered nurse for 22 years, Manthey has had an inside look at the failings of her profession.

“Registered nurses have become faceless people, and it’s the system’s fault,” she says. “Nursing has become extremely production-oriented with very little concern for human needs. Most nurses are embarrassed about that. They say, almost apologetically, ‘Well, I’m just a staff nurse,’ which equates to, ‘I’m just a housewife.’

“But if nurses got their identity back,” Manthey says, “they’d be a proud people again. Then they’d be saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute. I am a staff nurse. I am an important person.”

“Nurses are supposed to be in the thick of things,” Manthey says firmly.

Manthey has coined her remedy, “Primary Nursing” a system whose main goal is just that — to get the nurse to provide total nursing care to a patient during their hospitalization. That means the same nurse does all the work for a patient from admission to discharge.

“The Nurse and the Patient get to know each other,” Manthey says.

With Primary Nursing, the nurse takes over many tasks she used to assign her aides.. because they’re all relevant to patient care.”

/ end content on front page of article, clip 1of2


For further content from this article, see clipping number 2, and/or let us know if you’d like us to post further excerpts here.

Isn’t it amazing to look back and remember the days when Nursing was at that factory-process level??